Systematic, science-based conservation planning is a hallmark of the Conservancy. For biodiversity to thrive, habitats need to be protected, enhanced, or restored not just in the still wild places on the planet but also where people live and make their livelihoods. 

Multi-disciplinary planning can help elucidate where the highest priority places are and what needs to happen there – and inform tradeoffs between conservation and other societal values.

Science in Action

Terrestrial | Planning | Technology | Economics

Wildfire and Communities

How can land protection and restoration help protect communities from wildfire?

Terrestrial | Marine | Planning

TNC and the U.S. Navy

How can we protect natural resource and coastal military assets from sea level rise?

2022 | Marine | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Kelp Restoration Guidebook: Lessons Learned from Kelp Restoration Projects Around the World

Aaron M. Eger (University of New South Wales), Cayne Layton (University of Tasmania), Tristin A. McHugh (TNC), Mary Gleason, and Norah Eddy (TNC)

Kelp forests around the world are experiencing significant declines due to a variety of factors, driving the need for more active kelp restoration efforts. The science and practice of kelp forest restoration is still in its infancy and there remains a wealth of knowledge to…


2022 | Freshwater | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

A Machine Learning Approach to Predict Groundwater Levels in California Reveals Ecosystems at Risk

Melissa M. Rohde, Tanushree Biswas, Ian W. Housman, Leah S. Campbell, Kirk R. Klausmeyer, Jeanette Howard

Groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) are increasingly threatened worldwide, but the shallow groundwater resources that they are reliant upon are seldom monitored. In this study, the researchers used satellite-based remote sensing, climate data, and machine learning to predict groundwater levels over a 35 year period (1985…


2022 | Freshwater | Planning | Science | Maps & Webmaps

SAGE: Shallow Groundwater Estimation Tool

Melissa M. Rohde, Tanushree Biswas, Ian W. Housman, Leah S. Campbell, Kirk R. Klausmeyer, Jeanette Howard

Groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) are critical habitats throughout California that rely on shallow groundwater. Unfortunately, only a small subset of wells provide monitoring data for shallow groundwater. This tool, developed for a publication in Frontiers in Earth Science, uses satellite data and machine learning tools to…


2022 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Planning | Publications & Reports

The Guidebook for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grants: Promoting Nature-Based Mitigation Through FEMA Mitigation Grants

The Nature Conservancy, AECOM

With increase in devasting storms and wildfires due to climate change, we need solutions to help mitigate the impact. Traditionally, “gray” or “hard” infrastructure solutions that rely on engineering projects using concrete and steel have dominated efforts to manage risk and mitigate hazard impacts…


2022 | Freshwater | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Groundwater dependence of riparian woodlands and the disrupting effect of anthropogenically altered streamflow

Melissa M. Rohde, John C. Stella, Dar A. Roberts, Michael Bliss Singer

This study combines satellite, groundwater, and streamflow data over a 5 year period (2015-2020) to understand the impacts of groundwater depth and streamflow alteration on groundwater-dependent vegetation across California. The study shows that deeper groundwater levels resulted in poor vegetation health, but that current water management…


2021 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Sacramento River: balancing ecological and social restoration goals to restore riparian habitat along a lowland floodplain river, California, USA

Case study by: K.D. Holl, G.H. Golet

Advancing conservation requires understanding the constraints imposed on natural systems by human societies. This understanding typically comes from engagement with local stakeholders, as opposed to from scholastic training. A recent textbook on restoration ecology by Karen Holl seeks to alleviate this problem by providing real-world…


2021 | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Enhancing Habitat Value for Shorebirds in Rice Agriculture

Case study by: Khara Strum (Audubon California), Kristin Sesser (Point Blue Conservation Science), Greg Golet (TNC)

This case study communicates lessons learned by TNC and partners from years of research and monitoring of habitat enhancement projects in Sacramento Valley rice agriculture. It is a contribution to the Shorebird Management Manual that was developed by Manomet with guidance from shorebird…


2021 | Terrestrial | Marine | Planning | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve Invasive Plant Species Action Plan

Moses Katkowski, H. Scott Butterfield, John Knapp, Kelly Easterday, Laura Riege, Mark Reynolds

This 5-year action plan describes the vision for invasive plant species mapping, monitoring and treatment at the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve in Sourthern California. The plan is adaptive and will updated as new species, management approaches (including new and emerging technologies), and monitoring results…


2021 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Planting Stormwater Solutions: A methodology for siting nature-based solutions for pollution capture, habitat enhancement, and multiple health benefits

Kelsey Jessup, Sophie S. Parker, John M. Randall, Brian S. Cohen, Rowan Roderick-Jones, Shona Ganguly, Jill Sourial

This paper presents results from Planting Stormwater Solutions, part of TNC’s Urban Conservation work in Los Angeles. The authors develop a methodology to prioritize siting of vegetated nature-based solutions for stormwater capture so that these projects maximize benefits to biological diversity, social and public…


2021 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Planning | Publications & Reports

Coastal Adaptation Vision for Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu: Technical Report

Environmental Science Associates (ESA) for The Nature Conservancy and Naval Base Ventura County


2021 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Planning | Science | Video

StoryMap: Restoring coastal wetlands for climate resilience: A case study at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu

Charlotte Stanley, Alyssa Mann, Walter Heady

The United States operates thousands of military installations in the U.S. and worldwide, worth about $1.2 trillion. These facilities are where personnel train and test weaponry, with the specific aim of ensuring the nation’s security. With climate change, coastal installations are now being impacted by rising sea levels, erosion and…


2021 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Restoring coastal wetlands for climate resilience: A case study at Naval Base Ventura County, Pt. Mugu

Walter Heady, Alyssa Mann, Stacey Solie, Bob Battalio, James Jackson, Kendall Lousen, and Bob Barnes

The U.S. Congress and the Department of Defense (DoD) have determined that climate change is a threat to national security and have required military installations to develop plans to improve the climate resilience of both military installations and key supporting civilian infrastructure. This report, co-authored…


2021 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Coastal Adaptation with the U.S. Navy at Point Mugu

Alyssa Mann, Walter Heady, Charlotte Stanley

TNC and the United States Navy partnered together to prepare for the impacts of climate change on Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), Point Mugu in California. NBVC is a critical and strategic asset of the U.S. Navy. It is also home to Mugu Lagoon, the…


2021 | Freshwater | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Mind the Gaps: The Case for Truly Comprehensive Sustainable Groundwater Management

Barton H. Thompson, Jr., Melissa M. Rohde, Jeanette K. Howard, Sandi Matsumoto

In 2014, California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) promised comprehensive management of California’s groundwater. This report, Mind the Gaps: The Case for Truly Comprehensive Sustainable Groundwater Management, based on joint analysis by Water in the West at Stanford University and The Nature Conservancy, finds…


2021 | Marine | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

A Structured Approach for Kelp Restoration and Management Decisions

Mary G. Gleason, Jennifer E. Caselle, Walter N. Heady, Vienna R. Saccomanno, Julie Zimmerman, Tristin Anoush McHugh, Norah Eddy

Global kelp forests are biodiverse and productive nearshore ecosystems that provide a wide range of ecosystem services, but they are at risk from both local stressors and global drivers of kelp loss. A structured decision making (SDM) framework can help guide kelp management and restoration…


2021 | Terrestrial | Planning | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Combining Occurrence and Habitat Suitability Data Improve Conservation Guidance for the Giant Kangaroo Rat

Alyssa E. Semerdjian, H. Scott Butterfield, Robert Stafford, Michael F. Westphal, William T. Bean

This paper in the Journal of Wildlife Management combines nearly 20 years of remote sensing, field/trapping, and modeling data to develop a new approach to the identification and prioritization of conservation land for the giant kangaroo rat. As a keystone species in the San Joaquin…


2021 | Marine | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Beyond Protection: Fisheries Co-Benefits of No-Take Marine Reserves

Jono R Wilson, Darcy Bradley, Kristina Phipps, Mary G Gleason

Overfishing threatens the health and resilience of the ocean. In response, the global conservation community has set ambitious targets for protecting biodiversity inside no-take marine reserves. Yet fully protected marine reserves currently comprise only a small fraction of the ocean. In this review, the authors…


2021 | Marine | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Opportunities for Fishery Partnerships to Advance Climate-Ready Fisheries Science and Management

Serena Lomonico, Mary G Gleason, Jono R Wilson, Darcy Bradley, Kate Kauer, Richard J Bell, Thomas Dempsey

Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to the sustainable management of wild capture fisheries. Management systems that improve the flow of information so that actionable steps can be taken are critical to ensuring our ocean is resilient and healthy. In this body of work, the authors…


2021 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Technology | Science | Data

Natural Communities Commonly Associated with Groundwater Version 2.0 (NCCAG 2.0)

Kirk Klausmeyer, Jeanette Howard, Melissa Rohde, Charlotte Stanley

The first step to sustainably manage groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) is to identify where they are. The Nature Conservancy developed a statewide spatial database that provides locations of seeps and springs, wetlands, and vegetation likely to depend on groundwater. This database (version 2.0) is an…