Brian Cohen

Spatial Data Scientist
Technology
[email protected]

Brian is a Spatial Data Scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s California Program. During his 12 years at the Conservancy, Brian has interpreted data and developed visual tools to help solve California’s most pressing environmental challenges including the impact of development of renewable in the Mojave/Sonoran Desert, the potential impact of sea level rise along the coast of California, mountain lion movement analysis in Southern California, and large-scale species recovery efforts on California islands.

Prior to the Conservancy, Brian was the Associate Director and GIS Manager at GreenInfo Network, where he helped grow a nascent idea into a highly productive and effective organization that provides GIS products and services to over 100 conservation and other non-profit groups throughout California. Brian holds a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

What Brian is working on now:

I am currently wrapping up work on the California Coastal Conservation Assessment, and continuing to work on a biodiversity assessment of Los Angeles.


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2018 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Conserving California's Coastal Habitats: A Legacy and a Future with Sea Level Rise

Walter N. Heady, Brian S. Cohen, Mary G. Gleason, Joshua N. Morris, Sarah G. Newkirk, Kirk R. Klausmeyer, Hilary R. Walecka, Elizabeth Gagneron

Sea level rise presents a new challenge to coastal conservation. The authors quantified and mapped the vulnerability of habitats, imperiled species, and conservation lands to sea level rise throughout the entire California coast, where high biodiversity, high endemism, and 26.5 million people coincide. Combining habitat…


2018 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Water Supply and Habitat Resiliency for a Future Los Angeles River: Site-Specific Natural Enhancement Opportunities Informed by River Flow and Watershed-Wide Action

Brian Cohen, Shona Ganguly, Sophie Parker, John Randall, Jill Sourial, and Lara Weatherly of The Nature Conservancy, Land IQ, Natural History Museum Los Angeles County, WRC Consulting Services Inc., Travis Longcore, University of Southern California, Connective Issue, Inc.

As a basic principle of ecological systems, a watershed’s hydrology determines the flow characteristics of its river system. These flows define what the biological characteristics of that river will be, which in turn determine what kinds of habitat enhancement projects will succeed at various locations along…


2018 | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Adapting the bioblitz to meet conservation needs

Parker, S.S., B.V. Brown, B.S. Cohen, N.S. Fraga, J.J. Knapp, Z. Principe, J. Moore, G.B. Pauly, J.M. Randall, T.A. Wake

A bioblitz is a collaborative, rapid field assessment that takes place in a given location over a short period of time. This paper discusses how bioblitz events involving experts are being used to meet the needs of conservation. The authors discuss the best practices for…


2017 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Amargosa River Expert BioBlitz 2017 Final Report

Parker, S.S., B.S. Cohen, N. Fraga, B. Brown, J. Cole, W. Chatfield-Taylor, K. Guadalupe, G.B. Pauly, D. Cooper, M. Ordeñana

In 2017, The Nature Conservancy co-organized an “Expert BioBlitz” to explore a 26-mile stretch of the Wild and Scenic Amargosa River, located in the heart of the Mojave Desert. The event was designed be a rapid-response, high return-on-investment method for the collection of high-quality field…


2016 | Terrestrial | Publications & Reports

Prioritizing Riparian Conservation: A Methodology Developed for the Santa Clara River, California

Sophie S. Parker, Lily N. Verdone, E.J. Remson, Brian S. Cohen

This study addresses a basic problem shared by many riparian conservation projects: parcelization. Having dozens or hundreds of owners along a river can make conserving riparian ecosystems a difficult and expensive enterprise. In the study, the authors present a science-based method for prioritizing the acquisition…


2015 | Marine | Planning | Maps & Webmaps

Coastal Resilience Monterey webmap

Brian Cohen

The Coastal Resilience Network supports a community of practitioners who are applying nature-based solutions to coastal hazard and climate adaptation issues. As a member of this Network, the Conservancy is working with scientists, geomorphologists, urban and environmental economists, regional conservation partners, and local stakeholders…


2015 | Marine | Planning | Maps & Webmaps

Coastal Resilience Ventura Web Map

Brian Cohen

As a member of the Coastal Resilience Network, the Conservancy is leading Coastal Resilience Ventura. Coast Resilience Ventura is a partnership that provides science and decision-support tools to help conservation practitioners, planners and policymakers address the impact of climate change. Through this effort, the…


2015 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Survival and mortality of pumas (Puma concolor) in a fragmented, urbanizing landscape

Vickers, T.W., J. N. Sanchez, C. Johnson, S.A. Morrison, R. Botta, T. Smith, B.S. Cohen, P. Huber, W.M. Boyce

Conservation of wide-ranging species like mountain lions is especially difficult in highly fragmented landscapes, such as coastal southern California. Research into their populations can provide important insights into what is needed to protect them, such as where to prioritize habitat conservation or restoration. This paper…



2014 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Stand structure and acorn production of the island scrub oak (Quercus pacifica)

Mario B. Pesendorfer, Kathryn M. Langin, Brian Cohen, Zachary Principe, Scott A. Morrison, T. Scott Sillett

Acorns are an important food resource for many species that occupy oak habitats. Patterns of acorn abundance across time and space, however, are often difficult to characterize. This paper describes observed patterns associated with a dominant and keystone species of oak on Santa Cruz Island,…


2013 | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

50-Year Climate Scenarios and Plant Species Distribution Forecasts for Setting Conservation Priorities in Southwestern California

Principe, Z., J.B. MacKenzie, B. Cohen, J.M. Randall, W. Tippets, T. Smith, S.A. Morrison

Coastal southern California has long been the focus of regional conservation planning efforts. Decades ago – and prior to today’s heightened awareness of the magnitude of the likely impacts climate change – reserve designs were established with the intent of protecting the region’s very diverse…


2013 | Terrestrial | Planning | Maps & Webmaps

Southwestern California Climate Report webmap

Brian Cohen

The Southwestern California Climate Report provides 50-year climate scenarios and plant species distribution forecasts to help inform conservation priorities in southwestern California. Spatial data of mid-21st century habitat suitability (refugia, stress, expansion) for 106 native plant species are available here. 


2012 | Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Solar Energy Development in the Western Mojave Desert

Cameron, D., S. Parker, B. Cohen, J. Randall, B. Christian, J. Moore, L. Crane, S. A. Morrison

Industrial-scale renewable energy generation facilities can have sizable footprints and therefore significant impact on the conservation values of a landscape. This assessment focused on a region experiencing intense development pressure, the western Mojave Desert, to highlight how facilities could be sited to have lower impact…


2012 | Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

An Approach to Enhance the Conservation-Compatibility of Solar Energy Development

Cameron, D.R., B.S. Cohen, S.A. Morrison

California, like many regions in the world, needs to plan for emissions reductions and domestic clean energy. Ideally, that would be done in a way that is strategic, not reactionary. Through science-based landscape planning for conservation and energy, the trade-offs between energy development and habitat…


2010 | Terrestrial | Planning | Maps & Webmaps

Renewables in the Mojave Desert

Brian Cohen

This map and a series of others in the Conservancy's 2010 Mojave Desert Ecoregional Assessment have played a guiding role in siting—and mitigating the impacts of—renewable energy development throughout the Mojave Desert. The Assessment helped shape the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. Completed and signed in 2016, the…


2010 | Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Mojave Desert Ecoregional Assessment

John M. Randall, Sophie S. Parker, James Moore, Brian Cohen, Laura Crane, Bill Christian, Dick Cameron, Jason B. Mackenzie, Kirk Klausmeyer, Scott Morrison

Regional conservation planning is critical to inform land and resource use decisions. The Mojave Desert Ecoregional Assessment represents an important advance in such planning, because of how its output  characterized not just areas of high conservation value, but how conservation values distributed and graded across…


2010 | Terrestrial | Planning | Data

Mojave Desert Ecoregional Assessment data

Dick Cameron , Brian Cohen

This dataset is a product of the Mojave Desert Ecoregional Assessment and characterizes the distribution of biodiversity conservation values and land disturbance to help inform regional land-use and conservation investment. The data were grouped into four categories of conservation value: Ecologically Core, Ecologically Intact,…


2010 | Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Tehachapi Conservation Action Plan

Reed Tollefson, Alison Sheehey, Brian Cohen, Sophie Parker, E.J. Remson, Zach Principe, Tom Maloney, Michael White

This Conservation Action Plan identifies targets, threats, and actions to achieve conservation success in the face of climate change in the Tehachapi Mountains. The Tehachapis lie at the convergence of four ecoregions in California and constitute an important landscape linkage between the Sierra Nevada Mountains…


2010 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Rapid eradication of feral pigs (Sus scrofa) from Santa Cruz Island, California

John P. Parkes, David S.L.Ramsey, Norman Macdonald, Kelvin Walker, Sean McKnight, Brian S.Cohen, Scott A. Morrison

This paper describes the approach, planning, and field implementation of an intensive effort to eradicate a population of feral pigs from an island. Key elements of the project included comprehensive data collection of all field effort and outcomes, and comprehensive use of helicopters in nearly…