We use science and partnerships to make sure California’s agricultural lands are providing as much benefit as possible to the communities and wildlife that depend on them.

Farms and ranches make up almost half of the land area of California. In addition to providing food to sustain human communities and economies, these landscapes also contribute to ecosystem services such as water quality and availability, biodiversity conservation, and nutrient cycling. Working with partners to understand and manage agricultural systems to provide multiple benefits for humans and for wildlife is an essential part of our climate-smart strategy.


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Geoffrey Geupel

Email: ggeupel@pointblue.org

Emerging Programs and Partnerships Group Director

Rangeland Watershed Initiative

Point Blue’s Rangeland Watershed Initiative works with local communities across California to enhance conservation on food-producing lands.

Our team of biologists work hand-in-hand with Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) conservationists and ranchers to implement practices that benefit soil, water, air, plants, and animals.

Healthy Habitat Handouts

Our Partner Biologists created these simple tools for land owners and managers to measure the health of their land using birds. We welcome you to freely download, laminate, and use these on your land:

Oak Woodlands

Riparian

Mountain Meadows

Grasslands

Rangeland Resources

Point Blue offers a range of resources to support and guide management of healthy ecosystems on working lands. Explore the links below or get in touch with any of our Partner Biologists or working lands staff for more information.

Grazing Resource Portal

Rangeland Watershed Initiative Handbook

Explore More Tools


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Elizabeth Porzig, Ph.D.

Email: eporzig@pointblue.org

Working Lands Director

Rangeland Monitoring Network

Point Blue’s Rangeland Monitoring Network seeks to preserve the ecological value of rangelands and recommend conservation actions that enhance their function for people and wildlife. We do this by providing standardized yet flexible ways to capture key components of ecological function and offer landowners data they can use to make management decisions.

Since the inception of the Network in 2014, our biologists have collected information on birds, plants, and soils from over 500 unique locations on 100 ranches across the state. We use this information to help inform on-ranch adaptive management and also to contribute to science at scale.

The Network is open to participation by anyone managing or working on rangelands. Many of the sites we are monitoring are working rangelands where conservation practices are being implemented by private landowners/managers through the NRCS Conservation Planning process as part of our Rangeland Watershed Initiative. Explore our protocols and what we’re finding in the links below.

Protocols and Forms

The Rangeland Monitoring Network protocols for data collection can be found in the Rangeland Monitoring Network Handbook. Data collected through the Network is entered and stored in the California Avian Data Center (CADC).

Rangeland Monitoring Handbook

Soil Data Form

Vegetation Data Form

Bird Data Form

CADC

Water Infiltration & Soil

We're testing different methods that ranchers and farmers can use to measure the health of their land. In one study, we found that a simple water infiltration test can be a useful yet imprecise way to approximate other soil properties, such as soil organic carbon content.

Read the Paper

Soil Carbon

We’re assessing soil carbon stocks across our network to better understand soil health and climate change mitigation potential of California rangelands. In this paper, we show considerable variability in SOC stocks across the state, with much of that variability unexplained by climate, topography, vegetation, and soil characteristics. This unexplained variability could be due to differences in past and current land use, and indicates that there is potential to rebuild SOC through management.

Read the Paper

Partners

Some of our key partners include the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), TomKat Ranch Education Foundation, and several private landowners throughout north-central California. Information we collect on private lands is protected and private.

NRCS

TomKat Ranch


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Chelsea Carey, Ph.D.

Email: ccarey@pointblue.org

Working Lands Research Director & Principal Soil Ecologist

TomKat Ranch

Point Blue, TomKat Ranch, and the TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation are creating regeneratively managed land that:

  • produces healthy food;
  • restores nature’s benefits, like soil carbon storage; and
  • provides social and economic well-being for agricultural communities and urban residents.

Since 2010, Point Blue has served as the on-site science partner at TomKat Ranch, helping to inform management and measure the benefits of regenerative practices. Below are just some of the products and publications we have generated with support from, and in partnership with, TomKat Ranch.

Advancing Soil Health Science

We work in partnership with scientists across the globe to advance soil health science and management on working lands. Recent projects have helped to evaluate accepted methods for quantifying soil carbon, convey the scientific consensus supporting the need to rebuild soil carbon through stewardship, and summarize evidence for rangeland management practices to influence soil health-related properties.

Quantifying Soil Carbon

Soil Carbon Science for Policy and Practice

Rangeland Management and Healthy Soils

Managing for Perennial Grass

Restoring native perennial grasses by changing grazing practices in Central Coastal California is one way we're working to improve ecosystem health at TomKat Ranch and beyond.

Read More

Communicating with Illustrated Guides

In order to help ranchers and other land stewards better understand the plant and soil communities that support our rangelands, we produced two guides that are brought to life with beautiful artwork from Point Blue Rangeland Ecologist Mel Preston.

Guide to the Pasture Plants of Coastal San Mateo County

Guide to Life Belowground on the Range

Wildlife Checklist

Explore the common species of coastal San Mateo County working lands. Developed in partnerhsip with TomKat Ranch, "Common Species of the Working Lands of Coastal San Mateo County" lists over 200 of the region's birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, and dragonflies with information on habitat, status, season, and abundance.

Download Yours


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Catherine Hickey

Email: chickey@pointblue.org

Conservation Director, Pacific Coast and Central Valley Group

Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership

Even though California continues to be a haven for migratory birds, the state has seen a steep decline in habitat over the past 150 years. Less than 10% of the state’s original wetland habitat remains today, and the threat of losing more habitat persists.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership is a collaboration among Audubon California, The Nature Conservancy, and Point Blue Conservation Science with the primary goal to protect the wetlands and agricultural lands that support migratory bird populations in California.

Learn more about this partnership by visiting the Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership website.

Wildlife-Friendly Working Lands

We're working to ensure that 100,000 acres of agricultural land in California are under enhanced management for migratory wetland birds annually, providing multiple benefits, such as habitat and groundwater recharge. Additionally, we're working to protect 5,000 of these acres under long-term management contracts (10 or more years) or easements by 2020.

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Building Multibenefit Recharge Basins

Reliable Water for Wetlands

We're working to get full, reliable, and properly timed water deliveries to Central Valley wetlands to support habitat management for a broad suite of species. We aim to launch four pilot projects with important refuges, water districts, or private wetland managers that explore innovative approaches to improve water supply or use by 2020. And our new Water Tracker site provides up-to-date and accurate data on surface water in the California's Central Valley so water and wetland managers can make better decisions about water management that benefit wildlife and people.

Explore Water Tracker

Large-Scale Public Policy Impact

We're working to influence major policy initiatives that will be implemented over the next 50 years to protect, enhance, or restore 50,000 wetland habitat acres and 150,000 riparian habitat acres.

Learn More


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Marian Vernon

Email: mvernon@pointblue.org

Sierra Meadow Adaptation Leader

Land Trust Partnerships

Land trusts are a key partner to advance climate-smart conservation on private lands throughout California. We partner with land trusts to identify and pilot climate-smart conservation tools, approaches, and strategies to ensure that existing and future protected lands are resilient to climate change.

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