Products

We identify issues and uncertainties that pose obstacles to conservation and then—in collaboration with internal and external colleagues—develop science products that help overcome those obstacles.

2023 | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Use of management strategy evaluation to understand the value of citizen science in managing an iconic California recreational fishery

Lyall Bellquist, William J. Harford, Frank Hurd, Alexis Jackson, Jeremy D. Prince, Jan Freiwald, Anna Neumann, Jack Likins, Jono Wilson

Conventional fisheries management relies largely on professional sources of scientific data collection, typically from academic or government institutions. Development of community-led data sources (i.e., citizen/community science) has been slow, partially due to data quality concerns. Accelerating stressors to marine ecosystems and the dynamic nature of…


2023 | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Post-release survival and prolonged sublethal effects of capture and barotrauma on deep-dwelling rockfishes (genus Sebastes): implications for fish management and conservation

Nicholas C. Wegner, Elan J. Portner, Drew T. Nguyen, Lyall Bellquist, Andrew P. Nosal, Alena L. Pribyl, Kevin L. Stierhoff, Paul Fischer, Ken Franke, Russell D. Vetter, Philip A. Hastings, Brice X. Semmens, and John R. Hyde

Historical overfishing led to depletion of several groundfish species on the US west coast. Two of these species, Cowcod and Bocaccio, heavily influenced the expansion of groundfish regulations to rebuild multiple stocks. However, the effects of fishing-induced barotrauma, and the effectiveness of descending devices as…


2023 | Marine | Economics | Science | Publications & Reports

Impact of the 2014–2016 marine heatwave on US and Canada West Coast fisheries: Surprises and lessons from key case studies

Christopher M. Free, Sean C. Anderson, Elizabeth A. Hellmers, Barbara A. Muhling, Michael O. Navarro, Kate Richerson, Lauren A. Rogers, William H. Satterthwaite, Andrew R. Thompson, Jenn M. Burt, Steven D. Gaines, Kristin N. Marshall, J. Wilson White, Lyall F. Bellquist

As symptoms of climate change, extreme environmental events (e.g., marine heatwaves) now represent the greatest global threat to the oceans, causing profound ecosystem and socioeconomic impacts. The recent marine heatwave on the North America west coast was the largest ever recorded, but the extent of…


2023 | Marine | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

U.S. exempted fishing permits: Role, value, and lessons learned for adaptive fisheries management

Lindsay Bonito, Lyall Bellquist, Alexis M. Jackson, Kate Kauer, Mary G. Gleason, Jono Wilson, Stuart Sandin

Experimentation supports adaptive and climate-ready fisheries management in numerous contexts. Exempted Fishing Permits (EFPs) enable fisheries participants, scientists, and managers to collaboratively test new fishing regulations and/or gear types that might advance fishery sustainability, although no evaluation of federal EFP performance had ever been conducted.…


2023 | Marine | Economics | Science | Publications & Reports

Characterization of a developing recreational deep-drop fishery for swordfish off southern California

Scott A. Aalbers, Michael Wang, Lyall Bellquist, Kate Kauer, Alexis Jackson, Chugey A. Sepulveda

An emerging recreational fishery for swordfish has recently developed in California, outpacing existing fisheries monitoring programs, which prevents accurate estimation of swordfish catch and effort as well as any potential bycatch. The study documents a sharp increase in swordfish catch relative to previous decades, and…


2023 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Stormwater Management

Kristina Kreter, Shona Ganguly, Rowan Roderick-Jones, and Kelsey Jessup

New strategies to address urban runoff management with nature-based approaches offer promising solutions to alleviating climate change impacts—like urban heat, water shortages, and floods—and environmental pollution and the loss of natural green space that diminish the quality of life for vulnerable communities. Vegetated…


2023 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Shrub density effects on the presence of an endangered lizard of the Carrizo Plain National Monument, California

Mario Zuliani, Nargol Ghazian, Malory Owen, Michael F. Westphal, H. Scott Butterfield, Christopher J. Lortie

As The Nature Conservancy embarks on restoration planning for its Strategic Restoration Strategy, it needs detailed information on the importance of shrubs to a suite of conservation targets, including the endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizard. Previous collaborative work between TNC and partners revealed a threshold of…


2023 | Freshwater | Microsite

Drought Flows Monitor

Julie Zimmerman, Jennifer Carah, Kirk Klausmeyer, Gabe Rossi, Mia Van Docto, Jeanette Howard, Charlie Schneider, Matt Clifford, Monty Schmitt

Drought conditions are occurring with more frequency, greater severity, and longer duration under climate change. Human water use compounds the effects of drought, further stressing California’s ecosystems, impacting farms, rural communities and urban water supplies. The Salmon and Steelhead Coalition developed a Drought Flows Monitor…


2023 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Expanding the Role of Nature-based Solutions in FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance Programs: Lessons and Recommendations

The Nature Conservancy, radbridge, Earth Economics

FEMA increasingly recognizes and emphasizes the role of nature-based solutions (NBS) for building community resilience to hazards like flood, wildfire, and drought, and the agency has made remarkable progress on policies and resources to support NBS in a relatively short period. However, anecdotally it remains…


2023 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Planning | Economics | Publications & Reports

Valuing the Flood Reduction Benefits of Marsh Restoration

Taylor-Burns, R., Heard, S., Beck, M. W.

There is growing evidence for the beneficial role that wetlands can play in reducing flood risk, but in many urban estuaries, coastal development has resulted in dramatic habitat loss and fragmentation. In the past several decades, marsh restoration has emerged as a core management objective…


2023 | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Cattle Grazing Across The Nature Conservancy in California’s Conservation Estate

Butterfield, H.S., J. Howard, Z. Principe, E. Inlander, S. Sweet, A. Craig, R. Mason, J. Knapp , M. Katkowski

For over 300 years, cattle and sheep have been grazed in California, from the Rancho era continuing to the present day. The Nature Conservancy has a long history in California and across the western United States in using cattle grazing for conservation purposes. In California…


2023 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Ear mite infection restructures otic microbial networks in conservation–reliant Santa Catalina Island foxes (Urocyon littoralis catalinae)

Jasmine Lu, Emily E. Hamblen, Lara J. Brenner, Julie L. King, Bridgett M. VonHoldt, Alexandra L. DeCandia

Over 50% of federally threatened Santa Catalina Island foxes (Urocyon littoralis catalinae) develop life-threatening ceruminous gland tumors in their ear canals. Previous work suggests that tumors may result from a combination of ectoparasites, disruption of the host-associated microbiome, and host immunopathology. We found that in…


2023 | Terrestrial | Economics | Publications & Reports

Building California’s Forest Resilience Workforce

Sarah Heard, Bradley Franklin

Wildfires in California, and across the western U.S., are increasing in frequency and severity, threatening both ecosystems and communities. Restoration—a combination of ecological thinning and prescribed fire—is one of the best tools to build forest resilience and prevent catastrophic wildfires, by reducing the buildup of…


2023 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Oren Pollak Memorial Research Fund - 2023 RFP

Brynn Pewtherer

The Oren Pollak Memorial Research Fund was established in 2000 in memory of Dr. Oren Pollak, a leading grassland ecologist and restoration pioneer, as well as an ardent champion and mentor for grassland ecology students. As The Nature Conservancy’s lead ecologist in California in the…


2023 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Conservation Science Catalyst Fund - 2022 Annual Report

Scott Morrison, Brynn Pewtherer

The Nature Conservancy deploys science to help overcome major challenges facing people and nature. In today’s fast-paced world, turning threats to nature into opportunities for conservation requires agility. The Conservation Science Catalyst Fund enables our science team to mobilize quickly — and produce the information…


2023 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Floristic patterns and conservation values of Mojave and Sonoran desert springs in California

Naomi S. Fraga, Brian S. Cohen, Andy Zdon, Maura Palacios Mejia, Sophie S. Parker

This paper presents novel botanical inventories of 48 desert springs as part of the Mojave Springs Research Project. The authors assess plant species composition and richness within and between springs and evaluate how botanical diversity relates to physical and hydrological parameters. The results of…


2023 | Terrestrial | Marine | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Minimizing conservation impacts of net zero energy systems in the western United States

Grace C. Wu, Ryan A. Jones, Emily Leslie, James H. Williams, Andrew Pascale, Erica Brand, Sophie Parker, Brian Cohen, Joseph Fargione, Julia Souder, Maya Batres, Mary G. Gleason, Michael H. Schindel, Charlotte K. Stanley

This paper presents the results of the Power of Place-West project. The authors combined energy modeling with ecosystem and wildlife habitat data to determine the costs and impacts associated with deploying clean energy infrastructure across 11 states in the American West. The results of…


2022 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Assessing the effectiveness of landscape-scale forest adaptation actions to improve resilience under projected climate change

Charles J. Maxwell, Robert M. Scheller, Kristen N. Wilson, Patricia N. Manley

The authors hypothesized that mimicking the historic fire-return interval, by matching it with the combined frequency of natural disturbances (wildfire) and management (i.e., thinning and prescribed fire), will maintain forest resilience despite a changing climate. To test our hypothesis, we deployed a forest landscape simulation model, LANDIS-II,…


2022 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Foundation plant species provide resilience and microclimatic heterogeneity in drylands

Chris J. Lortie, Alex Fillazola, Mike Westphal, H. Scott Butterfield

Drylands globally, and those plant and animal species in these systems, face increasing challenges from extreme drought. In California, the most recent megadrought allowed us to document for native San Joaquin Desert plants and animals the importance of foundational shrub species for mediating fine-scale near-surface…


2022 | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Learning to Live with Fire in Forest Communities

The Nature Conservancy

A 2022 report, Learning to Live with Fire in Forest Communities, highlights the science and benefits of fire-resilient community design.  TNC partnered with key stakeholders in the Paradise community to demonstrate how redirecting development and urban growth in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), in tandem with nature-based fire buffers…