To do research on Conservancy land, researchers must apply for a permit (PDF) and submit a research proposal for evaluation. If the proposal is approved, a permit will be issued that is good for the length of the proposed study. The permit includes a list of regulations that must be followed while doing research on Conservancy property. Researchers are advised to allow two months for proposal review, permit processing, and arranging lodging and transportation on the Island.

The Conservancy is a small, nonprofit organization with limited resources to support scientific research. We may assist by providing housing, transportation, guides, and field assistants. Reasonable fees are charged for housing and vehicle usage.

Greg Pauly, herpetologist, researching snakes, lizards, and frogs on Catalina Island. Photo by T. Dvorak.

Researchers should plan to bring most equipment and supplies from the mainland, since Island stores may not have certain items. The Conservancy has a small library with books, articles, maps, and reports that pertain to the Island. We currently have a well equipped field lab at our Middle Ranch facility and an extensive Geographic Information Systems data library.

Because the logistics of doing research on Catalina can be complex, it is vital that you keep in close contact with the Conservancy concerning your travel schedule and your on-island lodging and transportation arrangements. It is wise to select more than one possible time period for your research visit, since on-island housing or vehicles may not be available at certain times. Adverse weather conditions can seriously affect interior road conditions and may prohibit your access to do research in the interior of the Island.

Research Proposals

Please submit your proposal at least two months in advance of when you would like to begin your work to allow enough time for review. The proposal should be no more than 15 pages in length and include an introduction, sections on methods, expected results and their probable interpretation, and significance of the research. Describe your project in enough detail that it can be evaluated by another scientist. Explain why your research results will be useful to the Catalina Island Conservancy as this will be a prime consideration.

At the completion of the project, researchers must turn in a research report along with copies of their data. The report should summarize the project, and discuss its implications for conservation and ecological restoration on the Island. A multi-year project will also require an annual status report. The data should be in a format usable by the Conservancy. This information will be held in strict confidence. If the project was part of graduate work, copies of the dissertation, or thesis, should be submitted to us. Finally, reprints of any research articles from the project must also be deposited with the Conservancy. Please acknowledge the support of the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy in all of these publications.

Transportation on the Island
Although researchers may be able to accomplish some of their work by hiking between field sites, most people will need motorized transportation. Since cars and trucks are not ferried to the Island, researchers must rely on vehicles supplied by the Conservancy. Generally, a Conservancy staff member or volunteer with a vehicle will assist short-term researchers for the duration of their visit. After receiving the necessary Island and vehicle orientation, long term researchers may be permitted to operate vehicles on their own. For researchers who do not need to travel extensively, the Conservancy may be able to provide a drop-off and pickup service to their field study areas.

Field Assistants
The Conservancy has staff and volunteers who may be able to help researchers as drivers, guides, and field assistants. Volunteers are trained by Conservancy staff in various tasks, and many are knowledgeable about the Island’s history and natural history. We prefer to have a volunteer or staff member accompany you in the field until you have become familiar with the Island.

Several types of lodging are available:

Middle Ranch Researcher House ~ 5 bedrooms (up to 10 people), 2 baths, shared bathrooms and kitchen. (Reservations are strongly suggested.)

Standard Campsites ~ there are established campsites at Little Harbor, Parsons Landing, Two Harbors, Black Jack Mountain, and Hermit Gulch in Avalon. Camping information available here.

Primitive Campsites (boat-in) ~ there are a limited number of coves, accessible only by boat, that are available for camping. More information available here.

Laura Stein Volunteer Camp ~ The site has four canvas-sided tents on raised decks, each tent has 8 padded bunk beds. To inquire about reservations, email the Research Coordinator.

Other Accommodations ~ USC/Wrigley Institute of Environmental Studies at Two Harbors has housing available.

It is also possible, but  more expensive, to stay at a hotel or rental house in the city of Avalon or at the Banning House Lodge at Two Harbors. Hotel rooms and rentals for May through September are often booked months in advance.

All housing outside of Avalon is located some distance from restaurants and stores. Grocery stores are located in Avalon and Two Harbors, and most researchers should plan to shop for groceries upon arrival. There are automatic teller machines in Avalon and Two Harbors.

Facilities/Services Charges
Researchers are charged for the use of Conservancy housing and vehicles to help offset maintenance and operating costs. Total charges are billable to the researcher or to the researcher’s institution.

  • Housing: $25.00/person/night, or $40.00 per night for a shared room (max 2 people) ($300.00/person/month)
  • Vehicle use: $40 per day (2WD) or $80 per day (4WD) plus $1.03 per mile
  • Drop-off or Pickups: $25.00 per drop-off or pickup in Avalon
  • Permit service charge: $80

708 Crescent Ave., Avalon 90704 | Phone: (310) 510-2595 | 320 Golden Shore, Suite 220, Long Beach, CA 90802 | Phone: (562) 437-8555
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