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About Us


Our mission is to protect and defend the land, air and water of Butte County and the surrounding region through action, advocacy and education.

About Us

The Butte Environmental Council (BEC) is a leading non-profit environmental organization based in Chico, California. Founded in 1975, BEC has continued to provide the community with environmental education, information, and advocacy through programs and events. BEC's achievements are made possible by the active support of more than 900 valued members, staff, and board.  

BEC and a Long History of Environmental Protection 


  • The Endangered Species Faire:  An annual commemoration of endangered animal species that encourages involvement of our community’s youth through interactive exhibits, engaging activities, presentations and festive entertainment. Between 3,000 and 10,000 people of all ages visit on Earth Day and participate in northern California’s oldest environmental fair.
  • Education Programs: Recycling Education, Drought Education, Energy Efficiency, BEC Ed-Ventures
  • Publications:  The Vernal Pools of Butte County book, Environmental Health Covanta, The monthly E-Sentinel.


  • A collaboration with Sierra Club and North State Wilderness resulted in 6,000 acres of Ishi, Bucks Lake, and Chips Creek designated as wilderness area in 1984!
  • BEC's active involvement in the public process ensures a voice for the environment in the areas of: community development and land use planning, local regulation design and implementation, and rescource use and conservation planning.


  • Park and Creek Cleanups: Every year thousands of pounds of trash are collected from Bidwell Park and surrounding creeks in BEC-sponsored clean-ups.  Hundreds of volunteers work together every September to preserve the beauty and environmental integrity of our parklands since 1986. 
  • Block Parties with a Purpose: neighborhood clean up efforts to remove waste and invasive species from our local waterways
  • As a fiscal sponsor BEC supports smaller action oriented local grops: Chico Tree Advocates, Save Oroville Trees, Oroville Dioxin Education Commitee, and Chico 350!
  • BEC's Oaks restoration program: With the help of dozens of community volunteers has planted more than 200 oak seedlings in Upper Bidwell Park along with a barrier to protect them from grazing deer. BEC will continue to provide the trees water each week through the summer months to ensure their survival for the first 3 years.

BEC's Current Work

BEC continues to be very active in Butte County and the surrounding region.

  • Our advocacy programs are working to protect groundwater, improve air quality, and encourage growth that is healthy for the community and the environment.
  • Our education programs continue to work to inform the public about environmental health and wellness through our workshops and our educational outreach materials.
  • We are moving toward a membership development model that focuses on bringing people together and protecting the environment through building a strong community.
  • We are still working to save the world.

Click to find the Butte County Environmental Directory


Butte Environmental Council was originally founded as a collective representing five local environmental efforts. The aim was to come together as a coalition of diverse groups to serve as a streamlined, effective force for environmental education and advocacy in Butte County. In its first year of incorporation, BEC was a cooperative with representatives from five environmental groups: the Sierra Club, Northstate Wilderness Committee, Community Gardens Project, Forces to Restore Earth's Environment (FREE), and Student Environmental Collective.

The Environmental Coalition of Butte County

Today BEC is revisiting its original "Council" identity with efforts to bring together local environmental organizations and meet regularly as a coalition.  The goal of the coalition is to strategically address some of the most important regional issues facing our community. We're bringing together key environmental stakeholders to strategize on topics such as the proposed Agriculture Mitigation Ordinance, addressing Climate Change at the local level, assess the local threats posed by hydraulic fracturing or evaluating the proposed Butte Regional Conservation Plan that lays out the next 50 years of habitat protection in Butte County.  By working together, we can support (not duplicate) each other's efforts. Because we are all operating under constant budget constraints, we need to be able to work smarter together to make the most of all of our resources and information. The twenty-three organizations listed below participated in a Community Gathering event in March 2013 and again in 2014 and 2015 to celebrate our victories and learn more about each others' varied efforts. Most of these organizations are represented at our quarterly Coalition meetings. 

Altacal Audubon Society
Associated Students Sustainability Program, CSUC
Butte Bicycle Coalition
Butte College, Sustainability Resource Center
Butte Environmental Council
California Native Plant Society, Mt Lassen Chapter 
California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC)
California Urban Streams Alliance: The Stream Team
Center for Water & the Environment, CSUC
Citizen Action Network, Frack-Free Butte County
Citizen's Water Watch
Chico Creek Nature Center
• Chico Peace & Justice Center
• Chico Tree Advocates
• Chico VELO Cycling
Cultivating Community North Valley
Frack-Free Butte County
• Friends of Bidwell Park
• Friends of Butte Creek
• Friends of the Farmers Market
GRID Alternatives
GRUB Education Program
Institute for Sustainable Development, CSUC
Kids & Creeks
• Northern California Regional Land Trust
Outdoor Education For All (OEFA)
River Partners
Sacramento River Preservation Trust
Sierra Club Yahi Group
The Chico Grange

Citizens Water Watch

A local group led by Marty Dunlap that assembles longtime citizen water advocates to track and steer water policy, particularly as it relates to Delta plans for North State water; and the evolution of the Northern Sacramento Valley Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (NSV IRWMP).


California Environmental Water Caucus (EWC)

BEC is an active participant in the California Environmental Water Caucus, which is an umbrella organization of groups advocating for sustainable water policy for California. BEC and EWCBEC staff and board members participate in monthly teleconference calls and annual strategy meetings, working with other knowledgeable water advocates at the state level to pursue political, legal and economic strategies to restore ecological health, improve water quality and protect public trust values throughout California's water systems.  Through our participation at the state level, BEC is able to assess proposed legislation and policy that would impact north state residents, ecosystems, and our water infrastructure.

EarthShare California

EarthShare was formed in 1982 as a coalition of twelve environmental programs working together to raise needed funds through workplace fundraising campaigns. EarthShare California manages environmental giving campaigns in workplaces for environmental and conservation charities, more than 40 national and international organizations; BEC has been an EarthShare affiliate since 2002. For more information on EarthShare, see here.