Greenprint Projects

Bay Area Greenprint


Rolling hills in the foreground with the silhouette of the skyline of San Francisco in the background.
CA Bay Area Greenprint Mt. Tamalpais, California: The view from the summit of Mt. Tamalpais looking back toward the city of San Francisco. © Ian Shive

The Nature Conservancy, Greenbelt Alliance, TOGETHER Bay Area, GreenInfo Network, and American Farmland Trust have developed a toolkit 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.

The Bay Area Greenprint is designed to help users understand the natural and agricultural values in their area of interest and consider nature-based solutions to protect or enhance those values. The Greenprint helps land use planners, conservation practitioners, infrastructure agencies, community members and others to maximize benefits and minimize conflicts.

The toolkit includes: 

  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 evaluate synergies and tradeoffs between nature's values and benefits allowing for 'no-surprise' reporting.
  3. Data Access: A web map and data portal. 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 information through a series of charts, maps, and descriptions to that reveal how natural and agricultural resources and land protection 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.
  6. Mitigation Wizard: A web-based decision-support tool that helps users identify the potential impacts of their projects on special-status species and sensitive habitats, and then evaluate potential conservation or restoration project areas to offset them.

Year Published: 2017

State: California

Landscape Context: Coastal, grasslands, forests

Housing Density: Urban, Suburban

Funding Type: Private

Habitat Focus: Developed

Organizations Involved:

The Nature Conservancy, TOGETHER Bay Area, American Farmland Trust, Greenbelt Alliance, GreenInfo Network


Water Supply, Water Quality, Habitat and Biodiversity, Recreation, Climate Resilience, Working Land, Carbon Sequestration, Equity and Air Quality

Collaborators Involvement:

Collaborators were consulted; a strategic advisors group consisting of potential  users was convened several times to inform functionality and design, and a science and methods committee was created to guide the data that underpins the toolkit.

Planning Process:

The Core Team met every other week over a period of over two years to scope and build the tool. The Core Team also had an established subteam that was soley focused on the science and methods. The end users needs were at the forefront of toolkit development;  the team conducted several use case interviews and rapid assessments with practitioners to query interest, find areas where the tool could add value to their work, and build institutional support for the project. The technical consultant on the project, GreenInfo Network, gathered input from project partners and potential users to build the framework for content, design features and user outreach before building the tool itself. Two expert committee informed functionality, and science and methods, respectively.

Desired Outcomes:

The Bay Area Greenprint aims to facilitate the incorporation of natural and agricultural values and information into land use and transportation planning so a more complete accounting of costs and benefits can inform decisions about which open space might be developed or protected. In addition, the region has an abundance of data, but access and knowledge about certain datasets is limited.

The Greenprint intends to be a one-stop shop for multi-benefit conservation data in the Bay Area and create a shared language among planners, policymakers, NGOs, and others to illustrate the case for conservation in supporting the Bay Area's vibrant environment, economy and regional character.

What it Accomplished: 

The Bay Area Greenprint is a first-of-its-kind tool for the Bay Area. It was released in June 2017. The Greenprint has been used in MTC/ABAG’s Priority Conservation Area Program, in coastal resilience and compensatory mitigation planning processes, as to assess land use proposals. 

Additional Information and Reports