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How healthy are Mt. Tam's natural resources?

 

Peak Health

Peak Health

184
Bird Species
250
Native Animal Species
1000
Plant Species
36000
Acres Studied
Wildlife

Wildlife

Wildlife are found in every habitat type on the mountain, where they may be grazers, predators, or prey.

Plants

Plants

Plant communities, and their arrangement on the landscape, are the foundation of ecosystem health.

Landscapes

Landscapes

Most of Mt. Tam’s plant communities are suffering the effects of climate change, invasive species, plant disease, and fire. 

Measuring the Health of Mt. Tam

Mt. Tam is a vital refuge for many threatened, endangered, and special status species, and is an important link in a much larger network of interconnected open spaces, including the 195,000 acres of protected open space in Marin County that a myriad of other plants and wildlife depend upon.

Maintaining a healthy, vibrant and diverse Mt. Tam begins with understanding how key ecological resources are faring, and how we can better care for this iconic and beloved place.

One Tam partners and Bay Area scientists have come together to try to answer the question: How healthy are Mt. Tam's natural resources?

This report represents the results of an unprecedented collaboration among Mt. Tam’s land managers, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and the scientific community to use the most current data and best expert judgement to understand and evaluate the mountain’s health.

How Can I Help?
  • Donate: Give to support the mountain to maintain and restore this special place.
  • Volunteer: Join us to restore habitats, maintain trails, catalog photos and identify wildlife.
  • Learn & Share: Take part in a bioblitz or annual bird count with the Marin Wildlife Picture Index Project.
  • Care: Stay on designated trails to protect sensitive species and habitats, and use native or non-invasive plants for home landscaping.

The Overall Health of Mt. Tam

Mt. Tam’s natural resources are in an overall Fair condition and a trend of No Change. Some of the mountain’s plants and wildlife are thriving, while others are suffering the effects of invasive species, plant disease, changed fire frequencies, and climate change. However, even some of those in decline are at a point where their trajectory can still be improved. The condition and trend of many species or groups like invertebrates and bats remain largely unknown.

Learn more through the links to the WildlifePlants, and Landscapes health indicator assessments above, or download the full report here or download our Health at a Glance sheet.

 

Watch the Story

Data Gaps

The condition of many important indicators of Mt. Tam’s ecological health, including invertebrates, bats, lichens, hardwood forests, riparian areas, and seeps and springs, remains largely unknown. However, now that they have been identified through this process, many of these gaps in our understanding can be improved in the near future, providing important data for the next iteration of this health assessment.

Closing data gaps for broad health indicators like invertebrates and certain plant communities will allow for a much better understanding of the mountain’s overall health. 

Science is an inherently iterative and cumulative process, and this health evaluation will grow and improve along with our understanding of the state of the mountain’s natural resources. 

Health Indicators: Wildlife, Plants & Landscapes

There are many ways to evaluate the health of a mountain, from the condition and trend of an individual species or entire communities, to its biodiversity or climate resilience. Based on a suite of metrics developed for measuring the heath of key ecological indicators, the condition of Mt. Tam’s natural resources is overall cautionary, but fairly stable. Fortunately, some of those indicators that are declining are at a point where their trajectory can still be improved.

Events

Many People, Working Together

  • How Can I Help?
    Give to support the mountain, and the projects and programs helping to maintain and restore this special place.
  • Work Underway
    Stewardship and management has been underway for decades within the One Tam area of focus.
  • Information Gaps
    This assessment process revealed critical data gaps for a number of important health indicators.
  • What We Did
    Determining how to measure the health of the mountain’s resources required a collaborative, iterative, and multi-faceted approach.

Peak Health Indicator Chart