About the Bay Area GreenPrint

What is the Bay Area Greenprint?

The Bay Area Greenprint is a tool that reveals the multiple benefits of natural and agricultural lands, empowering users to inform land use decisions with better data. The Bay Area Greenprint identifies, maps, and measures the values that natural resources contribute to the ecosystem, the economy, and the local and regional community.

Goal of the Greenprint

The goal of the Bay Area Greenprint is to provide a regional source of accessible conservation data and a framework for interpretation for planners, agencies, conservation practitioners, and other community stakeholders to facilitate the incorporation of natural and agricultural values information early into land use and infrastructure planning. Doing so provides a more complete understanding of costs and benefits that will inform decisions about open space and agricultural lands protection and development. Ultimately, the Greenprint aims to avoid adverse effects on natural and agricultural resources from development, infrastructure, and other projects.

Why a Greenprint?

Greenprints enable decision-makers to prioritize areas that maximize benefits or minimize conflicts. This can help leverage funding and build a broader base of political support for conservation so that communities can effectively address evolving challenges such as resource depletion, climate impacts, and social disparities. At a minimum, a greenprint that includes multiple values allows interested stakeholders to understand and communicate about providing a range of benefits. Similarly, a greenprint allows local officials to develop a coordinated strategy for channeling development to the most appropriate locations to avoid conflicts while protecting important natural resources.

Many agency staff and elected leaders are motivated to incorporate conservation into infrastructure and land use planning and decision-making, but lack access to data or a framework to interpret ways to maximize multi-benefit conservation outcomes. The Bay Area Greenprint aims to incorporate multiple-benefit planning and landscape-scale natural resource geospatial datasets in land use and infrastructure planning across the region. This allows practitioners to approach projects with an understanding of and a reliable source for combining multiple land-based values (e.g., biodiversity + recreation + groundwater + carbon storage). The Bay Area Greenprint is an effective and actionable way to connect the contributions of natural and agricultural values to the benefits they provide to people and nature.

A Framework for Nature's Values and Benefits

The Bay Area Greenprint is organized around nine values and benefits:

This framework enables users to develop more clear communications to exhibit the significance and presence of these resources within a local area or across the region.

Climate change information is integrated into the Greenprint's values and benefits. For each value and benefit, the Bay Area Greenprint reveals 1) the threat climate change poses to the value or benefit, and 2) potential opportunities for that value or benefit, given a changing climate.

The Greenprint helps users identify policy protection gaps and development pressure on these natural and agricultural resources through incorporation of Greenbelt Alliance's At Risk: the Bay Area Greenbelt analysis.

Download a set of informational and promotional posters about the Greenprint (11.5 MB PDF).

Bay Area Greenprint Toolkit

To facilitate the uptake of more complete natural and agricultural resource information earlier in planning and decision-making processes, the following products are available as part of the Bay Area Greenprint Toolkit:

  1. Multi-benefit Reporting: Reports on the multiple benefits of natural and agricultural resources within a user defined area of interest.
  2. Multi-benefit Conservation Assessment: An interactive multi-benefit planning tool that enables users with multiple perspectives to generate a wall-to-wall resource assessment to evaluate synergies and tradeoffs between nature's values and benefits allowing for 'no-surprise' reporting.
  3. Data Access: A web map, data portal, and associated metadata for natural resources and agriculture in the Bay Area. Users can explore natural resource data in a web-based platform or download data into their own GIS environment.
  4. Natural Resource Dashboard: An accessible and engaging introduction to natural resources and agricultural information through a series of charts, maps, and descriptions to that reveal how natural and agricultural resources, land protection, and development risk in the Bay Area stack-up by county.
  5. Conservation Methods: A scientifically-vetted framework document for interpreting the multiple benefits inherent in natural and agricultural lands across the Bay Area.

Who built the Bay Area Greenprint?

The Bay Area Greenprint is a collaboration of The Nature Conservancy, Bay Area Open Space Council, American Farmland Trust, Greenbelt Alliance, and GreenInfo Network. Funding provided by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

Several other organizations served as science and methods advisors, including Point Blue Conservation Science, San Francisco Estuary Institute, Climate Action Reserve, UC Davis Center for the Environment, Pepperwood Preserve, Peninsula Open Space Trust, and Santa Clara Open Space Authority.