Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Northern Sierra Partnership Climate Adaptation Assessment

Cameron, D., K. Klausmeyer, J. Mackenzie, G. Low, L. Provencher

Climate change will impact plants and animals across the state, and conservationists are often unaware of the best way to address this threat. While much of the land in the Northern Sierra is public and protected from development, it is still at risk to changes in climate. This report integrates climate projections, forecasts of the response of major habitat types, and management simulations to determine where the northern Sierra’s habitats may be at greatest risk from projected future climate changes and what conservation strategies might be most cost-effective for reducing or adapting to climate risks. Download in 2 volumes: Assessment and Appendices. 

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2021 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Cannabis farms in California rely on wells outside of regulated groundwater basins

Christopher Dillis, Van Butsic, Jennifer Carah, Samuel Zipper, Theodore Grantham

Water management practices for cannabis farming in California are not well understood. This study examined permit reporting data and found that the vast majority (>75%) of permitted cannabis farms use groundwater wells to source water, with many wells located outside regulated groundwater basins. Groundwater pumping…


2021 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Analogies for a No-Analog World: Tackling Uncertainties in Reintroduction Planning

Elizabeth S. Forbes, Peter S. Alagona, Andrea J. Adams, Sarah E. Anderson, Kevin C.Brown, Jolie Colby, Scott D. Cooper, Sean M. Denny, Elizabeth H.T. Hiroyasu, Robert Heilmayr, Bruce E. Kendall, Jennifer A. Martin, Molly Hardesty-Moore, Alexis M. Mychajliw, Brian P. Tyrrell, Zoë S.Welch

Species reintroductions in a changing world are difficult and highly uncertain. This paper introduces a framework to assess habitat suitability using historic, geographic, and taxonomic analogies to triangulate places best suited for reintroduction using the California Grizzly as a case study.


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 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Shifting geographies of legal cannabis production in California

Christopher Dillis, Eric Biber, Hekia Bodwitch, Van Butsic, Jennifer Carah, Phoebe Parker-Shames, Michael Polson, and Theodore Grantham

This study used permitting and GIS data to explore geographic characteristics of legal cannabis farms in California. The study found two divergent paths of development - one characterized by numerous, smaller farms in rugged, tree-covered landscapes in historical cannabis producing regions (Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity counties),…


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 | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

The tree cover and temperature disparity in US urbanized areas: Quantifying the association with income across 5,723 communities

Robert I. McDonald, Tanushree Biswas, Cedilla Sachar, Ian Housman, Timothy M. Boucher, Deborah Balk, David Nowak, Erica Spotswood, Charlotte K. Stanley, Stefan Leyk

Urban tree cover provides benefits to human health and well-being, but it is often inequitably distributed. In this study, researchers Google Earth Engine (GEE) and an automated machine learning algorithm to map urban tree cover at 2m resolution across 5,723 municipalities and unincorporated communities in the…


2021 | Marine | Economics | Science | Publications & Reports

The rise in climate change-induced federal fishery disasters in the United States

Lyall Bellquist, Vienna Saccomanno, Brice X. Semmens, Mary Gleason, Jono Wilson

The health of ocean ecosystems is critical to maintaining natural biodiversity and sustainable fisheries, but federally-declared fishery disasters are reflecting devastating impacts to ecosystems, economies, and communities. This study represents the first nationwide synthesis of fishery disasters during the 30-year history of the federal assistance…


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 | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Ecological Impact of Abandoned, Lost, and Discarded Fishing Gear

Eric Gilman, Michael Musyl, Petri Suuronen, Milani Chaloupka, Saeid Gorgin, Jono Wilson, Brandon Kuczenski

More than 4.5 million fishing vessels deploy fishing gear in the ocean every year. A significant amount of these nets, traps, lines, and floats are abandoned, lost, or discarded, threatening the health of ocean ecosystems through ghost fishing, transfer of microplastics, toxins and  invasive species,…


2021 | Freshwater | Science | Maps & Webmaps

California Natural Flows Webapp

Julie K.H. Zimmerman, Daren M. Carlisle, Jason T. May, Kirk R. Klausmeyer, Theodore E. Grantham, Larry R. Brown, Jeanette K. Howard, Nathaniel Rindlaub, Falk Schuetzenmeister

Water is essential for California’s people, economy, and environment. Centuries of water management through dams and diversion have altered the flows in many streams and rivers, which can harm the freshwater ecosystems. The Nature Conservancy and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and other partners…


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…


2021 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Facilitation promotes plant invasions and indirect negative interactions

Christopher J. Lortie, Alessandro Filazzola, Charlotte Brown, Jacob Lucero, Mario Zuliani, Nargol Ghazian, Stephanie Haas, Malory Owen, H. Scott Butterfield, Emmeleia Nix, Michael Westphal

There are many pressures that influence the ecological capacity and health of drylands around the world. Shrubs are often a critical component of these systems and can function positively as foundation species through facilitation of other species. But, shrubs can also have negative and indirect effects…


2021 | Freshwater | Planning | Maps & Webmaps

ICONS: Interconnected Surface Water in the Central Valley

Charlotte Stanley, Kirk Klausmeyer

This dataset categorizes the rivers and streams in the Central Valley on the likelihood that they are interconnected surface water (ISW) -- surface water hydraulically connected to groundwater. The dataset includes information on the average, maximum, and minimum depth to groundwater, using groundwater elevation…


2021 | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Triennial migration and philopatry in the critically endangered soupfin shark, Galeorhinus galeus

Andrew P. Nosal, Daniel P. Cartamil, Arnold J. Ammann, Lyall F. Bellquist, Noah J. Ben‐Aderet, Kayla M. Blincow, Echelle S. Burns, Eric D. Chapman, Ryan M. Freedman, A. Peter Klimley, Ryan K. Logan, Christopher G. Lowe, Brice X. Semmens, Connor F. White, Philip A. Hastings

Due to decades of heavy fishing pressure and steep population declines worldwide, the conservation status of the soupfin shark was elevated to Critically Endangered globally in 2020 by the IUCN. This species is commercially fished in the United States, but the fishery has not undergone a…


2021 | Freshwater | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Managing Groundwater to Ensure Ecosystem Function

Laurel Saito, Bill Christian, Jennifer Diffley, Holly Richter, Melissa M. Rohde, Scott A. Morrison

In this paper, we describe minimum provisions for planning, managing, and monitoring groundwater in a manner that collectively can lower the risk of harm to groundwater-dependent ecosystems and species, as well as providing sustainable groundwater resources for communities. The paper has a special emphasis on…


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

Rewilding Agricultural Landscapes: A California Study in Rebalancing the Needs of People and Nature

H. Scott Butterfield, T. Rodd Kelsey, and Abigail K. Hart, Editors

As the world population grows, so does the demand for food, putting unprecedented pressure on agricultural lands. At the same time, climate change, soil degradation, and water scarcity mean that productivity of many of these lands is deteriorating. In many desert dryland regions, drinking wells…


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

Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative Phase 1 Restoration Wood Supply Assessment

Tom Baribault, Daniel Porter, Jessica Burton Desrocher, Douglas Larmour, Mark Rasmussen, Roy Anderson

The Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative (TCSI) area has seen recent megafires and is highly developed, making the risk new of human-caused wildfire ignitions high. In this report, experts from Mason Bruce & Girard, The Beck Group and The Nature Conservancy assess quantities of…