North Bay Bear Collaborative


Cultivating a Bear Culture in the North Bay

The North Bay Bear Collaborative is a working group of agencies, non-profit conservation groups, landowners and individuals committed to being proactive liaisons between humans and bears. Our aim is to mitigate future challenges that may arise from the North Bay’s increasing black bear population.

Keeping North Bay Bears Wild and Healthy

As the North Bay’s black bear population grows, challenges may arise managing the bear-human relationship. The North Bay Bear Collaborative (NBBC) is a working group of public agencies, non-profit conservation groups, landowners, and individuals committed to addressing these potential challenges proactively. Through research, community outreach, and infrastructure improvements, the NBBC’s goal is to keep our human and bear populations safe and resilient.

Our Mission & Approach

Being with BearsOur mission includes public messaging and outreach to teach people how to live among bears safely, including guidance on avoiding the kind of attractive nuisances likely to lure wild animals into neighborhoods. In addition, we will teach people to be better stewards of our open spaces. Black bears are emblematic of wildness, needing a mosaic of diverse habitats to survive. By building resilient and biodiverse habitats, we help bears to stay wild, in our open spaces, and out of our neighborhoods. To ensure longevity and increase awareness, we will be offering teen internships in wildlife conservation, monitoring, and historical ecology.

NBBC is also improving the infrastructure of our regional and state parks. We will be installing bear-proof trash cans and food storage containers in campgrounds and backcountry sites.

Beyond outreach and infrastructure, we are collecting data to map the range of North Bay black bears. This will help us to better understand their dispersal patterns. We hope in the future to begin a DNA study to determine how individual bears are genetically related to one another.

Questions?  Please email us HERE.

Bear DNA Study Volunteer Training 2024

Wednesday, June 26, 5:30 to 8:00 pm

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, 2605 Adobe Canyon Rd, Kenwood. 

We are doing our Bear Scat Collection Survey training for this year. Please attend if you want to assist with the 2024 NBBC Scat Survey this summer and fall.

We will also give an overview of our findings from the last few years, and it’s a chance to meet your fellow NBBC supporters.

You will be trained on bear DNA collection protocols to assist with a study on Black Bear Populations in the North Bay Region. Until it rains, we will collect scat and hair samples for DNA analysis in up to 15 plots. Each team will have approximately 4-5 volunteers including a team lead who will be an experienced tracker. The collection areas are remote and require hiking all day in rough conditions.

What to Bring:

  • – Folding chair
  • – A journal and something to write with
  • – Water and snacks or your dinner. We will provide some beverages – adult and otherwise.
What to Expect:
  • – To learn about basic bear ecology, track, and sign
  • – To learn how to collect hair and scat samples for DNA analysis
  • – Protocols and procedures for the time on the land
  • – Safety measures for tracking in bear habitat
  • – We will provide printed protocols and data sheets

If you have any questions, please email Meghan Walla-Murphy at


Please share this link with friends who may be interested in volunteering.
(This is a big sampling effort, and we need a strong corps of wonderful volunteers to make it possible!)

Thank you!







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Our Partners

Sonoma Ecology Center

Sonoma County Parks

Kashia Band of Pomo Indians

Pepperwood Preserve

Audubon Canyon Ranch

CA State Parks

Napa Land Trust

Meghan Walla-Murphy

CA Dept of Fish & Wildlife

Sonoma Land Trust

California Indian Museum & Cultural Center

Recology Sonoma / Marin

Sonoma County Ag+Open Space

Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue

UC Davis Mamamilian Ecology & Conservation Unit

Private Land Owners