The CLN Science Expansion process is updating and expanding the science behind the Conservation Lands Network. Our goal is to keep biodiversity protection and its multiple co-benefits – clean drinking water, clean air, flood protection – a priority for the region’s planning efforts, funding, and legislation. We are working with local and regional conservation practitioners and scientists to refresh the CLN’s underlying environmental data and incorporate new data and meaningful metrics that will help local conservation organizations describe the many public benefits of their work. We will publish and disseminate our findings in actionable ways. The Science Expansion process aims to be inclusive and transparent. Funding has been provided by the Coastal Conservancy and Moore Foundation.


Who Is Involved

The Steering Committee is comprised of conservation experts from across the 10 counties of the greater Bay Area.


  • Dick Cameron, Director of Science, Land Program, The Nature Conservancy
  • Tosha Comendant, Senior Scientist, CBI/UC Berkeley
  • Wendy Eliot, Conservation Director, Sonoma Land Trust
  • Sharon Farrell, Vice President, Stewardship and Conservation, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
  • Abigail Fateman, Executive Director, East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy
  • Darren Fong, Aquatic Ecologist, NPS – Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  • Keenan Foster, Principal Environmental Specialist, Sonoma County Water Agency
  • Matt Freeman, Assistant General Manager, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
  • Karen Gaffney, Conservation Planning Manager, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District
  • Matt Gerhart, Bay Area Program Manager, State Coastal Conservancy
  • Dan Gluesenkamp, Executive Director, California Native Plant Society
  • Robin Grossinger, Director, Resilient Landscapes Program, San Francisco Estuary Institute
  • Sandra Hamlat, Senior Planner, East Bay Regional Park District
  • Nicole Heller, Director Conservation Science, Peninsula Open Space Trust
  • Casey Hiatt, GIS Administrator, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
  • Brian Holt, Acting Chief of Planning/GIS, East Bay Regional Park District
  • Bryan Largay, Conservation Director, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County
  • Kirk Lenington, Natural Resources Manager, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
  • Jared Lewis, Senior Ecologist/GIS Analyst, Solano Land Trust
  • Mischon Martin, Chief of Natural Resources & Science, Marin Open Space District
  • Lech Naumovich, Executive Director, Golden Hour Restoration Institute
  • Kellyx Nelsom, Executive Director, San Mateo Resource Conservation District
  • Paul Ringgold, Chief Program Officer, Save the Redwoods League
  • Don Rocha, Deputy Director, Santa Clara County Parks
  • Nancy Schaefer, Bay Area Program Manager, California Rangeland Trust
  • Carrie Schloss, Spatial Data Scientist, The Nature Conservancy
  • Cyndy Shafer, Natural Resource Program Manager, California State Parks
  • Crystal Simons, Conservation Easement Program Manager, Sonoma Land Trust
  • Edmund Sullivan, Executive Officer, Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency
  • Sam Veloz, Climate Adaptation Group Director, Point Blue Conservation Science


The purpose of these focus teams is to capture information on species that may not have been collected by the Conservation Lands Network’s coarse filter analysis. Focus team experts select fine filter conservation target species including plants, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, and abiotic elements such as unique soil types, streams, and ponds.

  • The focus teams are currently being developed.



Why Now?

There are compelling reasons we’re doing this now: In order to keep the CLN useful and measurable, it must be updated. The conservation community has protected over 130,000 acres of land since 2011, much of those meet habitat conservation goals set forth in the CLN. We need to measure that success and set new goals. There are new climate change, groundwater, and sustainable development policies and regional priorities with which we need to integrate. It is time to bring the region’s conservation planning professionals back together to share ideas, data, and the latest practices. The original process to develop the CLN had an invigorating effect on the region with several follow-on conservation planning projects by local agencies and organizations. We aim to have a similar effect with the Science Expansion by collectively raising the bar with respect to measuring and reporting the multiple co-benefits of biodiversity conservation. We’re doing this by:

  1. Aggregating and analyzing the best scientific data
  2. Involving the region’s leading biologists, ecologists, and practitioners in land conservation
  3. Developing and disseminating information in ways that the conservation community (practitioners, leaders, funders, land-use planners, policy-makers, elected officials, advocacy groups, scientists, journalists, and the general public) can understand and use

Get Involved

We are stronger together. Consider helping us strengthen the Conservation Lands Network data and tools by engaging in any of the following ways: Become a Reviewer/Tester. If you make use of environmental data in your work (or are a data manager and have information to share), help us by reviewing our data products and web tools as they become available. Reviewers/testers will read data sheets, inspect maps, test drive mapping tools, and submit their input through online surveys. Time requirement: 2-5 hours per month starting in November 2017. Become a Tracker . If you are an environmental specialist, conservation practitioner, or similar who needs credible and interpreted natural resource data for your work, track the Science Expansion project and learn how the CLN information can help you and the region. Trackers will receive updates on project milestones, summaries of Steering Committee and Focus Team meetings, and our blogs. Time requirement: Up to you! Become an Advocate . Are you a supporter of conservation science and planning tools, and see how they help inform decision-making in the Bay Area? Sign up as an Advocate to receive progress updates and key findings of the Science Expansion project. To engage in these ways or simply subscribe to the CLN blog, click here. You can also follow the project on our blog and social media:


The 2017 Science Expansion update is made possible with support from:

A special thank you to GreenInfo Network for their support building the website, developing the Explorer Tool, creating innumerable maps and providing invaluable guidance.