biologist studying snake

Midpen is a leader in open space preservation, natural resource protection and responsible land management. To help us with this work, we have formed a Science Advisory Panel to provide independent, science-based review of key issues and serve as a resource for guiding future decisions. The panel is made up of scientists from two locally-esteemed research organizations, San Francisco Estuary Institute  and Point Blue Conservation Science. The panel brings expertise in local ecology and natural history, climate change and land management strategies, as well as connecting Midpen to a broad network of technical experts at other institutions.

Virtual Public Meeting: Consideration of new topic 
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 | 7 p.m.

At this meeting, the Midpen board of directors will vote on whether to direct the Science Advisory Panel to perform a review of available scientific literature on the benefits and impacts of e-bike access to recreational trails. Instructions on how to participate and comment are available in the meeting agenda (link coming soon).


The complicated natural resource and public access projects we manage require a high level of scientific expertise to balance all the pieces of our mission. This is true for Midpen and for other open space agencies and conservation groups throughout the region. The panel will support our ongoing work by:

  • Establishing a scientific basis to assist Midpen with management decisions.
  • Providing an independent review of Midpen land management decisions and ongoing practices.
  • Advancing research efforts to support important science-based land and resource management throughout the region.

Project Highlights

In January 2020, the board of directors chose the first topics for review:

  • Efficiently monitor changes in plant and animal populations at a landscape scale
  • Balancing the benefits to people from ecologically sensitive recreation and education with protecting natural resources
  • Conservation grazing benefits and impacts

A detailed description of the topics can be found in the board report from the meeting.

Download Science Advisory Panel Topics

Presentation of Science Advisory Panel’s First Year Findings

The panel completed their first round of work on the monitoring and recreation topics and presented their progress at the board of directors meeting on February 24 at 7 p.m. Read the staff report summarizing the findings here

Scientific Literature Review of Conservation Grazing

At a public meeting on November 4, 2020, the Midpen board of directors received a presentation from the independent Science Advisory Panel about their findings from an extensive scientific literature review to assess the effects of conservation grazing on native ecosystems and biodiversity, its utility as a vegetation management tool for wildland fire safety and its greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration potential. No board action was taken.

Livestock grazing and its effects on ecosystem structure, processes, and conservation

Watch the video of the presentation: