Bodega Marine Reserve News and Highlights

Exotic species, which can devastate native communities and make them unavailable for many types of research, continue to be the top management priority for Reserve lands.BMR has developed the Bodega Marine Reserve Weed Management Plan to provide long-term guidance and support for weed eradication efforts. Planning is being conducted in tandem with planning efforts of the Sonoma County Coastal Grasslands Working Group, a regional association of universities, agencies, non-profits, and community groups. Other key advances in weed eradication this include expanding our community volunteer program and adopting The Nature Conservancy’s Weed Information Management System, a weed control tracking system that enhances coordination among regional efforts. Reserve Steward, Michelle Cooper is refining the system for use on the reserve. This system dovetails with GIS and provides a spatial record of weed control activities on the reserve.


Field research supported by BML continues to increase. In a typical year field researchers at BML total 150 scientists, including 65 graduate students and numerous field research assistants and undergraduates conducting short-term research. The Reserve hosts 9 resident field classes and many class field trips from UC Davis and other campuses, plus workshops and conferences. Reserve researchers and classes represent 50 universities, including 6 UC campuses, 2 agencies and 4 non-profits/NGOs.


Of the field research conducted at the Laboratory, 67% occurs on reserve lands. To continue to protect reserve resources and respond to increasing research and class requests, we developed a new research tracking system that uses GPS and GIS technology to track the location of projects, sensitive resources, weed distribution, and other land management issues on the reserve. In conjunction with this project, we upgraded our annual reserve aerial photography to include a digital topographic layer that can be used to reconfigure our 20-year aerial photo library for digital analysis. The system is revolutionizing land management planning and provides a long-term record of environmental conditions on the reserve.

Jackie Sones, Research Coordinator for the Bodega Marine Reserve, reviews on-line research, education, and outreach applications, works with researchers to develop protocols for their projects, arranges logistics for visiting research and classes, and ensures the protection of research sites on the reserve. Contact Jackie Sones for issues regarding proposed or on-going research. BMR is developing publicly available GIS layers that may be helpful to researchers working on reserve lands and in the region. These layers include some standard layers such as topography, boundaries or protected areas, roads, parcels, and also some higher tech layers such as fine-scale topography of the coast and ocean bottom. Among the GIS features BMR is building, are a Research Site Layer, including GPS'ed locations of all research plots on the reserve mapped on reserve aerial photos. This project has been useful for minimizing conflicts among research projects and will provide a plot-specific history of research and land management manipulations. Please contact Jackie with information regarding the location of your research on the reserve and she can help GPS your project sites.

BML field research is supported by Reserve Manager Suzanne Olyarnik, Research Coordinator Jackie Sones, and Reserve Steward Michelle Cooper. Peter Connors, retired Reserve Manager, continues to work with reserve staff, providing information and expertise about the Reserve. We thank the many volunteers that support Reserve programs and continue to seek volunteers to help with habitat restoration and mapping efforts.