The Nature Conservancy in California is using technology to advance conservation.
California Innovation The Nature Conservancy in California is using technology to advance conservation. © Ian Shive

Stories in California

Tapping California’s Most Abundant Resource: Innovation

Let’s harness the power of California and further human progress in support of nature’s ability to sustain life on Earth.

California is the innovation hub of the world, creating technologies and ideas that are transforming the human experience. It’s a state of inventors, entrepreneurs and cultural game-changers—and the time is now to harness the power in our backyard to solve environmental challenges.

Read on to discover how The Nature Conservancy in California is piloting technology for conservation with strong results.

Bringing Deep Learning to the Deep Seas

The Pacific tuna fishery is the world’s largest and most valuable fishery in the world. Sixty percent of the world’s tuna is caught there, but unregulated fishing practices are threatening marine ecosystems, global seafood supplies and local livelihoods. Thanks to machine learning algorithms, we’re making strides in transforming this billion-dollar industry from lawlessness to sustainability.

Big data and the deep blue sea TNC is installing electronic monitoring (EM) systems on vessels fishing in Palau, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands and Micronesia. Using a combination of on-vessel cameras, sensors and geo-locators to collect fishing data, the systems will start to record what is happening on board.

Through partnerships with island governments, businesses, and a tech startup that helped drive the technology to put more oversight on longline tuna boats, this work is proof that humans and machines can work together to prevent overfishing at sea.

Learn more about how we’re using AI to protect global tuna stocks—and the livelihoods of tuna fishermen.

A Blueprint for Conservation

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. And it’s a biodiversity hotspot.

Currently, natural and agricultural resources are not considered early enough in city planning, resulting in a struggle to balance biodiversity and human impact. Using advanced mapping technology, we developed a tool called Greenprint that helps land use and infrastructure planners make data-driven conservation decisions around open space, agricultural lands and development.

Plants and animals that have made the Bay Area so attractive would really go downhill. Wide-ranging species would not have those large rangelands to traverse.

Director of Infrastructure and Land Use at TNC California
helps developers make early, informed decisions to protect the environment.
Bay Area Greenprint helps developers make early, informed decisions to protect the environment. © TNC

Learn more about how we’re using data to help city planners in developing only in the areas that will allow nature to thrive.

Using GPS Technology to Free Entangled Whales  

Warming ocean temperatures make it worse for whales to accidentally get caught on the ropes and buoys of lost crab fishing gear. When a report of an entangled whale comes in, trained responders try to locate that whale and cut it free of the gear. We saw this as an opportunity to enhance this approach by leveraging new partnerships and using technology to locate and free entangled whales in real-time.

Harnessing technology to help free whales Commercial fisheries are critical to our global seafood supply, local communities, and coastal heritage, however fisheries can and do create threats to our marine environment.

Learn about ways we’re using technology to also reduce the risk of whale entanglements. 

We need to continue to bring California’s most innovative minds together to solve environmental challenges and drive application of advanced technology for conservation. Let’s put these technologies and ideas to work for a world where nature and people thrive together.