Technology Boosts Wildlife Research in Marin

January 10, 2024


A gray fox sits atop a log in the woods of mount tamalpais scratching its ear with its foot.

SAN RAFAEL, CA. (January 10, 2024)—The National Park Service, California State Parks, Marin Water, Marin County Parks, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy working in partnership as One Tam announces a new partnership with Conservation International and Google Wildlife for Marin Wildlife Watch (formerly called Marin Wildlife Picture Index Project). Marin Wildlife Watch employs a globally recognized method to study and help protect wildlife. One Tam began this initiative in 2014, using a network of motion-activated cameras to help researchers study wildlife populations in the Mt. Tamalpais region, primarily mid-to-large size mammals.  

Volunteers are a critical part of One Tam’s program in Marin and help process the huge number of images the cameras collect each year into data that can be analyzed. The new partnership will streamline the volunteer experience and image processing—helping One Tam uncover insights hidden in the data more quickly.  

“Marin Wildlife Watch now offers a flexible online experience for volunteers, who will be able to participate from anywhere on their own schedule. A virtual program also allows us to introduce the mammals of Marin and community science to many new volunteers,” said Suzanne Whelan, Marin Water’s Volunteer Coordinator. “This effort is channeling the best parts of going virtual into supporting our local environment.” 

Early results of this work indicate that, overall, mammals in the area are doing well. “So far, the program has affirmed our understanding that our mammal community is in good condition. I found it especially surprising that mid-sized carnivores (like coyotes, bobcats, and gray foxes) were in really good shape, and were consistently observed on nearly all our cameras,” said Bill Merkle, Wildlife Ecologist at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Learn about your more-than-human neighbors and contribute to this effort:  

About One Tam: One Tam is a partnership of the National Park Service, California State Parks, Marin Water, Marin County Parks, and the nonprofit Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to ensure the long-term health of Mt. Tamalpais. Our partnership leverages the skills and resources of each partner and inspires community members to support the long-term stewardship of the mountain.    

About the One Tam Partners:  

California State Parks: The California State Parks are dedicated to providing for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state's biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation.  

Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy: The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service overseeing the Golden Gate National Recreation Area—82,000 acres of national parkland spanning the San Francisco Bay Area, including Muir Woods, Ocean Beach, Crissy Field, and Alcatraz Island. The Parks Conservancy is a membership organization created to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the experiences of park visitors, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. With our local and federal partners, the Parks Conservancy is committed to the work of supporting Bay Area national parks as places where we can further racial and social justice for our community and climate resilience for these protected lands.  

Marin County Parks: Marin County Parks maintains 18,400 acres of public parks and open space preserves. It is dedicated to educating, inspiring, and engaging the people of Marin in the shared commitment of preserving, protecting, and enriching the natural beauty of Marin's parks and open spaces, and providing recreational opportunities for the enjoyment of all generations.  

Marin Water: Marin Water is a public utility providing water to more than 191,000 people in a 147-square-mile area of southern and central Marin County. In operation since 1912, MMWD is the oldest municipal water district in California. The district’s mission is to manage natural resources in a sustainable manner and to provide customers with reliable, high-quality water at a reasonable price.  

National Park Service: Golden Gate National Recreation Area is one of the most visited parks in the National Park Service, hosting more than 17 million visitors in 2022. A diverse park with abundant recreational opportunities, as well as natural, cultural, and scenic resources, it encompasses more than 82,000 acres across three counties, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo. The park also administers two other NPS areas, Fort Point National Historic Site, a Civil War era fortress built on the northernmost point of land in San Francisco, and Muir Woods National Monument, which comprises an impressive stand of old growth coastal redwoods in Marin County. 


Logos for the One Tam partners.