Mission: PRBO Conservation Science is dedicated to conserving birds, other wildlife, and ecosystems through innovative scientific research, restoration, outreach and extensive partnerships. Our highest priority is to reduce the impacts of habitat alteration, climate change and other threats to wildlife and people, while promoting adaptation to the changes ahead.
PRBO Conservation Science (PRBO) is a non-profit organization founded in 1965 as Point Reyes Bird Observatory.
PRBO researches birds and ecosystems, creates management tools, leads field science training programs, and develops and delivers bird science education programs to advance biodiversity conservation in the west on land and at sea.
PRBO Conservation Science is protecting nature’s health for wildlife and people. Click here for a hand-out that describes highlights of PRBO’s collaborative conservation science in action and next steps that we will achieve with your generous support.
PRBO is currently headquartered in Petaluma, CA and works throughout the west from Alaska to Antarctica on land and at sea.
PRBO has catalyzed the development of some of the most innovative conservation partnerships and decision support tools in the nation. Major conservation initiatives are achieving more effective outcomes as a result of PRBO’s innovative science, training and outreach.
Working in partnership with wildlife and habitat management agencies, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, private landowners, fisheries and others, our award-winning science advances win-win solutions to today’s conservation challenges.
PRBO helps to ensure that every dollar invested in conservation yields the most for biodiversity- benefiting our environment, our economy and our communities!
As a result of our expertise and achievements, PRBO is an invited leader in major regional, national and international conservation initiatives, including the:
• North American Bird Conservation Initiative- US Committee (13-member national committee),
• US Shorebird Conservation Plan Council (Chair),
• Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (US Chair),
• International Partners in Flight (US Steering Committee, CA Co-Chair),
• Pacific Coast Ocean Observing System (Governing Board), and
• Management Boards and Technical Committees of three Habitat Joint Ventures of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (San Francisco Bay Joint Venture [Chair], Central Valley Joint Venture and Sonoran Joint Venture; PRBO also serves on the national Association of Joint Venture Management Boards)
• Various California state science teams (e.g., Marine Life Protection Act, South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project and Salton Sea Restoration Project).
Since our inception, PRBO has provided the scientific basis for:
• Establishing three national marine sanctuaries and an International Biosphere Preserve;
• Designating San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley (CA) ricelands as vital habitat for shorebirds through the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, advancing conservation of these critical regions;
• Establishing the 1993 California law protecting white sharks, a vital top predator in marine ecosystem dynamics;
• Ending gill net fishing, halting catastrophic mortality of seabirds & marine mammals off California’s central coast;
• Establishing new guidelines on commercial fishing for squid in California waters to protect breeding seabirds; and,
• Protecting and restoring Mono Lake (a vital bird breeding and migratory stopover site in the Eastern Sierras).
PRBO has also:
• Co-authored the guide to standardized songbird monitoring published by the USDA Forest Service (in English and Spanish) now being used across North America, Mexico and Central America; and developed a first-of-its-kind guide to statistical analysis of bird monitoring data published by the US Fish and Wildlife Service;
• Developed new approaches to riparian (streamside) habitat restoration to reverse declines in breeding songbirds, resulting in increased species diversity and abundance, and benefiting other animals including commercially valuable fish in California’s Central Valley;
• Developed oiled bird response protocols for the state of California that are in use around the world to protect marine wildlife and ecosystems in the future;
• Graduated over 1,000 college and graduate students from the US and dozens of other countries in our renowned conservation biology internship program;
• Developed a first-of-its-kind Habitat Conversion Model to minimize impacts on bird populations from the conversion of salt ponds to tidal habitats and guide effective restoration in south San Francisco Bay;
• Amassed the longest term data set in North America on breeding seabirds and marine mammals at the Farallon Islands- 27 miles west of San Francisco and site of the largest seabird and marine mammal colonies south of Alaska- demonstrating human and natural changes in the ecosystem and helping to conserve this rich ocean environment;
• Initiated the Bird Conservation Network in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean with dozens of locally based partners and biologists to conserve migratory birds across their ranges as well as resident birds; PRBO and partners have established 14 bird and habitat monitoring stations and have trained over 150 biologists in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean during the past 3 years.
• Spearheaded the collaborative development of seven habitat-based songbird conservation plans and the Southern Pacific Shorebird Conservation Plan now in wide use by every major habitat and wildlife management agency in the West;
• Developed the first-of-its-kind California Current System (CCS) Marine Bird Conservation Plan that reviews threats to and ecological needs of key seabird species with numerous research and management recommendations, covering the Pacific Ocean from southern British Columbia to Baja California and offshore to 200 miles;
• Spearheaded successful efforts to increase populations of the endangered Western Snowy Plover and San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike while continuing ongoing studies of other threatened species including Black Rail, Least Tern, Spotted Owl, and Steller’s Sea Lion;
• Produced unparalleled data on wetlands and migratory shorebirds in the Pacific Flyway, identifying priority sites for conservation from Mexico to Alaska;
• Developed quantitative models based on seabird diet and productivity that have the potential to dramatically improve fisheries management, to predict return rates and set fishing quotas for commercial fish such as Pacific herring and Chinook salmon;
• Led the development of the 2003 Bird Species of Special Concern priorities guiding the California Department of Fish and Game (first update since 1978); and,
• Published over 1,000 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, reports and publications.