We're celebrating 54 years of conservation science...and still counting!
Thanks to the visionary founders of Point Reyes Bird Observatory in 1965, we are now able to address the significant challenges of our time. We are leaders in developing climate-smart conservation science approaches to address severe drought, rising and more acidic seas, increasingly extreme weather events, and accelerating habitat degradation and loss. We are spearheading nature-based solutions to these and other threats to wildlife and our communities.
From writing the book on bird monitoring and using birds as indicators of ecosystem health, to protecting birds, sharks, whales and ocean food webs, pioneering climate-smart habitat restoration, and innovating on-line conservation tools, Point Blue has been at the forefront of protecting nature for half a century. In 2017, we were honored to be recognized as an official Observer Organization to the UN’s global body addressing climate change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Our 160 scientists are experts in field biology, data management, climate change, and more. We record observations of the natural world using rigorous, standardized protocols. We then use these observations to deepen our community’s understanding of nature to improve conservation outcomes.
Together, we have published more than 2,000 technical reports and peer reviewed scientific articles. We use these findings to address real-world challenges, working hand-in-hand with land, ocean and wildlife managers to improve conservation outcomes.
Together, we have trained generations of conservation scientists, including many leadership staff at Point Blue! The vast majority of the 1500 interns we have graduated work with public and private natural resource managers, regionally, nationally and internationally.
Together, we have advanced our common mission of conserving birds, other wildlife and ecosystems, building on our core strengths of scientific rigor, collaboration, innovation, excellence and integrity.
In the past 20 years alone, some of our accomplishments include:
- Leveraging almost $100 million in agricultural land conservation on roughly 2 million acres of forests, meadows, rangelands and croplands, for water, birds, other wildlife, carbon sequestration and people. We engaged over 1000 ranchers and farmers, dozens of public agencies (including the Natural Resources Conservation Service and US Forest Service), land trusts and other NGOs, as well as over 50,000 students and teachers.
- Helping more than 70 city, county, regional, state, and federal agencies across 95% of the urbanized coast of California to plan for climate change through the Our Coast Our Future online planning tool.
- Playing a leadership science role in securing the world’s largest Marine Protected Area at the Ross Sea, Antarctica.
- Engaging scores of partners and over 1,200 volunteers across 12 countries across the Americas to advance climate-smart conservation for migratory shorebirds and coastal communities.
- Helping ensure the protection of over 800,000 acres of post-fire forest for birds and other wildlife.
- Expanding our renowned conservation science training programs, with a total of 1900 interns graduated and more than 100 graduate students who’ve helped to unlock our vast stores of ecological data.
Read more of our recent accomplishments in our Science for a Blue Planet blog post.
Over the decades ahead, with your continued support, Point Blue will:
- Assess, guide and improve climate-smart conservation;
- Maximize the use of long-term ecological data for problem solving worldwide;
- Advance the application of conservation science to protect nature’s benefits for wildlife and people; and,
- Train new generations of climate-smart conservation leaders.
Remembering Rich Stallcup
1944 - 2012
Rich Stallcup was an extraordinary naturalist and teacher who touched the lives of countless people. He played a pivotal role in the rise of birding as a national pastime—especially the love of birds as a motive for conservation. Rich was one of the founding biologists of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory in the 1960s – the organization that has now grown to become Point Blue Conservation Science; inspired thousands of people to dedicate their lives to conservation; participated in some of the landmark battles to save wild places in California; and was a source of endless wisdom about the living world. Although we lost a great friend when Rich passed away, in December 2012, Point Blue will forever carry on his legacy of devotion to conserving “all things wild.”
Our Strategic Approach
We are at a pivotal moment in the history of life on our planet. Unprecedented actions are needed to ensure that wildlife and people continue to thrive in the decades to come. As society transitions to clean energy and more efficient energy and water use, we must ensure that conservation of nature is an equal priority. Point Blue’s five-year strategic goal is to collaboratively implement “climate-smart” conservation.
5-Year Strategic Goal
We will implement climate-smart conservation from the Sierra to the sea, and the lessons we learn will be disseminated globally. Point Blue’s priority areas of focus are the Sierra Nevada, California’s Central Valley, Pacific Coast, San Francisco Bay Estuary, California Current (including greater Gulf of the Farallones), Ross Sea (Antarctica), and the Internet.
Climate-Smart Conservation Initiatives 2014-2019
To make progress toward our vision and achieve our goal, we are engaging in 6 major initiatives. Below are brief descriptions of each initiative and a sampling of what we hope to achieve by 2019.
Secure Water and Wildlife on Working Lands
Point Blue works with farmers, ranchers, foresters, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the US Forest Service and others to increase groundwater storage; gradually filter and release water downstream; increase soil carbon storage; sustain birds and other wildlife; and make working lands more economically productive. We will achieve this by advancing wildlife-friendly grazing, farming and forestry practices, and developing metrics to document, improve and replicate our successes.
By 2019, we will:
- “Re-water” 1.1 million acres of rangelands in Central Valley and coastal foothills, equal to at least 2 Hetch Hetchy reservoirs every 5 years, and 45 landowners promoting an Aldo Leopold-like land ethic.
- Secure significantly more wildlife use and water use efficiency on 100,000 acres of rice and other crops, working in collaboration with 100 new farmers.
- Improve management of 100,000 acres of burned Sierra habitat resulting in a 25% increase in focal bird species, increased water quality and yield, and more fire and drought-resilient plants.
- Engage 25 farmers and ranchers in ground-breaking habitat markets, securing additional conservation dollars for sustainable wildlife-compatible agriculture.
Protect Our Shorelines
We are identifying and prioritizing the best places and practices to protect coastal wetlands, streams, dunes and beaches in the face of more severe storms and rising seas. We are collaboratively guiding nature-based solutions that provide “green infrastructure” for wildlife and our communities.
By 2019, we will:
- Expand collaborations in at least 10 countries along the Americas’ Pacific coast advancing climate-smart conservation for migratory waterbirds and their habitats.
- Rank California’s coastal habitats for protection in the face of accelerating change through sophisticated decision support tools, designed and implemented with resource managers.
- Prioritize, guide and monitor SF Bay wetland restoration and acquisition to sustain bird, fish and other wildlife populations, and provide flood protection for human infrastructure.
Conserve Ocean Food Webs
Point Blue is identifying and prioritizing ocean food webs for protection to give marine wildlife and fisheries more opportunities to adapt to rapid environmental change. Collaborating with public agencies, NGOs, universities, fishing and shipping industries, and others, we monitor ocean ecosystem health, develop and assess new approaches to management, prioritize stronger protections as needed, and help to reduce conflicts between wildlife needs and human uses of the marine environment (e.g., clean energy, shipping, and fishing).
By 2019, we will:
- Forecast future climate change impacts on marine wildlife and food web hot spots in the California Current marine ecosystem (off the west coast from British Columbia to Baja California).
- Provide the scientific basis and guidance for new ocean zones using Point Blue’s and others’ ecosystem monitoring results to improve marine conservation in National Marine Sanctuaries and the Ross Sea, Antarctica,
- Reduce human impacts on whales, seals, sea lions, seabirds and other wildlife through policy recommendations and outreach.
Working with local communities and scores of public and private partners, we are developing innovative approaches to help ecosystems and people adapt to accelerating climate and land-use changes. We are designing habitats to better sustain nature’s benefits into the future.
By 2019 we will:
- Restore 2,500 acres of Sierra wet meadow through climate-smart restoration demonstration projects with 25% more bird species, 50% less downstream sedimentation, and double the carbon sequestration and forage production.
- Restore eight miles of SF Bay Area riparian habitat, engaging students and local communities, by employing climate-smart restoration designs of plant species mixes that withstand greater extremes and that produce food throughout the year as wildlife life cycle timing changes.
- Deploy new artificial Cassin’s auklet nest boxes for cooler temperatures inside as extreme heat days increase at the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge.
Informatics for Climate-Smart Conservation
With over one billion ecological observations in our care, we are partnering with natural resource management agencies (federal to local), NGOs and local governments to advance climate-smart management using Point Blue tools and analytics.
Priority Outcome: Federal natural resource management agencies, including all US Fish and Wildlife Refuges (USFWS) across the continental US (~18M acres), will use Point Blue informatics tools to collect ecological observations; 1/3rd of USFWS refuges will use our analytics to conduct climatesmart adaptive management.
Train The Next Generation
Point Blue is providing hands-on training for future scientists and educators, equipping them with tools to protect nature’s benefits and help secure life as we know it.
By 2019, we will:
- Graduate 200 scientists-in-training on projects from the Sierra to the sea.
- Collaborate with 80 graduate students and postdocs, with at least half pursuing careers in conservation science.
- Train 3,000 students and 360 teachers in the SF Bay region, augmenting school curricula and better preparing them for a future of change.