The Open Space Council Blog


Putting local conservation into the regional context

November 20, 2019

After three years of work with over 100 volunteer experts from around the 10-county Bay Area, we are thrilled to announce the launch of Conservation Lands Network 2.0.

Jump right in and check it out! And if you only have 5 minutes, be sure to see the Explorer tool.

This regional conservation strategy makes the bold call to conserve 2.5 million priority acres by 2050. That’s half of the Bay Area and consistent with E.O. Wilson’s Half Earth goal.

Want to know more?

Inspired by David Letterman, we proudly present the top 10 things we think you should know about CLN 2.0:

1. There is so much to care about here! 
The Bay Area is a global biodiversity hotspot, and most of the Bay Area’s biodiversity is still here living alongside our seven million human residents. The CLN was developed to help keep rare species from going extinct while keeping common species common. The CLN 2.0 Report is full of information about the Bay Area’s many species and habitats and the strategy to conserve enough land to support them.

Read the report.

2. Conserving half the Bay Area by 2050 is necessary and do-able. 
Our experts and the California 4th Climate Assessment tell us that now is the time to prepare for major impacts from climate change, which are projected to significantly increase around mid-century. Now is the time to conserve a network of lands that life in the Bay Area can depend on. Trends in conservation and regional land use policy show that, with a concerted effort, we can collectively achieve conservation of 2.5M acres by 2050. The greatest opportunities exist in Sonoma, Santa Clara, and Napa. Check out those numbers in the:

CLN 2.0 Progress Dashboard (which is mobile friendly!)

3. Regional conservation is driven by local experts.
The CLN provides the scientific strategy and geographic data to support the conservation goal. The most important ingredient is involvement and input from local experts. CLN 2.0 is based on ground-level habitat and species priorities set by local experts and then it is scaled to the region.

Check out the methodology in Chapter 3 of the CLN 2.0 Report.

4. Regional conservation needs to be integrated with other sectors.
Although geared toward the region’s land and natural resource conservation organizations and agencies, CLN 2.0 supports land use and transportation planning sectors too. The availability of the CLN fills needs of other regional programs, such as ABAG’s transportation-oriented Priority Conservation Areas program, where the CLN is a criterion for funding. And the CLN is the principal component of the biodiversity benefits in the Bay Area Greenprint.

5. The data are freely accessible to everyone.  
There are several ways to access the data, regardless of proficiency with GIS. The primary way is to use the CLN 2.0 Explorer to view data and create customized reports (called Conservation Portfolio Reports) for your area of interest. You just need to know how to work an Internet browser! The GIS folks out there will certainly want to check out the 2.2Gb of conservation data we’ve compiled for you. (that’s a whole lotta data)

GIS Data for the GIS data loving people out there.

6. Learn about the status of biodiversity, AND what we can do.
The project to update the CLN, called the CLN 2.0 Science Expansion, offered the chance to take a temperature reading of the Bay Area’s biodiversity and the efforts to understand and track their status. CLN 2.0 experts created recommended conservation actions that go beyond acquisition of land and easements. Read about species and conservation actions in chapters 4-9 in the CLN 2.0 Report.

7. The Network of lands is updated and enhanced.
All the underlying data that lead to the CLN (habitat, species occurrences, roads, urban, cultivation, protected areas, and many more) have been updated and two key enhancements deployed: Stream valleys are fully incorporated into the Network, as are ‘connectors’, lands that ensure the overall connectivity of the Network. Check it out on the:

Explorer tool (which is mobile friendly!)

8. Updated and enhanced reporting tool.
We’ve added seven conservation co-benefits (water supply, agriculture, hazard risk reduction, and more) to the new Conservation Portfolio Reports. You’ll also see new information on landscape resilience. Check out pages 6-7 in this Sample Report. Or go to the CLN 2.0 Explorer to create your own!

9. Save time and eliminate headaches.
The CLN 2.0 Explorer and Conservation Portfolio Reports offer several time-saving elements. Check out the “Where You Clicked” box (just click anywhere on the Explorer map) for basic location information such as watersheds and state government districts. Create a Conservation Portfolio Report to get acreages of prime agricultural land, slope classes, lat/long coordinates, and elevation ranges in your area of interest. We think project managers, development and government affairs staff, and GIS folks alike will appreciate these canned calculations. And if you want to share a map view with your favorite layers, just copy the link in the address bar and send to your colleagues — they’ll see what you see.

10. We know a lot, but there are still things we don’t know. 
The CLN 2.0 experts identified several data gaps for the different species groups. Check those out at the end of chapters 4-9 in the CLN 2.0 Report. We also heard several important high-level regional data gaps. Top among the regional gaps are:

11. Made possible by…
Okay, so this is more than 10, but we can’t not acknowledge the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and California Coastal Conservancy for their ongoing support of the CLN. Thank you!


So… what’s next? 

Get into the CLN with the report or Explorer or GIS data. Right now, this very minute, you can use the CLN to get information about your area of interest!

We love feedback! Let us know how it these data help you and if there are things we should change to make it work even better for you. In the Explorer and Conservation Portfolio, click the red Feedback button on the right of the Explorer map window.

Stay tuned for opportunities to attend online and in-person workshops. Click here to join the CLN e-list.

Finally, want to know who to contact? The one and only Tom Robinson is the answer and his email is [email protected].