San Francisco is famous for our microclimates. Situated on a high hill between the Pacific Ocean on the west and the San Francisco Bay on the east, the Bernal Cut has windy, foggy and rainy winters and long, dry summers.  This means we are in a perennial drought state.

The Bernal Cut Restoration Project plants drought-tolerant species to help support a healthy landscape that can thrive in this microclimate. Rugged California native plant species like the Coyote Bush, the Manzanita and the Flaming Fuchsia do well in this area.

The soil we plant today on the steep slopes of the Bernal Cut was once deep inside the Hill – mostly clay and serpentine – with less organic matter than the topsoil so it doesn’t absorb water easily.  Planting native grasses like purple needlegrass and red fescue on this hillside that stretches down to San Jose Avenue builds large root systems that control soil erosion, support low water use and stabilizes the man-made hillside of the Bernal Cut.