Point Blue Conservation Science: Climate Smart Conservation Strategic Plan Summary 2014-2019


Point Blue: Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Point Blue’s 140 scientists advance nature-based solutions to climate change, habitat loss and other environmental threats for wildlife and people, through science, partnerships and outreach.


At the core of
our work is ecosystem science, studying birds and other environmental indicators to protect wildlife and nature’s benefits on land and at sea. We manage and interpret over half a billion ecological observations from across North America, including Point Blue’s invaluable long term bird ecology data, to understand natural and human-caused change over time. We develop sophisticated decision support tools to improve conservation today and in the future.



We advance nature’s health through ext
ensive collaborations with government agencies, private land owners, researchers and others; we are active science leaders in major regional, national, and international partnerships; and we are leaders in community-based restoration and conservation, helping ecosystems and people adapt to the changes ahead.


Outreach: We bring the science needed by public and private wildlife and habitat managers to improve conservation outcomes for ecological and economic benefits. We educate school children and train budding ecologists, inspiring the next-generation of conservation leaders.



As leaders and innovators in conservation science, Point Blue has the vision, the scientific rigor, the passion and the people to guide and inspire positive conservation outcomes today for a healthy, blue planet teeming with life in the future.



Unprecedented Change Calls for Unprecedented Action

We are at a pivotal moment in the history of life on our planet. Earth’s human population surpassed 7 billion, conversion of habitat for agricultural and urban uses reached ~43% of Earth’s land surface, and atmospheric carbon dioxide exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time in human existence. Arctic summer ice was at its lowest extent and volume ever recorded, with 50% loss of sea ice extent in the past 20 years alone, and extreme heat waves, drought and storms continued to break records across North America. California, Point Blue’s home base, experienced the driest January- June and some of the largest wildfires on record in 2013.


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. To this end, Point Blue’s five-year strategic goal is to collaboratively implement “climate-smart” conservation.


Climate-smart conservation directly addresses climate change along with other environmental threats such a habitat loss and pollution while promoting nature-based solutions to benefit wildlife and people.
Climate-smart conservation

  • sustains vibrant, diverse ecosystems;
  • enhances the benefits nature provides to humans (ecosystem services) including clean air, fresh water, fisheries, pollination, carbon sequestration, climate and flood control, recreational opportunities and spiritual enjoyment;
  • improves the ability of nature and humans to adjust to change (adaptation); and,
  • reduces greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) whenever possible.



Read more about climate-smart conservation principles at:


Using the best available science, we are helping to ensure that public and private natural resource management plans, policies and actions maximize nature’s benefits for wildlife as well as our communities in the face of accelerating environmental change.


  • Point Blue’s Vision: Because of the collaborative climate-smart conservation work we do today, healthy ecosystems will continue to sustain thriving wildlife and human communities well into the future.
  • Point Blue’s Five-year goal: we will collaboratively implement climate-smart conservation from the Sierra to the sea, and the lessons we learn will be disseminated globally.



Point Blue’s 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.



1. 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.




2. 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.




3. 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.



4. Climate-Smart Restoration

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 200% more 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.



5. Make Natural Resource Plans and Policies Climate-Smart

As leaders in major conservation collaborations and pioneers in climate-smart conservation, we are helping public and private natural resource management entities, from local municipalities to international commissions, to incorporate climate-smart principles into their ocean and land-use plans and policies, and to put climate-smart conservation into action. By 2019, we will:

  • Incorporate climate-smart conservation into 20 natural resource management plans.
  • Ensure that funding allocations, planning processes and decision making are being prioritized according to climate-smart conservation approaches by a majority of our partnerships and agency partners (local, state and federal).


6. 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 post-docs, 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.



For more information, visit www.pointblue.org or call 707.781.2555, ext. 324



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *