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San Francisco Bay Area Gap Analysis

Published Aug 17, 2010

Status 1 and Status 2 Lands in the Bay Area based on the Bay Area Gap Analysis open space stewardship layer and additional research. Compiled by GreenInfo Network, various sources.

The Nature Conservancy undertook thisĀ  assesment of conservation protection for the San Francisco Bay area to achieve the following four goals: 1) Determine the degree of protection for natural communities provided by the existing system of open-space lands in the Bay Area. 2) Provide a preliminary assessment of this protection by comparing the present extent of protection to target levels of protection. 3) Use the assessment of protection to suggest priorities for conservation of natural communities. 4) Stimulate a regional discussion of conservation planning to determine what adequate protection of natural communities would look like. The Bay Area gap analysis followed the standardized procedures of the USGS National Gap Analysis Program and used the GAP land cover layer map to depict the location and extent of existing natural communities in the Bay Area. The Bay Area gap analysis did not develop a wildlife layer per se, but a wildlife layer could be developed from the data presented in this project. An original stewardship layer for the Bay Area was developed by GreenInfo Network in 2001. The land cover and stewardship layers were compared using GIS to determine what percent of each natural community is protected by existing open space lands. This degree of protection was compared to two target percentages, or benchmark levels of protection: 100% and 20%. Communities with documented statewide declines exceeding 80% were compared to a target level of 100%, and the remaining natural communities were compared to a target level of 20%. Bay Area natural communities were then prioritized based on four factors: 1) endemicity to the region, 2) local threat by development, 3) a combination of statewide rarity and threat level, and 4) level of statewide protection. The Result The results of the San Francisco Bay Area Gap Analysis can be used to educate the regional conservation community about the successes and limitations of the current conservation reserve system, including which communities are in need of more protection and which should be future conservation priorities. This gap analysis could also be used in the preliminary stages of selecting future open-space areas. The Coastal Conservancy encourages a comprehensive regional conservation planning process, which would build upon the results of this gap analysis to improve the conservation of ecoregional diversity in the San Francisco Bay Area (Wild, 2002). ReferencesWild, C., 2002, San Francisco Bay Area Gap Analysis: A Preliminary Assessment of Priorities for Protecting Natural Communities, California Coastal Conservancy.