The Conservation Science Program of the Conservancy's California Chapter ensures that the Chapter's initiatives have robust scientific foundations to achieve the greatest possible outcomes for conservation in California and beyond.

Recent Reports

Report: Pajaro Compass (June 2016 )

In 2015-2016, The Nature Conservancy led a diverse group of over 50 stakeholders representing conservation, agriculture, transportation, government and community interests with the goal of creating a common conservation vision for the Pajaro River watershed in central California. The result of that work, Pajaro Compass, supports a committed group of partners who champion the many values of the Pajaro River watershed for people and nature and, through coordinated action, ensure that agricultural and open space lands support these values in balance with new opportunities. The Pajaro Compass network, report, and map tools provide a dynamic gateway for landowners and managers, public agencies, conservation organizations, funders, and elected officials to learn, connect, and engage in efforts to maintain a healthy and productive Pajaro River watershed.

Report: Marine and Coastal Impacts of Ocean Desalination in California (May 2016)

California’s drought has 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. The Conservancy collaborated with Stanford University’s Water in the West program and the Monterey Bay Aquarium to host an Uncommon Dialogue among experts in the science, technology, and policy related to coastal and marine impacts, siting considerations, and desalination’s role in California’s water supply. Published in May 2016, Marine and Coastal Impacts of Ocean Desalination in California is a synthesis of that dialogue. Findings include: 1. Although desalination may prove critically important to specific coastal communities, it is unlikely to significantly alter the basic water budget in California due to its high cost, energy demands, impacts to nature, and availability of other water sources; and 2. There is a clear call for “Desalination Done Right”– an integrated approach in which industry, regulators and the public are guided by a spatial framework. The approach ensures that desalination facilities are sited to avoid environmental impacts, appropriately sized and demand-driven, use subsurface intakes, and are powered by renewable power and would drive a vision for ocean desalination in California.

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The New Yorker: Scientist Scott Butterfield introduces reporter to the giant kangaroo rat (Oct 08, 2015)

"Although I fear and despise nearly all rodents, I was smitten with this one. I longed to see a live one, bounding on across its native land." - Ryan Bradley, The New Yorker

California’s Freshwater Blueprint (Jun 16, 2015)

New map highlights key freshwater species and areas of high conservation value based on where these species occur.

New science publications by staff (May 16, 2015)

Check out our scientists' new publications over the past 6 months

Hope Runs Deep: Conservation Solutions for Salmon in Shasta Valley (Oct 28, 2014)

New interactive Story Map illustrates conservation solutions that are working for nature and people

New Publications: July - September 2014 (Oct 28, 2014)

Check out our scientists' recent publications covering remote sensing, salmon stream restoration, grasslands conversion, climate change impacts on ecosystems, and more.