The Center for Conservation Biology (CCB) reflects UCR's outstanding interdepartmental cooperation among the basic sciences from which conservation biology springs: ecology, evolution, systematics and behavior. Many UCR scientists currently address conservation issues with their research, emphasizing genetic and species biodiversity, management and restoration of biodiversity, endangered species and the impact and control of invasive exotics. Major research foci include plants, vertebrates, invertebrates, soil organisms and the impact of humans on natural communities. The CCB's interests lie in playing the role of the "honest broker" by providing scientific research, data, models and information for developing theory and experiments and translating that information to policy makers and citizens.
The Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan has been presented to the public as a complete draft having been reviewed and modified as a result of comments from resource agencies, the Scientific Review Panel (SRP), local stakeholder groups, cities, and numerous other individuals at key intervals in the planning process. The goal is to develop a land-use plan that preserves open space for individual species of concern, protects existing natural communities that sustain the biodiversity of the planning region, and creates constraints for planned growth and development of the region that respect the rights of property owners. It seeks to use the “Best Available Science” as an approach to the planning process. This document is a review of the "science" in the final draft of the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, by the Science Review Panel assembled by the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of California, Riverside.
California State Department of Transportation and Center for Conservation Biology: WRC MSCHP Niche Model Task Order
The goal of this research contract was to provide Caltrans with niche models for the assessment of the conservation potential of lands within the delineated Criteria Areas of the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (WRC MSHCP). Caltrans could then use these results to prioritize lands for further evaluation and potential acquisition in order to meet their Implementing Agreement commitments under the WRC MSHCP.
Solar Power in the Desert: Are the current large-scale solar developments really improving California’s environment?
California deserts are faced with unprecedented anthropogenic change. Impact factors range from expanding urban centers and military bases, to potential significant habitat loss from solar and thermal power expansions (including ground water exploitation and depletion beyond recovery, land stripping for power generation units, and fragmentation from power and associated transportation corridors), and climate change. Together these factors threaten remaining suitable habitat for endangered and for other endemic desert species. Our goal here is to outline the scope of environmental changes that are underway, and to outline research needs necessary to provide long-term sustainability of federally- and state-listed species and their habitats, ensuring that energy developments are also fully compliant with the letter and intent of state and federal resource protection statutes. We identified several topic areas that are of concern to land managers and project developers in the California deserts. These represent topic areas badly in need of research using state-of-the-art techniques coupled with known expertise, tailored to the desert areas to be impacted by the proposed developments.