Search Results for:

John Gearen

Project Director, Economics

John joined The Nature Conservancy in 2016 to accelerate the use of capital markets for conservation in California. 

Prior to TNC, John built energy analytics businesses within Hewlett Packard to address electric utilities’ smart metering challenges in Europe and Asia.  Earlier experience includes VC investing…

Kelly Easterday

Lead Conservation Technology Manager, Technology

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Kelly is the Lead Conservation Technology Manager at the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve where she oversees GIS and technology projects related to the operation, management, and research at the Preserve.

Kelly holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy,…

Nick Holmes

Lead Scientist, Island Conservation, Terrestrial

As a Lead Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, Nick works in thematic areas of island conservation, invasive species, seabird restoration and threatened species. His responsibilities include advancing cutting-edge science to inform investment and actions at California, Pacific-wide and global scales, and participating on multi-disciplinary teams to…

Nathaniel Rindlaub

Software Developer, Technology

Nathaniel is a software developer for the Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, specializing in data visualization and map-based applications. Through thoughtful design and development, Nathaniel makes complex datasets more accessible, explorable, and actionable to both internal staff and external stakeholders. He believes that technology, design, and…

Lyall Bellquist

Fisheries Scientist, Marine

Lyall works as a marine fisheries scientist working to improve management and conservation of marine resources in California. His research combines collaboration, innovation, and quantitative methods to ensure long-term health and sustainability of marine ecosystems, fisheries, and fishing communities. Lyall works collaboratively with multiple stakeholder groups to identify…

Tanushree Biswas

Spatial Data Scientist, Technology

Tanu is a Spatial Data Scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s California Program. In this role, she collaborates with scientists from different programs to explore and expand the application of remote sensing technology and geospatial science for conservation. Collaborating with terrestrial and freshwater teams, she identified…

Sally Liu

Hydrologist , Freshwater

Sally currently focuses on groundwater issues, supporting the development of a statewide guidance framework for groundwater dependent ecosystems, serving as a hydrologist on the Fox Canyon Groundwater Sustainability Plans Technical Advisory Group, and furthering science research on groundwater dependent ecosystems. She manages the California Salmon…

John Randall

Lead Scientist , Terrestrial

John is a Lead Scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter. He supervises a team of four other scientists who focus on conservation of protected areas and corridors linking them into a statewide network. Much of his time is devoted to three projects: conservation and management of…

Walter Heady

Coastal Marine Ecologist, Marine

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Walter provides the science needed by the Coastal Program to meet conservation objectives at the land-sea interface. His work at the Conservancy synthesizes our understanding of the ecological function—and benefits to humans—of coastal systems in order to improve the…

Trish Smith

Ecologist, Terrestrial

In her role with the Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Trish works with government agencies, research institutions, land managers and non-governmental agencies to develop and implement coordinated regional programs for the management and monitoring of plant and animal communities in southern California. She has worked extensively…

Sophie Parker

Senior Scientist, Terrestrial

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Sophie leads the Energy Program’s science team in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. She also provides science guidance to the Chapter's engagement on urban stormwater, and leads the Biodiversity Analysis in Los Angeles (BAILA) Program, which is developing new…

Siobhan King

Project Director, Economics

Siobhan provides economic and financial analysis for The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter as a member of the Conservation Investments Department. Her work focuses on the development of market-based approaches that can amplify positive ecological impact, and draw new sources of capital to conservation. She has…

Scott Morrison

Director, Conservation Programs & Science

As the Director of Conservation Programs & The Victor E. Shelford Director of Conservation Science, Scott leads an interdisciplinary team of conservation scientists and practitioners who design and implement cutting-edge conservation strategies across the lands and waters of California. He began his career with The Nature Conservancy…

Scott Butterfield

Senior Scientist, Terrestrial

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Scott is the Lead Scientist for the Diversifying Agriculture Program, the Lead Author for the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve Integrated Management Plan, a member of the Science Team at the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve, the Program Lead…

Sarah Heard

Director, Conservation Economics & Finance, Economics

Sarah leads The Nature Conservancy’s economics and finance work within the California Chapter. She supports the Land, Land Networks, Water and Oceans teams in developing innovative market-based approaches to the chapter’s conservation objectives. Sarah currently leads a team that creates new markets, utilizes economic incentives…

Rodd Kelsey

Lead Scientist, Terrestrial

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Rodd leads a multi-disciplinary team of scientists to guide efforts focused on conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services in working forests, rangelands, and cultivated landscapes.  Specifically, Rodd helps lead the Conservancy’s science related to accelerating the restoration of forests in…

Melissa Rohde

Groundwater Scientist, Freshwater

Melissa provides scientific leadership to the Groundwater Program of The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter using her expertise in biology, hydrology, and water policy to advance sustainable groundwater management. Her research focuses on understanding how Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems function and what conditions are necessary to maintain…

Megan Webb

Lead Mapping & Design Analyst, Technology

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Megan leads the design and development of high visibility maps, graphics, and other data visualizations for a variety of media, provides geospatial support to real estate planning, and manages core spatial data to track real estate investments.  She has…

Matt Merrifield

Chief Technology Officer, Technology

As Chief Technology Officer in The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Matt is responsible for research, strategy, and application of technology solutions to serve the Conservancy’s mission. He has 20 years of experience in the field of geospatial technology that encompasses geographic information science, remote sensing,…

Mary Gleason

Director of Science, Marine

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Mary leads the ocean science team with science engagements in fisheries, coastal conservation and adaptation, emerging ocean threats, and marine spatial planning. She has led marine and estuarine biodiversity assessments and has conducted collaborative research on fisheries impacts and…

Mark D. Reynolds

Lead Scientist, Freshwater

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Mark provides scientific leadership and guidance by developing analytical approaches to planning, conservation strategy development and monitoring. He is currently studying the relationships between water management, compatible agriculture and conservation of the Pacific Flyway.

Prior to joining the Conservancy,…

Kristen Wilson

Ecologist, Terrestrial

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Kristen focuses on watershed planning and monitoring of restoration projects in the Sierra Nevada and Cascades. To inform investments in land protection and restoration, she applies spatial models, solicits stakeholder input, assesses cost-effectiveness and quantifies the impact of these…

Kirk Klausmeyer

Senior Spatial Data Scientist, Technology

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Kirk has interpreted data and developed visual tools to address California’s most pressing environmental challenges like including mapping groundwater dependent ecosystems, quantifying the impact of drought on river flows, and cataloging observations of freshwater biodiversity statewide. Kirk has authored…

Katie Andrews

Systems Architect, Technology

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Katie applies geospatial technologies to address dynamic water management and other conservation issues. Additionally she manages the development of mobile and web-based tools to improve information access for decision makers. She has nearly 20 years of experience in geographic…

Julie Zimmerman

Lead Scientist, Freshwater

Julie’s focus in The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter is to develop collaborative, science-based approaches to water management and river restoration in California, based on principles of decision science. Julie has over 10 years of experience in the area of environmental flows, providing scientific leadership and…

Jono R. Wilson

Lead Scientist, Global Fisheries, Marine

Jono leads the fisheries science program in The Nature Conservancy’s California chapter. In that role, he designs market- and community-based solutions to the challenge of conserving and managing marine resources. He works with fishermen and managers in California to pilot novel assessment and management applications…

John Knapp

California Islands Ecologist, Terrestrial

John works on the California Islands for The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter. He has worked on the islands for over 15 years, and has 20 years of experience in land management that includes: threat and recovery prioritization and planning, habitat restoration, invasive species eradication and…

Jennifer Carah

Senior Scientist, Freshwater

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Jennifer is currently engaged in work to protect and restore stream flows and winter refuge habitat for salmon. Jennifer has managed numerous habitat restoration and monitoring projects on the North Coast of California Her experience includes conservation planning; restoration…

Jeanette Howard

Director of Science, Freshwater

Jeanette leads TNC’s freshwater science team in The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter. The team focuses on developing and fostering a science enterprise to sustain healthy aquatic ecosystems in California. This work includes conservation planning for freshwater biodiversity, defining environmental flows to maintain and restore freshwater…

Greg Golet

Applied Scientist, Freshwater

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Greg provides science guidance and leadership to direct engagements in the state’s Great Central Valley. Current areas of focus include advancing waterbird conservation through compatible agriculture, and restoring riparian and riverine ecosystems through floodplain restoration. His research focuses on…

Falk Schuetzenmeister

Software Engineer, Technology

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, Falk serves as a full stack developer supporting the Science and Conservation teams by building data solutions and web-based monitoring applications. He works with very diverse data such as remote sensing products, imagery from fishery monitoring cameras, environmental sensors…

Edward Smith

Forest Ecologist, Terrestrial

In The Nature Conservancy’s California Program, Edward is leading efforts to increase the quality and scale of ecological restoration of forests in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He brings analytical skills, vegetation modeling, people skills, and pragmatic experience in prescribed burning and forest management to the…

Dick Cameron

Director of Science, Terrestrial

Dick leads the Land Programs science team in The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter. His work is focused on creating the tools and evidence to integrate conservation into land use and climate policies. Across a variety of California landscapes, his research assesses opportunities to align land conservation…

Christina Boser

California Islands Ecologist, Terrestrial

Christina works for The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter on the California islands where she coordinates endangered species recovery and invasive species removal efforts. She is focusing on the choices that are made when the interests of two island endemic species complete, and the decision making…

Carrie Schloss

Spatial Data Scientist, Technology

Carrie is a Spatial Data Scientist in The Nature Conservancy’s California Program. She focuses on multi-benefit conservation planning and climate change adaptation. She uses data analytics and creates decision support tools to encourage the integration of conservation values across sectors.  She explores how natural resource…

Brynn Pewtherer

Associate Director, Conservation Programs & Science

In her role as Associate Director of Conservation Programs and Science in the California Chapter, Brynn helps advance conservation and science strategies needed to address some of the biggest conservation challenges. She coordinates and helps align the work of conservation, science and geodesign staff advancing place-based…

Brian Cohen

Spatial Data Scientist, Technology

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…

Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

A Transdisciplinary Approach to Characterize Hydrological Controls on Groundwater-Dependent Ecosystem Health

Melissa M. Rohde, Sara B. Sweet, Craig Ulrich, Jeanette Howard

Groundwater plays an essential role in supporting freshwater species, riparian habitats, and migratory birds. These ecological communities, commonly referred to as groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs), can suffer undesirable impacts from unsustainable pumping practices. This study assessed whether ecosystem health varied with groundwater availability in riparian forests in California’s…


Terrestrial | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Parched pines: a quantitative comparison of two multi-year droughts and associated mass mortalities of bishop pine (Pinus muricata) on Santa Cruz Island, California

Annalise Taylor, Tanushree Biswas, John M. Randall, Kirk Klausmeyer, Brian Cohen

In Western North America, droughts are expected to increase in frequency and intensity as the region’s climate changes. Over past decades, land managers on Santa Cruz Island, California witnessed mass mortality of conifer forest dominated by bishop pine (Pinus muricata). These pines play a key role within…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Plant species natural abundances are determined by their growth and modification of soil resources in monoculture

Sophie S. Parker, W. Stanley Harpole, Eric W. Seabloom

This paper furthers our understanding of what makes some species rare, and others more common. The authors grew monocultures of 18 California grassland plant species and measured their growth and ability to alter soil properties such as moisture and nutrients. Then they related these metrics…


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

Evidence Synthesis as the Basis for Decision Analysis: A Method of Selecting the Best Agricultural Practices for Multiple Ecosystem Services

Gorm E. Shackelford, Rodd Kelsey, William J. Sutherland, Christina M. Kennedy, Stephen A. Wood, Sasha Gennet, Daniel S. Karp, Claire Kremen, Nathaniel E. Seavy, Julie A. Jedlicka, Kelly Gravuer, Sara M. Kross, Deborah A. Bossio, Andrés Muñoz-Sáez, Deirdre G. LaHue, Kelly Garbach, Lawrence D. Ford, Mark Felice, Mark D. Reynolds, Devii R. Rao, Kathleen Boomer, Gretchen LeBuhn, Lynn V. Dicks

Agricultural management practices impacts not only on crops and livestock, but also soil health, water quality, wildlife, and ecosystem services. There is abundant, but disconnected, scientific evidence for the impacts of different practice. But this evidence is often not used in decision making by farmers or…


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

Aligning evidence generation and use across health, development, and environment

Heather Tallis, Katharine Kreis, Lydia Olander, Claudia Ringler, David Ameyaw, Mark E Borsuk, Diana Fletschner, Edward Game,, Daniel O Gilligan, Marc Jeuland, Gina Kennedy, Yuta J Masuda, Sumi Mehta, Nicholas Miller, Megan Parker, Carmel Pollino, Julie Rajaratnam, David Wilkie, Wei Zhang, Selena Ahmed, Oluyede C Ajayi, Harold Alderman, George Arhonditsis, Ines Azevedo, Ruchi Badola, Rob Bailis, Patricia Balvanera, Emily Barbour, Mark Bardini, David N Barton, Jill Baumgartner, Tim G Benton, Emily Bobrow, Deborah Bossio, Ann Bostrom, Ademola Braimoh, Eduardo Brondizio, Joe Brown, Benjamin P Bryant, Ryan SD Calder, Becky Chaplin-Kramer, Alison Cullen, Nicole DeMello, Katherine L Dickinson, Kristie L Ebi, Heather E Eves, Jessica Fanzo, Paul J Ferraro, Brendan Fisher, Edward A Frongillo, Gillian Galford, Dennis Garrity, Lydiah Gatere, Andrew P Grieshop, Nicola J Grigg, Craig Groves, Mary Kay Gugerty, Michael Hamm, Xiaoyue Hou, Cindy Huang, Marc Imhoff, Darby Jack, Andrew D Jones, Rodd Kelsey, Monica Kothari, Ritesh Kumar, Carl Lachat, Ashley Larsen, Mark Lawrence, Fabrice DeClerck, Phillip S Levin, Edward Mabaya, Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson, Robert I McDonald, Georgina Mace, Ricardo Maertens, Dorothy I Mangale, Robin Martino, Sara Mason, Lyla Mehta, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Barbara Merz, Siwa Msangi, Grant Murray, Kris A Murray, Celeste E Naude, Nathaniel K Newlands, Ephraim Nkonya, Amber Peterman, Tricia Petruney, Hugh Possingham, Jyotsna Puri, Roseline Remans, Lisa Remlinger, Taylor H Ricketts, Bedilu Reta, Brian E Robinson, Dilys Roe, Joshua Rosenthal, Guofeng Shen, Drew Shindell, Ben Stewart-Koster, Terry Sunderland, William J Sutherland, Josh Tewksbury, Heather Wasser, Stephanie Wear, Chris Webb, Dale Whittington, Marit Wilkerson, Heidi Wittmer, Benjamin DK Wood, Stephen Wood,, Joyce Wu, Gautam Yadama and Stephanie Zobrist

Although environmental conservation, human health, and sustainable development challenges are interconnected, approaches to these challenges and the evidence used remain disconnected. Creating integrated solutions across these sectors will require better alignment of the methods used to assess the problems and quantifying success. In this review,…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Economics | Publications & Reports

MarketLab: Where Economics and Finance Meet Conservation

Sarah Heard

We have an opportunity to apply the principles of economics and finance to demonstrate the value of conservation and create systems that incentivize the protection of nature at scale. In a changing climate, natural landscapes are extremely valuable for the benefits they provide to both…



Marine | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Collaborative research reveals cryptic declines within the multispecies California rock crab fishery

Sean P. Fitzgerald , Hunter S. Lenihan, Jono R. Wilson, Carolynn S. Culver, Matthew Potoski

This paper highlights the benefits of collaborative fisheries research in the management of wild capture fisheries. The authors teamed up with commercial fishermen in the southern California rock crab fishery and sampled over 45,000 crabs over a two-year period. Using statistical techniques, they compared these data to a study…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Effects of cover crops on multiple ecosystem services: Ten meta-analyses of data from arable farmland in California and the Mediterranean

Gorm E. Shackelford, Rodd Kelsey, Lynn V. Dicks

As California and other major agricultural regions around the world tackle the challenge of increasing the sustainability of agriculture to improve environmental health, cover crops are increasingly viewed as an important practice to protect soils and contribute to climate change mitigation. In this analysis, the authors…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Growers say cannabis legalization excludes small growers, supports illicit markets, undermines local economies

Hekia Bodwitch, Jennifer Carah, Kent M. Daane, Christy Getz, Theodore E. Grantham, Gordon M. Hickey, Houston Wilson

Cannabis has been an industry in the shadows for many decades and little studied. In partnership with U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Cooperative Extension, Conservancy staff developed the first cannabis growers survey on cultivation practices in California, and also asked questions about grower’s experiences with the…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

First known survey of cannabis production practices in California

Houston Wilson, Hekia Bodwitch, Jennifer Carah, Kent Daane, Christy Getz, Theodore E. Grantham, Van Butsic

Cannabis has been an industry in the shadows for many decades and little studied. In partnership with U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Cooperative Extension, the Conservancy staff developed the first cannabis growers survey on cultivation practices in California. The goal of the survey was to understand…


Freshwater | Marine | Planning | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Insights into estuary habitat loss in the western United States using a new method for mapping maximum extent of tidal wetlands

Laura S. Brophy, Correigh M. Greene, Van C. Hare, Brett Holycross, Andy Lanier, Walter N. Heady, Kevin O’Connor, Hiroo Imaki, Tanya Haddad, Randy Dana

The authors of this study generated new maps of current and historical tidal wetlands in 450 estuaries throughout Washington, Oregon, and California. Using laser-mapping technology known as LIDAR combined with water elevation models, the team estimated that West Coast estuaries historically covered nearly 2 million acres.…


Freshwater | Economics | Publications & Reports

Economic Tools to Achieve Groundwater Sustainability for Nature: Two Experimental Case Studies from California

Sandi Matsumoto, Melissa M. Rohde, Sarah Heard

Groundwater is a critical water supply around the world and is increasingly under threat from pumping that exceeds natural replenishment. Successful implementation of California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) depends local agencies working with stakeholders to develop plans and implement projects that reduce groundwater use,…


Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Critical Species LookBook: A compendium of California's threatened and endangered species for sustainable groundwater management

Rohde MM, Seapy B, Rogers R, Castañeda X, editors

Plant and animal species can rely on groundwater directly or indirectly for water, nutrients, and stable temperatures. The Critical Species LookBook is a compendium of 84 state and federally listed species likely to rely on groundwater in California. This document provides groundwater-relevant information for each…



Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Rapid and Accurate Estimates of Streamflow Depletion Caused by Groundwater Pumping Using Analytical Depletion Functions

Samuel C. Zipper, Tom Gleeson, Ben Kerr, Jeanette K. Howard, Melissa M. Rohde, Jennifer Carah, Julie Zimmerman

Reductions in streamflow from groundwater pumping can negatively impact water users and aquatic ecosystems but are challenging to estimate due to the time and expertise required to develop numerical models often used in water management. This paper develops a new approach – a combination of…



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

Biodiversity Analysis in Los Angeles (BAILA) Report

Parker SS, Randall JM, Pauly GB, Li E, Brown BV, Cohen BS

This report is a product of the Biodiversity Analysis in Los Angeles (BAILA) project. It provides details on why we conducted our analysis, how the partnership between the Museum and the Conservancy was formed, how our Core Team, Scientific Advisory Group, and Stakeholder Group…


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

Power of Place: Land Conservation and Clean Energy Pathways for California

Grace C. Wu, Emily Leslie, Douglas Allen, Douglas Allen, Oluwafemi Sawyerr, D. Richard Cameron, Erica Brand, Brian Cohen, Marcela Ochoa, Arne Olson

California has ambitious climate and energy policies that call for the development of significant amounts of new zero-carbon energy by midcentury. The Power of Place study looks at multiple pathways to meet California's clean energy demand in alignment with decarbonization goals while limiting the impacts…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Technology | Science | Data

Biodiversity Analysis in Los Angeles (BAILA) data

Enjie Li, Sophie S. Parker, Gregory B. Pauly, John M. Randall, Brian V. Brown, Brian S. Cohen

This dataset is a product of the Biodiversity Analysis in Los Angeles (BAILA) project, and demonstrates a new way to evaluate urban biogeography—patterns in the distribution of species across urban areas. The authors developed a hierarchical, quantitative method for classifying urban lands into different…



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

An urban biodiversity assessment framework that combines an urban habitat classification scheme and citizen science data

Enjie Li, Sophie S. Parker, Gregory B. Pauly, John M. Randall, Brian V. Brown, Brian S. Cohen

This paper presents a new way to evaluate urban biogeography—patterns in the distribution of species across urban areas. The authors developed a hierarchical, quantitative method for classifying urban lands into different habitat types, and then used citizen-science data to assess each type’s biodiversity. This approach…


Marine | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

eCatch: Enabling collaborative fisheries management with technology

Matt Merrifield, Mary Gleason, Lyall Bellquist, Kate Kauer, Dwayne Oberhoff, Chad Burt, Steve Reinecke, Michael Bella

In 2006, The Nature Conservancy of California purchased 13 federal groundfish permits in California with the objective of managing the fishing and reporting activities in a manner that protected sensitive habitats and species. At that time, collecting data for this fishery was done with paper…


Freshwater | Technology | Science | Maps & Webmaps

GDE Pulse: Monitoring Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems with Satellites

Kirk Klausmeyer, Falk Schuetzenmeister, Nathaniel Rindlaub, Tanushree Biswas, Melissa M. Rohde, Jeanette Howard

94,333 unique ecosystems depend on groundwater in California. GDE Pulse lets you see how they have changed over the last 30 years.  Groundwater managers and environmental stakeholders often lack information about the health of critical groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs). To fill this information gap, we…


Freshwater | Economics | Publications & Reports

SGMA's First Groundwater Market: An Early Case Study from Fox Canyon

Sarah Heard, E.J. Remson, Matthew Fienup, Siobhan King

In 2014, California passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) which regulates groundwater at scale for the first time, requiring the state’s largest source of stored water to be managed for long-term resilience. SGMA delegates the responsibility of achieving sustainable groundwater management by 2040 to…


Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Restoring Forests through Partnership: Lessons Learned from the French Meadows Project

David Edelson, Angel Hertslet

There is an urgent need to increase the pace and scale of forest restoration in the Sierra Nevada and throughout the West to reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire and promote more resilient forest conditions. This report, based on The Nature Conservancy's experience with the…



Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

The dark side of facilitation: native shrubs facilitate exotic annuals more strongly than native annuals

Jacob E. Lucero, Taylor Noble, Stephanie Haas, Michael Westphal, H. Scott Butterfield, Christopher J. Lortie

Previous work at the Carrizo Plain by this team in 2018 showed that native shrubs facilitated endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizard populations, and should be considered part of plans for habitat restoration in the San Joaquin Valley. This paper shows that shrubs have a dark…


Terrestrial | Planning | Technology | Science | Maps & Webmaps

Planning for connectivity implementation in present-day California and for a changing future: a 3-D web-tour

Carrie Schloss, Dick Cameron, Nathaniel Rindlaub, Connor Shank

This interactive, web-based tour provides an accessible introduction to The Nature Conservancy’s analysis of wildlife movement routes for climate adaptation in California. Viewing these pathways in three-dimensional landscapes highlights the importance of elevation gradients, stream and river valleys, and topographic relief for species moving in…


Terrestrial | Planning | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Circuit-theory applications to connectivity science and conservation

Brett G. Dickson, Christine M. Albano, Ranjan Anantharaman, Paul Beier, Joe Fargione, Tabitha A. Graves, Miranda E. Gray, Kimberly R. Hall, Josh J. Lawler, Paul B. Leonard, Caitlin E. Littlefield, Meredith L. McClure, John Novembre, Carrie A. Schloss, Nathan H. Schumaker, Viral B. Shah, David M. Theobald

The authors explore the impact that Brad McRae’s development of circuit theory and the associated software, Circuitscape, have had, and continue to have, on connectivity science and conservation. The circuit-theory approach to connectivity modeling offers an alternative to least-cost paths by quantifying movement potential across…


Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Making habitat connectivity a reality

Annika T. H. Keeley, Galli Basson, D. Richard Cameron, Nicole E. Heller, Patrick R. Huber, Carrie A. Schloss, James H. Thorne, Adina M. Merenlender

Connectivity conservation must move more rapidly from planning to implementation. We provide an evidence‐based solution composed of key elements for successful on‐the‐ground connectivity implementation. We identified the social processes necessary to advance habitat connectivity for biodiversity conservation and resilient landscapes under climate change.


Terrestrial | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Globally important islands where eradicating invasive mammals will benefit highly threatened vertebrates

Holmes ND, Spatz DR, Oppel S, Tershy B, Croll DA, et al.

Restoring islands by eradicating damaging, non-native invasive mammals such as rats, cats, goats, and pigs has repeatedly proven to be a high impact conservation action. New research published in PLOS ONE shows this conservation action can have a major contribution towards stemming the global extinction…


Terrestrial | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Future Directions in Conservation Research on Petrels and Shearwaters

Rodríguez A, Arcos JM, Bretagnolle V, Dias MP, Holmes ND, Louzao M, Provencher J, Raine AF, Ramírez F, Rodríguez B, Ronconi RA, Taylor RS, Bonnaud E, Borrelle SB, Cortés V, Descamps S, Friesen VL, Genovart M, Hedd A, Hodum P, Humphries G, Le Corre M, Lebarbenchon C, Martin R, Melvin EF, Montevecchi WA, Pinet P, Pollet IL, Ramos R, Russell JC, Ryan PG, Sanz-Aguilar A, Spatz DR, Travers M, Votier SC, Wanless RM, Woehler E, Chiaradia A

Seabirds are amongst the most engaged species on our planet. Among these are petrels and shearwaters: species characterized by long ocean journeys for migration and feeding, and a dependence on islands to safely breed and raise young. This dual lifestyle places them at risk from…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Clarifying Effects of Environmental Protections on Freshwater Flows to—and Water Exports from—the San Francisco Bay Estuary

Gregory J. Reis, Jeanette K. Howard, Jonathan A. Rosenfield

For years the narrative of the San Francisco Bay Delta has been driven by the contention that water use by agriculture was being limited by environmental regulation. Analyzing long-term trends regarding factors governing water exports in the Delta, researchers from The Bay Institute, The Nature…


Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

The benefits of crops and field management practices to wintering waterbirds in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta of California

W. David Shuford, Matthew E. Reiter, Kristin A. Sesser, Catherine M. Hickey, Gregory H. Golet

Agricultural intensification has been a major factor in the loss of global biodiversity. Even so, agricultural landscapes provide important habitat for many bird species, particularly in the Central Valley of California, where >90% of wetlands have been lost. This study demonstrates that wetlands, and certain…


Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Stream flow modeling tools inform environmental water policy in California

Theodore E. Grantham, Julie K. H. Zimmerman, Jennifer K. Carah, Jeanette K. Howard

Management of California’s vast water distribution network, involving hundreds of dams and diversions from rivers and streams, provides water to 40 million people and supports a globally prominent agricultural sector, but it has come at a price to local freshwater ecosystems. An essential first step…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Wildfires and Forest Resilience: the case for ecological forestry in the Sierra Nevada

Rodd Kelsey

Forests of the Sierra Nevada and across the western U.S. are experiencing an unprecedented increase in the size and severity of wildfire along with widespread tree mortality due to drought and insect outbreaks. These developments not only threaten lives and communities but also seriously compromise…


Marine | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Opportunities to improve fisheries management through innovative technology and advanced data systems

Darcy Bradley, Matt Merrifield, Karly M. Miller, Serena Lomonico, Jono R. Wilson, Mary G. Gleason

A lack of fishery data leads to uncertainty about stock status, which may compromise and threaten the economic and food security of the users dependent upon that stock and increase the chances of overfishing. Recent developments in the technology available to collect, manage and analyze fishery-relevant data provide…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Habitat restoration opportunities, climatic niche contraction, and conservation biogeography in California's San Joaquin Desert

Joseph A. E. Stewart, H. Scott Butterfield, Jonathan Q. Richmond, David J. Germano, Michael F. Westphal, Erin N. Tennant, Barry Sinervo

Due to limited water resources, there is a global trend toward the retirement of farmland, especially in the San Joaquin Valley in California where the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act could necessitate the retirement of more than 500,000 acres. This paper helps identify where, across the…


Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

New concepts, models, and assessments of climate-wise connectivity

Annika T H Keeley, David D Ackerly, D Richard Cameron, Nicole E Heller, Patrick R Huber, Carrie A Schloss, James H Thorne, Adina M Merenlender

As climate change impacts wildlife and plants, species may need to access new habitats. Various approaches exist to plan to climate-driven habitat connectivity needs. We summarize the literature of connectivity planning that accounts for climate change, and suggest guidance for preferred approaches given various objectives.


Marine | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

An indicator‐based decision framework for the northern California red abalone fishery

William J. Harford, Natalie A. Dowling, Jeremy D. Prince, Frank Hurd, Lyall Bellquist, Jack Likins, Jono R. Wilson

Among abalone species that were once harvested along the California coastline, red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) supports the remaining recreational fishery. To support development of a red abalone fishery management plan, non‐governmental organizations have initiated expanded data collection and developed fishery management strategies. In this paper,…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Organic amendment additions to rangelands: A meta‐analysis of multiple ecosystem outcomes

Kelly Gravuer, Sasha Gennet, Heather L. Throop

Interest in land application of organic amendments—such as biosolids, composts, and manures—is growing among landowners, managers, and climate policy leaders due to their potential to increase soil carbon and help mitigate climate change, as well as to support soil health and regenerative agriculture. While organic…


Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Impact of solar and wind development on conservation values in the Mojave Desert

Sophie S. Parker, Brian S. Cohen, James Moore

This paper discusses changes in the conservation value of lands in the California Mojave Desert caused by renewable energy development that occurred between 2009 and 2016. The authors remotely assess the impacts of land use change caused by solar and wind installations in two areas…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Conservation Science Catalyst Fund - 2018 Annual Report

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…


Terrestrial | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

A test of desert shrub facilitation via radiotelemetric monitoring of a diurnal lizard

Michael F. Westphal, Taylor Noble, Harry Scott Butterfield, Christopher J. Lortie

Shrubs can play a key role in the structure of desert communities and can function as foundation species. Understanding desert shrub ecology is therefore an important task in desert conservation. In this study, the authors used radiotelemetry (technology used to track animals from a distance)…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Blogs

The Promise of eDNA: A New Kind of Fieldwork to Guide Conservation

Sophie Parker

This blog post discusses how environmental DNA or “eDNA” methods can be used by conservation biologists. These methods rely on the premise that DNA is shed by organisms through normal, everyday activity. DNA collected in the field is compared with known specimens to determine what…


Terrestrial | Economics | Science | Publications & Reports

Toward a Carbon Neutral California: Economic and Climate Benefits of Land Use Interventions

David C. Marvin, Dick Cameron, Erik Nelson, Andrew Plantinga, Justin Breck, Gokce Sencan, Michelle Passero

Ecosystems can increase carbon storage under alternative management techniques and land use patterns. But the magnitude, timing, and spatial heterogeneity is uncertain. Assessing the potential and cost of land management and conservation activities to reduce emissions or increase carbon sequestration is needed to help the…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

The emergence of cannabis agricultural frontiers as environmental threats

Van Butsic, Jennifer K. Carah, Matthias Baumann, Connor Stephens, Jacob C. Brenner

While cannabis cultivation in California is known to sometimes have serious collateral impacts on the environment, those impacts and their extent are not well understood or described. In this paper, the authors quantify growth in the footprint of cannabis cultivation between 2012 and 2016 in…


Terrestrial | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Islands

Nicholas D. Holmes, Olivier Langrand, Russell A. Mittermeier, Anthony B. Rylands, Thomas Brooks, Dena R. Spatz, James C. Russell, Wes Sechrest, Federico Méndez Sánchez, Cristina Mittermeier (Editor)

Covering only five percent of the land on our planet, islands are home to an estimated 20 percent of the world’s bird, reptile, and plant species, as well as the most astonishing examples of species’ evolution. "Islands" is the 26th volume in the CEMEX Nature Series…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Oren Pollak Memorial Research Fund - 2019 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…


Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Reducing bycatch through a risk pool: A case study of the U.S. West Coast groundfish fishery

Kate Kauer, Lyall Bellquist, Mary Gleason, Aliya Rubinstein, Joe Sullivan, Dwayne Oberhoff, Lisa Damrosch, Michelle Norvell, Michael Bell

This paper presents how voluntary collective agreements amongst fishermen can be used to reduce risk of bycatch of sensitive species and improve fishery performance in the West Coast groundfish fishery. We describe the challenges and results of designing and implementing an “insurance risk pool” to…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Wetland Bird Conservation in California Rice Fields

Chris Elphick, T. Rodd Kelsey, Catherine Hickey, Khara Strum, Paul Buttner, Monica Iglecia

Wetland birds, especially Sandhill Cranes, are heavily dependent on irrigated farmlands in the Central Valley of California after widespread conversion of natural habitats. TNC and its partners have had great success working with farmers to design and implement compatible management practices that make sure farms,…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Waterbird response to variable-timing of drawdown in rice fields after winter-flooding

Kristen Sesser, Monica Iglecia, Matthew Reiter, Khara Strum, Catherine Hickey, Rodd Kelsey, Daniel Skalos

Over 50% of waterbird habitat in the Central Valley of California is provided by flooded agricultural land. Each year non-breeding waterbird habitat decreases in the late winter as flooded agricultural fields are drained after waterfowl hunting season in late-January to prepare for the next crop.…


Marine | Planning | Technology | Science | Blogs

Managing Fisheries in the Face of Climate Change

Jono Wilson

The author discusses a need for a new paradigm in fisheries management to address the challenges of a changing climate.  See related publication by the author and colleagues in Conservation Letters.


Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

CA Rock Crab Fishery Management

Sean P. Fitzgerald, Jono R. Wilson , Hunter S. Lenihan

Despite the economic value of California fisheries, many lack information needed to determine if fishing is occurring at a sustainable level. The Southern California Rock Crab fishery in the Santa Barbara Channel is one such data-limited fishery that is currently managed through a state-wide size…


Terrestrial | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Tracking invasive species eradications on islands at a global scale

Holmes ND, Keitt BS, Spatz DR, Will DJ, Hein S, Russell JC, Genovesi P, Cowan PE, Tershy BR

Indicators for tracking conservation efforts at a global scale are rare but important tools for understanding trends and measuring progress towards global conservation targets. Eradication of invasive species from islands is an increasingly used conservation intervention in countries and territories around the world. This paper…


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

Groundwater sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley: Multiple benefits if agricultural lands are retired and restored strategically

Rodd Kelsey, Abby Hart, H. Scott Butterfield, Dan Vink

Restoring habitat in retired farmland could reduce water demand and provide ecosystem services for farmers and local communities. In some areas of California, as a result of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), it is likely that large amounts of agricultural land will need to…


Freshwater | Planning | Science | Maps & Webmaps

Rearing habitat objectives to support salmon in the Central Valley

Travis M. Hinkelman, Myfanwy Johnston, Joseph E. Merz, Julie Zimmerman

To restore degraded stream corridors and develop large-scale, sustainable watershed conservation strategies, it is essential for managers to consider—in order to ultimately re-establish—the habitat requirements of keystone species. For example, in order to restore salmon in the Central Valley of California, we need a clear…


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…



Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Better late than never: a synthesis of strategic land retirement and restoration in California

Chris Lortie, Alex Filazzola, Rodd Kelsey, Abigail Hart, Scott Butterfield

Over the past 100 years, California's Central Valley has undergone a massive transformation from desert to a mosaic of farmland and urban development. This transformation has also meant many desert species have lost habitat. Now, new groundwater regulations are calling for the retirement of more…


Terrestrial | Planning | Technology | Science | Blogs

Climate Connectivity Analysis: An Innovation Approach to Identifying Critical Habitat in California

Alex Leumer, Carrie Schloss, Cara Lacey

Plants and animals lack the ability to change their environment. As their current habitat becomes unsuitable due to climate change, they may search out new, more suitable habitat to adapt to changing conditions. With limited resources for protecting additional lands, the conservation community must protect…


Freshwater | Economics | Publications & Reports

California’s First Farmer-Led Groundwater Market

Sarah Heard, E.J. Remson, Siobhan King, Sandi Matsumoto

The Conservancy has a vested interest in preserving farms in Ventura County because they buffer important river and wetland habitat from nearby urban lands. In western Ventura County, over 70% of groundwater use is agricultural. Due to requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), this use will…


Terrestrial | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Invasive rat eradication strongly impacts plant recruitment on a tropical atoll

Wolf CA, Young HS, Zilliacus KM, Wegmann AS, McKown M, Holmes ND, Tershy BR, Dirzo R, Kropidlowski S, Croll DA

Prior to eradication in 2011, non-native invasive rats were known to be active seed predators on Palmyra Atoll, Central Pacific Ocean. This paper reports on native and non-native tree and palm seedling abundance before and after eradication, with seedling recruitment increasing for five of the…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Impact of extreme drought and incentive programs on flooded agriculture and wetlands in California’s Central Valley

Matthew E. Reiter​, Nathan K. Elliott, Dennis Jongsomjit, Gregory H. Golet, Mark D. Reynolds

In the Central Valley of California, with 90% of the historic wetlands gone, waterbirds depend upon managed wetlands and seasonally flooded agriculture to meet their habitat needs. The 2013-2015 drought in the Central Valley was more severe than drought years during 2000-2011 and reduced waterbird…


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…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Oak habitat recovery on California's largest islands: Scenarios for the role of corvid seed dispersal

Mario B. Pesendorfer, Christopher M. Baker, Martin Stringer, Eve McDonald‐Madden, Michael Bode, A. Kathryn McEachern, Scott A. Morrison, T. Scott Sillett

A key aim of conservation is to restore ecological processes to degraded ecosystems. This study models how reintroducing an ecosystem engineer – the island scrub-jay, which is a highly efficient seed disperser – to a degraded island ecosystem could accelerate the recovery of its oak…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Ecological spillover dynamics of organisms from urban to natural landscapes

Jill E. Spear, Erik K. Grijalva, Julia S. Michaels, Sophie S. Parker

This paper discusses the impact of urban-dwelling plants and animals on regional wildland populations, both within and across species. The authors reviewed the global conservation literature and identified seven ecological processes that have the potential to be affected by spillover from urban to wildland areas.…


Freshwater | Science | Microsite

Groundwater Resource Hub

Sandi Matsumoto, Gregg Werner, Melissa Rohde, Kirk Klausmeyer

Groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) are plant and animal communities that require groundwater to meet some or all of their water needs. GDEs provide important benefits to California including habitat for animals, water supply, water purification, flood mitigation, erosion control, recreational opportunities and enjoyment of California’s…


Freshwater | Planning | Publications & Reports

A freshwater conservation blueprint for California: prioritizing watersheds for freshwater biodiversity

Jeanette K. Howard, Kurt A. Fesenmyer, Theodore E. Grantham, Joshua H. Viers, Peter R. Ode, Peter B. Moyle, Sarah J. Kupferburg, Joseph L. Furnish, Andrew Rehn, Joseph Slusark, Raphael D. Mazor, Nicholas R. Santos, Ryan A. Peek, Amber N. Wright

Freshwater ecosystems are in peril globally. Threats to freshwater biodiversity are numerous and include habitat degradation, pollution, overexploitation, dam construction, species invasion, and hydroclimatic change. With conservation resources often limited, prioritization tooks are needed by land and water managers. To fill this need, the authors…



Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Mojave Desert Springs and Waterholes: Results of the 2015-16 Mojave Desert Spring Survey

Prepared by Andrew Zdon & Associates Inc. for Transition Habitat Conservancy, The Bureau of Land Management, and The Nature Conservancy

The Mojave Desert within California, which spans four counties, exists as one of the most important ecological regions in the southwestern United States. Both the groundwater and surface water in the region support isolated, unique and diverse ecosystems, while also supporting human needs through domestic,…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Ecological Values of the Amargosa River in California

Sophie S. Parker, Jim Moore, Leonard Warren

The 185 mile-long Amargosa River, one of only two rivers with perennial flow in the California portion of the Mojave Desert, is fed by an ancient groundwater aquifer. The river provides habitat for hundreds of organisms, including a unique suite of rare, endemic, and imperiled…



Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Science in Action

Connectivity Roadmap: Can we identify areas where nature will need to migrate in response to climate change?

Dick Cameron, Carrie Schloss

The Conservancy’s Omniscape tool provides a connectivity roadmap for plants and animals that need to adapt as the climate warms.


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

Improving multi-objective ecological flow management with flexible priorities and turn-taking: a case study from the Sacramento River and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Alexander C.A.D., F. Poulsen, D.C.E. Robinson, B.O. Ma , R.A. Luster

Management of the Sacramento River and Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta is one of California’s greatest challenges, requiring trade-offs between valued components that serve a multiplicity of conflicting purposes. This paper demonstrates an improved method for multiple-objective allocation of water based on a “turn-taking” optimization model. The…


Marine | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Adaptive comanagement to achieve climate‐ready fisheries

Jono R. Wilson, Serena Lomonico, Darcy Bradley, Leila Sievanen, Tom Dempsey, Michael Bell, Skyli McAfee, Christopher Costello, Cody Szuwalski, Huff McGonigal, Sean Fitzgerald, Mary Gleason

Climate change is amplifying threats to ocean ecosystems and marine fisheries worldwide. In order to respond appropriately in the face of these ocean changes, commercial and recreational fisheries management requires improved information collection, expanded utilization of diverse data sources, and enhanced decision-making. While advances in science and…


Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Assessment of Wildlife Crossing Sites for the Interstate 15 and Highway 101 Freeways in Southern California

Seth P. D. Riley, Trish Smith, T. Winston Vickers

Freeways are barriers to wildlife passage and gene exchange. In Southern California, mountain lion movement has been severely restricted due to this infrastructure. As a result, the mountain lions in the Santa Ana and Santa Monica  Mountains have become severely inbred, threatening their long-term health and…



Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Harnessing cross-border resources to confront climate change

Aburto-Oropeza, O., M. Edwards, S. Butterfield, and 93 additional authors

The U.S. and Mexico face many shared ecological changes due to the increased frequency and severity of droughts and rising energy demands; trends that entail economic costs for both nations and major implications for human well-being. This paper synthesizes current knowledge about the most pressing issues…


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…


Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Partnerships in Fisheries Management

Wilson J. , McGonigal, H., Dempsey, T., Gleason, M., Rienecke, S.

Fisheries management in California is a complex, resource intensive process that is limited by funding and staff capacity. In this report, Conservancy scientists and colleagues identify ways in which non-governmental organizations and individuals, including fishermen, can engage in aspects of management. The report suggests that…


Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Guidance for Preparing Groundwater Sustainability Plans

Rohde, M.M., S. Matsumoto, J. Howard, S. Liu, L. Riege, E.J. Remson

California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014 is landmark legislation that empowers local agencies, known as groundwater sustainability agencies, to sustainably manage groundwater resources for social, economic and environmental benefits. SGMA also includes specific requirements to identify and consider impacts to groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs).…



Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Using ricelands to provide temporary shorebird habitat during migration

Gregory H. Golet, Candace Low, Simon Avery, Katie Andrews, Christopher J. McColl, Rheyna Laney, Mark D. Reynolds

Migratory birds face great challenges due to the climate change, conversion of historical stopover sites, and other factors. To help address these challenges, the Conservancy launched a dynamic conservation incentive program to create temporary wetland habitats in harvested and fallow rice fields for shorebirds…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Introduction to the Special Issue on the Flora and Vegetation of the Islands of the Californias

John J. Knapp, John M. Randall

The islands off the Pacific coast of California and Baja California, from the Farallones in the north to Isla Natividad in the south, are within the California Floristic Province. Their shared flora is distinctive and rich in endemic genera, species, subspecies, and varieties not found…


Freshwater | Science | Data

California Natural Flows Database

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

The Nature Conservancy and the United Stated Geological Survey (USGS) partnered to generate estimates of natural flows (expected streamflow in the absence of human modification) in all the streams and rivers in California (1950-2015). For more details on the methods and results see  Patterns and…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Identification of potentially suitable habitat for strategic land retirement and restoration in the San Joaquin Desert

H. Scott Butterfield, Rodd Kelsey, Abigail Hart, Tanushree Biswas, Mark Kramer, Dick Cameron, Laura Crane, Erica Brand

California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) established a framework for sustainable, local groundwater management. SGMA requires groundwater-dependent regions to halt overdraft and bring basins into balanced levels of pumping and recharge. As a result, agricultural land retirement is on the rise in the San Joaquin Valley, California’s largest agricultural region and home to…


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…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Rethinking the Grid: Optimizing California’s Transmission System For Renewable Energy

Energy+Environmental Economics for The Nature Conservancy, Arne Olson, Doug Allen, Vivian Li, Emily Leslie

California leads the nation in the transition to a clean energy economy. However, current transmission planning processes limit development of new renewable resources. This report (slide deck), produced for the Conservancy by Energy+Environmental Economics, analyzes an alternative transmission planning framework (Energy-Only) using the San Joaquin Valley as…


Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Managing diversions in unregulated streams using a modified percent-of-flow approach

Darren W. Mierau, William J. Trush, Gabriel J. Rossi, Jennifer K. Carah, Matthew O. Clifford, Jeanette K. Howard

The California water rights system often dis-incentivizes water management that benefits both nature and people by directing the timing of diversions to the summer when water is the most scarce. It makes more sense to divert water in the winter when it is plentiful, and…


Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Patterns and magnitude of flow alteration in California, USA

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

The importance of the natural flow regime to stream and river health has received growing attention in recent years. Understanding natural flows and patterns of flow alteration is an important first step in improving the management of California’s rivers and streams for human and ecosystem…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Conservation Science Catalyst Fund - 2017 Annual Report

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…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Ecosystem management and land conservation can substantially contribute to California’s climate mitigation goals

D. Richard Cameron, David C. Marvin, Jonathan M. Remucal, Michelle C. Passero

Combatting climate change will require using all available tools, especially those that contribute to other societal and economic goals, such as natural resource protection and energy security. Conserving and managing natural and agricultural lands to retain and absorb greenhouse gasses (GHGs) are tools that have…


Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Regional Prioritization for Forest Restoration across California's Sierra Nevada

Rodd Kelsey, Edward Smith, Tanushree Biswas, Chris McColl, Kristen Wilson, Dick Cameron

This report provides a systematic regional-scale assessment of biodiversity, fire regime change, and fire risk to infrastructure of forested watersheds across the Sierra Nevada and prioritizes watersheds for forest restoration where the greatest risk reduction to biodiversity and human infrastructure can be achieved. For priority…


Terrestrial | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Testing a Remote Sensing-Based Interactive System for Monitoring Grazed Conservation Lands

Lawrence D. Ford, H. Scott Butterfield, Pete A. Van Hoorn, Kasey B. Allen, Ethan Inlander, Carrie Schloss, Falk Schuetzenmeister, Miriam Tsalyuk

The Nature Conservancy developed RDMapper, a web-based tool that uses satellite-based productivity estimates, rainfall records, and compliance history to identify easement properties at risk of being below the required level of RDM. TNC successfully used RDMapper in 2015 and 2016 to predict compliance across ~47,000…


Marine | Technology | Science | Video

Aquaculture by Design, Tomales Bay

Serena Lomonico, Robert Jones, Torrey Johnson, Sarah Newkirk, Sarah Lummis, Kirk Klausmeyer, John Finger, Terry Sawyer, Richard James

Aquaculture is becoming an increasingly important global food source. With this growth comes urgent, unanswered questions about the interactions of aquaculture operations—both positive and negative—and ecosystems. This video describes a collaboration between the Conservancy, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Hog Island Oyster Company aimed at…


Terrestrial | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Novel fine-scale aerial mapping approach quantifies grassland weed cover dynamics and response to management

Carolyn M. Malmstrom, H. Scott Butterfield, Laura Planck, Christopher W. Long, Valerie T. Eviner

Invasive weeds threaten the biodiversity and forage productivity of grasslands worldwide. However, management of these weeds is constrained by the practical difficulty of detecting small-scale infestations across large landscapes and by limits in understanding of landscape-scale invasion dynamics. This study demonstrates the application of a…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Technology | Economics | Science | Publications & Reports

Dynamic conservation for migratory species

Mark D. Reynolds, Brian L. Sullivan, Eric Hallstein, Sandra Matsumoto, Steve Kelling, Matthew Merrifield, Daniel Fink, Alison Johnston, Wesley M. Hochachka, Nicholas E. Bruns, Matthew E. Reiter, Sam Veloz, Catherine Hickey, Nathan Elliott, Leslie Martin, John W. Fitzpatrick, Paul Spraycar, Gregory H. Golet, Christopher McColl, Scott A. Morrison

What if instead of buying habitat, conservationists could rent it when and where nature needs it most? The Conservancy is using predictive models of shorebird movements, data from the citizen science program eBird, and NASA satellite wetland habitat data to create a habitat marketplace of…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

A bustle in the hedgerow: Woody field margins boost on farm avian diversity and abundance in an intensive agricultural landscape

Sacha K. Heath, Candan U. Soykan, Karen L. Velas, Rodd Kelsey, Sara M. Kross

This paper discusses the potential for on-farm habitats along field margins as a conservation strategy within intensively cultivated landscapes. Specifically, the study examined the effects of woody field margin vegetation on winter and breeding season avian communities within diverse farm fields of California's Central Valley,…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Spatially biased dispersal of acorns by a scatter-hoarding corvid may accelerate passive restoration of oak habitat on California’s largest island

Mario B. Pesendorfer, T. Scott Sillett, Scott A. Morrison

An individual jay can cache thousands of oak seeds per year, and in so doing provide oaks a means to disperse long distances. This ecological process can be especially important in restoration of degraded habitats – like Santa Cruz Island, CA, which experienced over 150…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Equipping the 22nd-Century Historical Ecologist

Scott A. Morrison, T. Scott Sillett, W. Chris Funk, Cameron K. Ghalambor, Torben C. Rick

Historical records can provide information critical for conservation. Yet, societal investment in collection and curation of museum archives is widely recognized to be insufficient, which is a trend that disadvantages conservationists today and into the future. In response, this essay calls for a crowdsourced initiative,…



Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Quantifying Trade-Offs Among Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity, and Agricultural Returns in an Agriculturally Dominated Landscape Under Future Land‑Management Scenarios

Emma C. Underwood, Rachel A. Hutchinson, Joshua H. Viers, T. Rodd Kelsey, Trisha Distler, Jaymee Marty

This paper discusses and provides modeled estimates of the biodiversity and ecosystem service outcomes of three different future land use scenarios, compared to current land uses, in a cultivated landscape of the Central Valley in California. Specifically, it quantifies the impacts to greenhouse gas emissions,…



Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Partial support for the central–marginal hypothesis within a population: reduced genetic diversity but not increased differentiation at the range edge of an island endemic bird

K.M. Langin, T.S. Sillett, W.C. Funk, S.A. Morrison, C.K. Ghalambor

Genetic diversity is an important target in biodiversity conservation. Understanding how it tends to be distributed across ranges of species can improve conservation planning. This paper examines patterns of genetic diversity of a species with a highly restricted and geologically-bounded range, the Island Scrub-Jay.


Terrestrial | Planning | Microsite

The Bay Area Greenprint

Carrie Schloss, Elizabeth O'Donoghue, Christa Cassidy, Tom Robinson, Serena Unger, Adam Garcia, Dan Rademacher

The Bay Area Greenprint tool provides land use and infrastructure agencies, consultants, and advocates easily accessible, interpretable, and scientifically robust information on habitat and ecosystem service values in the Bay Area. Currently, natural and agricultural lands are not considered early enough in planning processes leading…


Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Solar Energy Development and Regional Conservation Planning

D.R. Cameron, L. Crane, S.S. Parker, J.M. Randall

This book chapter discusses how California's greenhouse gas emission reduction goals spurred solar development in the Mojave Desert—development that could have negative impacts if poorly sited. The authors discuss their wall-to-wall assessment of conservation values across the 32-million-acre Mojave Desert, and their estimation of…



Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Managing consequences of climate-driven species redistribution requires integration of ecology, conservation and social science

Timothy C. Bonebrake, Christopher J. Brown, Johann D. Bell, Julia L. Blanchard, Alienor Chauvenet, Curtis Champion, I-Ching Chen, Timothy D. Clark, Robert K. Colwell, Finn Danielsen, Anthony I. Dell, Jennifer M. Donelson, Birgitta Eveng°ard, Simon Ferrier, Stewart Frusher, Raquel A. Garcia, Roger B. Griffis, Alistair J. Hobday, Marta A. Jarzyna, Emma Lee, Jonathan Lenoir, Hlif Linnetved, Victoria Y. Martin, Phillipa C. McCormack, Jan McDonald, Eve McDonald-Madden, Nicola Mitchell, Tero Mustonen, John M. Pandolfi, Nathalie Pettorelli, Hugh Possingham, Peter Pulsifer, Mark Reynolds , Brett R. Scheffers, Cascade J. B. Sorte, Jan M. Strugnell, Mao-Ning Tuanmu, Samantha Twiname, Adriana Verg´es, Cecilia Villanueva, Erik Wapstra, Thomas Wernberg , Gretta T. Pecl

Climate change is driving the largest global redistribution of the planet’s species since the ice age. Species redistributions present challenges for human well-being, environmental management and sustainable development. Species redistribution also poses new questions for the study of ecosystems, conservation science and human societies that…


Freshwater | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

A Global Synthesis of Managing Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Under Sustainable Groundwater Policy

Melissa M. Rohde, Ray Froend, Jeanette Howard

Groundwater is a vital water supply worldwide for people and nature. However, species and ecosystems that depend on groundwater for some or all of their water needs, known as groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs), are increasingly becoming threatened worldwide. This paper provides an overview of how…




Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Persistence of historical population structure in an endangered species despite near-complete biome conversion in California’s San Joaquin Desert

Jonathan Q. Richmond, Dustin A. Wood, Michael F. Westphal, Amy G. Vandergast, Adam D. Leache, Lawrence R. Saslaw, H. Scott Butterfield, Robert N. Fisher

This paper uses novel genetic approaches to document how land conversion in the San Joaquin Desert has affected population connectivity and relatedness in the endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizard. The authors use these data to identify conservation areas where species could exist now and in the…



Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Bill morphology and neutral genetic structure both predict variation in acoustic signals within a bird population

Kathryn M. Langin, T. Scott Sillett, Scott A. Morrison, Cameron K. Ghalambor

Island Scrub-Jays, a species restricted to 250 km2 Santa Cruz Island, CA, have different bill forms depending on whether they occupy oak or pine dominated habitat, a pattern that may be associated with foraging efficiency. This paper shows how vocalizations important for pair bonding also…


Marine | Technology | Video

Big Data and the Deep Blue Sea

The Nature Conservancy, Matt Merrifield

Nearly half of the world depends on seafood for their main source of protein. In the Western and Central Pacific, where 60% of the world’s tuna is caught, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing practices are threatening marine ecosystems, global seafood supplies and local livelihoods. This…



Freshwater | Terrestrial | Economics | Publications & Reports

Market-Based Mechanisms For Securing Environmental Water In California

Sarah Heard, Siobhan King, Eric Hallstein

California’s water supply is becoming increasingly unreliable. During dry times, consumptive use often outstrips supplies. As a result, people and nature suffer. This imbalance of supply and demand will likely grow worse if future demand for agricultural and urban water increases alongside a warming climate.…



Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Population and habitat objectives for avian conservation in California’s Central Valley riparian ecosystems

Kristen E. Dybala, Neil Clipperton, Thomas Gardali, Gregory H. Golet, Rodd Kelsey, Stefan Lorenzato, Ron Melcer, Jr., Nathaniel E. Seavy, Joseph G. Silveira

The Conservancy and partners are working to establish riparian ecosystems that provide sufficient habitat to support genetically robust, self-sustaining, and resilient bird populations in California's Central Valley. In this study, researchers selected 12 riparian landbird focal species as indicators of riparian ecosystem health and are…


Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

A General Framework for Setting Quantitative Population Objectives for Wildlife Conservation

Kristen E. Dybala, Neil Clipperton, Thomas Gardali, Gregory H. Golet, Rodd Kelsey, Stefan Lorenzato, Ronald Melcer, Jr., Nathaniel Seavy, Joseph G. Silveira, Gregory S. Yarris

Quantitative population objectives are necessary to achieve conservation goals of secure or robust wildlife populations, however, existing methods for setting them often require extensive species population viability data, which are often unavailable. This paper presents an alternative method that uses key milestones a population would be expected to…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Oren Pollak Memorial Research Fund - 2017 Annual Report

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…



Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Informing watershed planning and policy in the Truckee River basin through stakeholder engagement, scenario development, and impact evaluation

Kristen Wilson, Erik Lowe, Stacey Wolny, Barry Nickel , Rodd Kelsey

This study demonstrates how science-based planning with stakeholder input can improve and direct conservation investments across existing state and jurisdictional boundaries. The authors set out to help direct the type, amount, and location of conservaiton investments in the Truckee River watershed in the Sierra Nevada…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Protocols for Argentine ant eradication in conservation areas

C. L. Boser, C. Hanna, D. A. Holway, K. R. Faulkner, I. Naughton, K. Merrill, J. M. Randall, C. Cory, D.H. Choe , S. A. Morrison

Argentine ants are highly invasive and ecologically damaging. This paper presents a method demonstrated to reduce even large-scale (~400 ha) infestations to non-detectable levels. This protocol represents a significant advance in methods to eradicate invasive ant populations, which not only is important in conservation areas…



Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

The relationship between female brooding and male nestling provisioning: does climate underlie geographic variation in sex roles?

Jongmin Yoon , Helen R. Sofaer, T. Scott Sillett , Scott A. Morrison, Cameron K. Ghalambor

Climate is an important factor in how birds apportion time tending their nests, e.g., how much time they spend brooding versus foraging. This study examines how the roles of males and females of one species of songbird vary along a climatic gradient that extends from…


Freshwater | Planning | Publications & Reports

Water for nature: What we can do today to help California’s rivers, streams and wetlands

Burns, C.E., A. Hoss, N. Smith, K. Klausmeyer, K. Fesenmeyer, A. Campbell, J. Carah, E. Forsburg, S. Heard, J.K. Howard, L. Hulette, S. Liu, P. Spraycar, B. Stranko, G. Werner, D. Wordham

This report identifies a set of strategies that will have the greatest impact on environmental flows, and to provide a resource for conservation organizations, resource agencies, and other stakeholders in California that may help create the conditions that allow freshwater species to thrive well into…



Marine | Economics | Science | Publications & Reports

Market and design solutions to the short-term economic impacts of marine reserves

Daniel Ovando, Dawn Dougherty, Jono R. Wilson

No-take marine reserves are a management intervention that can provide long-term fishery benefits. But, impacts of reserve implementation can negatively affect fishermen profits in the short term. This study examines how to overcome the losses in profit associated with implementing reserves. The authors found that creative…


Marine | Technology | Science | Video

Sustainable Management of Abalone Fishery in California

The Nature Conservancy, Jono Wilson

California fisheries, like the red abalone fishery, are facing increasing environmental variation and uncertainty due to climate change, complicating the sustainable management of commercial and recreational fisheries and threatening the resilience of fishing communities. To better manage these resources, better data is needed. In this video,…




Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Benefits and Economic Costs of Managed Aquifer Recharge in California

Debra Perrone, Melissa M. Rohde

Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) projects can play an important role in ensuring California manages its groundwater sustainably. This study, the first to investigate the benefits and economic costs of MAR projects in the state, found California MAR projects to be a cost-effective storage strategy, exhibit a…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

A picture is worth a thousand data points: an imagery dataset of paired shrub-open microsites within the Carrizo Plain National Monument

Taylor J. Noble , Christopher J. Lortie , Michael Westphal, H.Scott Butterfield

This paper presents camera trap data comprising over 425,000 images from the Carrizo Plain National Monument. This unique collection of digital images allowed the authors to capture animal behaviours and plant-animal interactions that would difficult to do using human observation alone. The dataset provides direct…



Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Inconsistent food safety pressures complicate environmental conservation for California produce growers

Patrick Baur, Laura Driscoll, Sasha Gennet, Daniel Karp

Since a deadly outbreak of pathogenic E. coli in California spinach in 2006, produce growers have been pressured to implement on-farm practices, such as native vegetation removal, in the name of food safety. These practices are damaging to the environment and may conflict with existing laws.…


Terrestrial | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Integrating technologies for scalable ecology and conservation

David C. Marvin, Lian Pin Koh, Antony J. Lynam, Serge Wich, Andrew B. Davies, Ramesh Krishnamurthy, Emma Stokes, Ruth Starkey, Gregory P. Asner

Integration of multiple technologies greatly increases the spatial and temporal scales over which ecological patterns and processes can be studied, and threats to protected ecosystems can be identified and mitigated. A range of technology options relevant to ecologists and conservation practitioners are described, including ways…



Terrestrial | Planning | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Spatially explicit analysis of field inventories for national forest carbon monitoring

David C. Marvin, Gregory P. Asner

Policies that incentivize forest conservation by monetizing forest carbon ultimately depend on the accuracy of carbon stock estimates. Often, these estimates are based on field inventory sampling. In this paper, the authors assessed the accuracy of two common field-plot carbon sampling approaches when creating large-scale…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Technology | Science | Publications & Reports

Pop-up wetland habitats benefit migrating birds and farmers

Christopher J. McColl , Katie Andrews, Mark Reynolds, Gregory H. Golet

In response to the decline of wetland habitats for migrating and wintering water birds in California, the Conservancy developed a program called BirdReturns that creates “pop-up” wetland habitat where and when birds need them most by enlisting farmers to flood their fields at specific times. This…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Agricultural practices for food safety threaten pest control services for fresh produce

Daniel S. Karp, Rebekah Moses, Sasha Gennet, Matthew S. Jones, Shimat Joseph, Leithen K. M'Gonigle, Lauren C. Ponisio, William E. Snyder, Claire Kremen

Food safety concerns have led to pressure on farmers to simplify their farms and landscapes, rather than diversify them. This study demonstrates that two practices – elimination of manure-based composts and removal of non-crop vegetation (i.e. habitat) – are likely having negative impacts on arthropod biodiversity,…


Terrestrial | Publications & Reports

Field-scale habitat complexity enhances avian conservation and avian-mediated pest-control services in an intensive agricultural crop

Sara M. Kross, T. Rodd Kelsey, Chris J. McColl, Jason M. Townsend

Globally, loss of biodiversity and impacts to natural services and human health have been driven to a significant degree by loss of natural habitats due to agricultural land conversion and management practices. As a result, there is growing need and demand for designing or restoring…


Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Pajaro Compass

A Network for Voluntary Conservation

The Pajaro Compass—with its interactive maps and tools—supports a group of over 50 stakeholders representing conservation, agriculture, transportation, government and community interests who together share a common conservation vision for the Pajaro River watershed in central California. It provides a gateway for landowners and…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Future land-use related water demand in California

Tamara S Wilson, Benjamin M Sleeter, D Richard Cameron

This publication discusses how land use changes in Mediterranean California will drive changes in water use between urban uses and annual vs. perennial crops. The authors used a state-and-transition simulation model to project business-as-usual trends into the future for developed (municipal and industrial) and agricultural…



Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Contemporary Drought and Future Effects of Climate Change on the Endangered Blunt-Nosed Leopard Lizard, Gambelia sila

Michael F. Westphal, Joseph A. E. Stewart, Erin N. Tennant, H. Scott Butterfield, Barry Sinervo

This paper documents the negative effects of the 2012-2014 drought—the most severe multi-year drought in southwestern North America in the past 1,200 years—on the endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizard in the San Joaquin Desert of California. It provides a unique view of the potential effects of…


Marine | Publications & Reports

Marine and Coastal Impacts of Ocean Desalination in California

Szeptycki, L., E. Hartge, N. Ajami, A. Erickson, W. N. Heady, L. LaFeir, B. Meister, L. Verdone, J.R. Koseff

The drought in California rekindled interest in ocean desalination as a new and reliable water supply option; yet desalination is expensive, energy intensive, potentially emits greenhouse gases, and has adverse impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems. This report is a synthesis of an Uncommon…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Adaptive divergence despite strong genetic drift: genomic analysis of the evolutionary mechanisms causing genetic differentiation in the island fox

Funk, W.C., R.E. Lovich, P.A. Hohenlohe, C.A. Hofman, S.A. Morrison, T.S. Sillett, C.K. Ghalambor, J.E. Maldonado, T.C. Rick, M.D. Day, T.J. Coonan, K.R. Crooks, A. Dillon, D.K. Garcelon, J.L. King, L.M. Lyren, E.E. Boydston, N. Gould , W.F. Andelt

The genomics revolution provides powerful tools for understanding evolution and advancing conservation. This study applies genomics techniques to examine the evolutionary mechanisms underpinning differences in the six populations of island fox on the California Channel Islands. Such insights can be critical for conservation management of…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Context‐dependent seed dispersal by a scatter‐hoarding corvid

M.B. Pesendorfer, T.S. Sillett, S.A. Morrison, A.C. Kamil

Foraging behavior may be influenced by a variety of factors, including food abundance and competitor density. This study examines how such factors affect the seed caching behavior of the Island Scrub-Jay, and in turn how those contextual factors may affect the resulting distribution of seeds. 


Freshwater | Maps & Webmaps

How and Where Nature Uses Groundwater

Kirk Klausmeyer, Jeanette Howard, Sandi Matsumoto, Sally Liu, Melissa Rohde

Groundwater is essential to the health and viability of plants, animals and ecosystems. Many tree species, like willows and cottonwoods, rely on groundwater to survive seasonal and annual dry spells. Fish and other aquatic life need groundwater to keep rivers flowing. When unsustainable management causes groundwater levels…



Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Oren Pollak Memorial Research Fund - 2016 Annual Report

Brynn Pewtherer

The Oren Pollak Memorial Research Fund provides student researchers with the funds necessary to pursue their studies and complete important research in grassland science. The Fund was established in 2000 in memory of Dr. Oren Pollak, a leading grassland ecologist, restoration pioneer, and a champion and mentor…



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…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Planning | Publications & Reports

Designing virtuous socio-ecological cycles for biodiversity conservation

Scott A. Morrison

Conservationists should assume that people don’t care about biodiversity. By doing so, they would be especially motivated to figure out what people do care about, and how conservation might be able to align with those interests. Focusing on what it is about nature or its…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Scatter-hoarding corvids as seed dispersers for oaks and pines: a review of a widely distributed mutualism and its utility to habitat restoration

M.B. Pesendorfer, T.S. Sillett, W.D. Koenig, S.A. Morrison

Many corvids are renowned as “ecosystem engineers” because they facilitate the long-distance seed dispersal of keystone tree species like oaks. This paper reviews research into various aspects of the relationship between these birds and these trees, and discusses how the relationship can be important –…


Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Sustainable Groundwater Management: What We Can Learn from California's Central Valley Streams

The Nature Conservancy, RMC Consultants, Inc.

Groundwater is intimately connected to surface water, which has profound implications for sustainable water resource management. California has historically overlooked this important interaction and as a consequence, decisions about groundwater extractions have generally failed to address the resulting impacts to aquatic ecosystems such as rivers,…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Phylogeographic and population genetic structure of bighorn sheep in North American deserts

Buchalski, M.R, B.N. Sacks, D.A. Gille, M.C.T. Penedo, H.B. Ernest, S.A. Morrison, W.M. Boyce

Bighorn sheep occupy a desert landscape of rugged mountains separated by expansive and very arid valleys. Highways and other development in those valleys fragment habitat and isolate populations from one another. Critical to managing this species is understanding how it was distributed and how its…


Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Groundwater and Stream Interaction in California’s Central Valley: Insights for Sustainable Groundwater Management

The Nature Conservancy, RMC Consultants, Inc.

Groundwater is intimately connected to surface water, which has profound implications for sustainable water resource management. California has historically overlooked this important interaction and as a consequence, decisions about groundwater extractions have generally failed to address the resulting impacts to aquatic ecosystems such as rivers,…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

An irruption interrupted: eradication of wild turkeys from Santa Cruz Island, California

Morrison, S.A., A.J. DeNicola, K. Walker, D. Dewey, L. Laughrin, R. Wolstenholme, N. Macdonald

This paper describes a program to eradicate an introduced and rapidly increasing population of wild turkeys from an island. It includes a description of the principles important for eradication success and how they were considered and applied in this context. It also represents one of…


Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Climate Action Through Conservation Project

The Nature Conservancy and Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District

The Climate Action Through Conservation project provides a way for local governments, land managers, and planners to understand the links between climate benefits and conservation values and incorporate that knowledge into decisions about land use and land management. This report presents the result: a new…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Evidence for genetic pollution of a California native tree, Platanus racemosa, via recent, ongoing introgressive hybridization with an introduced ornamental species

Matthew G. Johnson, Kylene Lang, Paul Manos, Greg H. Golet, Kristina A. Schierenbeck

When non-native ornamental species spread into wild landscapes they can displace natives that have greater wildlife habitat value. Controlling the spread of a non-native species can be difficult when it hybridizes with a native species, because it may no longer be visually distinguishable. This study…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Response of medium- and large-sized terrestrial fauna to corridor restoration along the middle Sacramento River

Vasilissa V. Derugin, Joseph G. Silveira, Gregory H. Golet, Gretchen LeBuhn

In restoration ecology, understanding how and when species colonize newly created habitat is critically important for assessing progress toward restoration goals. By using camera traps to take a closer look, authors of this study found that riparian corridor restoration can support medium-and large-sized mammalian predators…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Historic and Recent Winter Sandhill Crane Distribution in California

Gary L. Ivey, Caroline P. Herziger, David A. Hardt, Gregory H. Golet

Understanding the geographic distribution and long-term dynamics of Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) foraging areas and night roost sites is fundamental to their conservation and management. The authors conducted surveys and compiled existing information on the distribution and abundance of these birds at these habitats across…


Terrestrial | Publications & Reports

The Unintended Ecological and Social Impacts of Food Safety Regulations in California's Central Coast Region

Daniel S. Karp, Patrick Baur, Edward R. Atwill, Kathryn De Master, Sasha Gennet, Alastair Iles, Joanna L. Nelson, Amber R. Sciligo, Claire Kremen

In 2006, an E. coli outbreak linked to spinach grown in California’s Central Coast region catalyzed reforms in vegetable production. Without evidence, wildlife was targeted as a disease vector and, under industry and governmnet pressure, growers fenced fields, applied wildlife traps and poison, and removed…



Freshwater | Marine | Publications & Reports

Assessing California’s bar-built estuaries using the California Rapid Assessment Method

Walter Heady, Ross P. Clark, Kevin O’Connor, Cara Clark, Charles Endris, Sierra Ryan, Sara Stoner-Duncan

Connecting marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, bar-built estuaries are complex and dynamic coastal confluences that provide a great diversity of habitat and ecosystem services. The wetland habitats of bar-built estuaries are threatened by development, pollution, and climate related changes including diminished streamflows and sea…


Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Conservation Planning for Offsetting the Impacts of Development: A Case Study of Biodiversity and Renewable Energy in the Mojave Desert

Jason Kreitler, Carrie A. Schloss, Oliver Soong, Lee Hannah, Frank W. Davis

In the past, mitigation to address impacts from development have lacked a regional planning perspective resulting in efficient design across a set of sites for a suite of impacts. This paper introduces a tool that uses spatial prioritization to identify optimized mitigation opportunities for solar…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Publications & Reports

The benefits of crops and field management practices to wintering waterbirds in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta of California

W. David Shuford , Matthew E. Reiter, Khara M. Strum, Michelle M. Gilbert , Catherine M. Hickey, Greg Golet

Although agricultural intensification is one of the largest contributors to the loss of global biodiversity, agricultural landscapes can provide valuable habitat for birds. Recognizing this, wildlife professionals are working to promote “wildlife-friendly” farming. In this paper, authors assessed the value to wintering waterbirds of different…


Freshwater | Planning | Maps & Webmaps

California’s Freshwater Conservation Blueprint map

Megan Webb, Kirk Klausmeyer, Jeanette Howard

The transformation of California into one of the most productive agricultural and urban landscapes in the world and a growing population have put unprecedented pressure on freshwater habitats, reducing them to a small fraction of their historic extent. Across the state, freshwater-dependent ecosystems have been…


Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

California Freshwater Blueprint: Phase I Overview

Jeanette K. Howard, Kirk R. Klausmeyer, Kurt A. Fesenmyer

California is one of the most productive agricultural and urban landscapes in the world with a growing population. These pressures have reduced aquatic and wetland habitats to a small fraction of their historic extent. Ecosystems dependent on freshwater have been degraded across the state, with…


Freshwater | Terrestrial | Technology | Publications & Reports

Abundance models improve spatial and temporal prioritization of conservation resources

Johnston, A., D. Fink, M. D. Reynolds, W. M. Hochachka, B. L. Sullivan, N. E. Bruns, E. Hallstein, M. S. Merrifield, S. Matsumoto, S. Kelling

Global declines in migratory species in response to accelerating habitat destruction and climate change challenge the scope and scale of conservation efforts. The ability to pinpoint where and when conservation interventions will have the greatest positive population impact is especially important for conservation of migratory…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Testing the effects of ant invasions on non-ant arthropods with high-resolution taxonomic data

Cause Hanna, Ida Naughton, Christina Boser, David Holway

Ecological invasions can shift species composition and even alter ecosystem function. Ant invasions generate a broad spectrum of ecological effects but there is controversy about the extent of these impacts, especially if and how other arthropods are affected. This uncertainly stems from the use of…


Marine | Science | Video

Science for Nature and People Partnership: Data-Limited Fisheries Working Group

The Nature Conservancy, Jono Wilson

There are thousands of fisheries around the globe that lack the infrastructure, capacity, resources and management techniques to perform conventional assessments and management. We know that fisheries that get measured—that have stock assessments performed—are typically better managed, including increased regulation and enforcement. Conversely, when fisheries…


Terrestrial | Publications & Reports

Comanaging fresh produce for nature conservation and food safety

Daniel S. Karp, Sasha Gennet , Christopher Kilonzo, Melissa Partyka, Nicolas Chaumont, Edward R. Atwill, Claire Kremen

In 2006, a high profile outbreak of E. coli in spinach was traced to California’s Central Coast. After that outbreak, produce growers were pressured to minimize potential presence of wild animals by removing surrounding natural vegetation that provides habitat, among other practices. This study shows…


Terrestrial | Publications & Reports

Carbon Implications of Fuel Reduction and Ecological Restoration Treatments in Sierra Nevada Forests

Derek Young

A century of fire suppression has dramatically altered the structure and composition of western U.S. forests. When dense, fire-suppressed forests experience wildfire, they often burn severely. To reduce the risk of these wildfires and reduce carbon release to the atmosphere, both critical for climate change…


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…


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…


Freshwater | Marine | Publications & Reports

Aligning Natural Resource Conservation and Flood Hazard Mitigation in California

Juliano Calil, Michael W. Beck, Mary Gleason, Matthew Merrifield, Kirk Klausmeyer, Sarah Newkirk

The U.S. National Flood Insurance Program has paid out more than $38 billion in claims since its inception in 1968, more than a third of which has gone to the 1% of policies that experienced multiple, repetitive losses. During the same period, the loss of…


Freshwater | Planning | Data

California Freshwater Species Database v2

Jeanette Howard, Kirk Klausmeyer, Kurt Fesenmyer

The California Freshwater Species Database is the first comprehensive geospatial database of California’s freshwater species compiled and standardized into single format from nearly 500 sources. It provides a single source for geodata covering the plants and animals that rely on California’s freshwater resources to survive.…


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…


Freshwater | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Patterns of Freshwater Species Richness, Endemism, and Vulnerability in California

Jeanette K. Howard, Kirk R. Klausmeyer, Kurt A. Fesenmyer, Joseph Furnish, Thomas Gardali, Ted Grantham, Jacob V. E. Katz, Sarah Kupferberg, Patrick McIntyre, Peter B. Moyle, Peter R. Ode, Ryan Peek, Rebecca M. Quiñones, Andrew C. Rehn, Nick Santos, Steve Schoenig, Larry Serpa, Jackson D. Shedd, Joe Slusark, Joshua H. Viers, Amber Wright, Scott A. Morrison

The California Freshwater Species Database is the first comprehensive geospatial database of California’s freshwater species compiled and standardized into single format from nearly 500 sources. It provides a single source for geodata covering the plants and animals that rely on California’s freshwater resources to…


Freshwater | Marine | Publications & Reports

Climate mediates hypoxic stress on fish diversity and nursery function at the land–sea interface

Brent B. Hughes, Matthew D. Levey, Monique C. Fountain, Aaron B. Carlisle, Francisco P. Chavez, Mary G. Gleason

This comprehensive study of a major California estuary documents the links between nutrient runoff from coastal land use, the health of the estuary as a nursery for young fish, and the abundance of fish in an offshore commercial fishery. The researchers assembled long-term data sets…


Terrestrial | Publications & Reports

High Time for Conservation: Adding the Environment to the Debate on Marijuana Liberalization

Jennifer K. Carah, Jeanette K. Howard, Sally E. Thompson, Anne G. Short Gianotti, Scott D. Bauer, Stephanie M. Carlson, David N. Dralle, Mourad W. Gabriel, Lisa L. Hulette, Brian J. Johnson, Curtis A. Knight, Sarah J. Kupferberg, Stefanie L. Martin, Rosamond L. Naylor, Mary E. Power

Marijuana cultivation can have significant negative collateral effects on the environment that are often unknown or overlooked. This study focuses on California, where by some estimates, 60–70% of the marijuana consumed in the United States is grown. The study adds the environment to the debate…




Terrestrial | Planning | Economics | Science | Publications & Reports

Integrating Land Conservation and Renewable Energy Goals in California: A Study of Costs and Impacts Using the Optimal Renewable Energy Build-Out (ORB) Model

The Nature Conservancy: Erica Brand, Laura Crane, Dick Cameron, Energy and Environmental Economics: Grace C. Wu, Nick Schlag

Integrating ecological data into long-term energy planning is critical to meet both California’s long term energy and conservation goals. This report assesses the potential trade-offs associated with renewable energy build-out by evaluating the land and water use implications and cost of a range of potential…


Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Case studies of conservation plans that incorporate geodiversity

M.G. Anderson, P.J. Comer, P. Beier, J.J. Lawler, C.A. Schloss, S. Buttrick, C. M. Albano, D. P. Faith

Incorporating geodiversity into conservation plans to ensure conservation actions are more resilient to climate change is appealing because it addresses the threat of climate change while avoiding the uncertainties associated with climate model projections. However, there are no standards for how to do so. This…


Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Incorporating geodiversity into conservation decisions

Patrick J. Comer, Robert L. Pressey, Malcolm L. Hunter Jr., Carrie A. Schloss, Steven C. Buttrick, Nicole E. Heller, John M. Tirpak, Daniel P. Faith, Molly S. Cross, Mark L. Shaffer

The protection of biodiversity in a changing climate is a key challenge for conservation planners. Conserving a diversity of geophysical settings makes species and systems more resilient to climate change by providing a diversity of niche options that enable species to adapt to changing conditions.…



Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Land-use impacts on water resources and protected areas: applications of state-and-transition simulation modeling of future scenarios

Tamara S. Wilson, Jason Sherba, Dick Cameron, Benjamin M Sleeter

Human land use will increasingly contribute to habitat loss and water shortages in California, given future population projections and associated land-use demand. Understanding how land-use change may impact future water use and where existing protected areas may be threatened by land-use conversion will be important…


Terrestrial | Planning | Publications & Reports

Monitoring the Impact of Grazing on Rangeland Conservation Easements Using MODIS Vegetation Indices

Miriam Tsalyuk, Maggi Kelly, Kevin Koy, Wayne M. Getz, H. Scott Butterfield

Monitoring the effects of grazing on rangelands is crucial for ensuring sustainable rangeland ecosystem function and maintaining conservation values. Residual dry matter (RDM), the dry grass biomass left on the ground at the end of the grazing season, is a commonly used proxy for rangeland condition…


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Islands within an island: Repeated adaptive divergence in a single population

Langin, K.M., T.S. Sillett , W.C. Funk, S.A. Morrison, M.A. Desrosiers, C.K. Ghalambor

Islands are renowned laboratories for discovery into natural selection. This study looked at “islands” of habitat within a single island and remarkably found that the Island Scrub-Jay – notably, a highly vagile species – had different shaped bills depending on whether it occurred in pine…


Freshwater | Data

Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems in California data

Jeanette Howard, Matt Merrifield

The California Freshwater Species Database is the first comprehensive geospatial database of California’s freshwater species compiled and standardized into single format from nearly 500 sources. It provides a single source for geodata covering the plants and animals that rely on California’s freshwater resources to survive.


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Mitochondrial genomes suggest rapid evolution of dwarf California Channel Islands foxes (Urocyon littoralis)

Hofman, C.A., T. C. Rick, M. T. R. Hawkins, W. C. Funk, K. Ralls, C. L. Boser, P. W. Collins, T. J. Coonan, J. L. King, S.A. Morrison, S. D. Newsome, T. S. Sillett, R. C. Fleischer, J. E. Maldonado

Genomics techniques provide powerful means of understanding evolutionary history. This paper examines the evolution of the island fox, which occurs on six of the California Channel Islands. Insights from the research include the role humans played in the evolution of the species, and the remarkably…


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

Recommendations for improving recovery criteria under the US Endangered Species Act

Doak, D.F., G.K. Himes Boor, V.J. Bakker, W.F. Morris, A. Louthan, S.A. Morrison, A. Stanley, L. Crowder

One of the key components of a recovery plan for a threatened or endangered species in the United States is the set of recovery criteria that will be used to evaluate progress in abating the threats to the species and reducing its risk of extinction.…


Terrestrial | Maps & Webmaps

Conservation Legacy in Marin County, California

Katie Andrews, Megan Webb, Robin Cox

This interactive webmap takes a multimedia approach to showcase the Conservancy’s conservation legacy in Marin County, California. Eleven achievements are profiled with photographs and summaries that provide a “then and now” perspective. 


Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Floral visitation by the Argentine ant reduces bee visitation and plant seed set

Cause Hanna, Ida Naughton, Christina Boser, Ruben Alarcón, Keng-Lou, James Hung, David Holway

Floral visitation by ants can compromise plant reproduction in situations where ants interfere with more effective pollinators. This paper documents how Argentine ants on Santa Cruz Island in California interfere with pollination services provided by native invertebrates, leading to negative impacts for native plants. The…