Projects Worked On
In collaboration with the Public Policy Institute of California and other researchers, the Center prepared California Water Myths—a report highlighting eight common water myths, focusing on water supply, ecosystems and legal and governance issues. In providing information to combat these myths, the study establishes a more informed approach to water policy and management in California.
Interdisciplinary teams of Center scientists are investigating the causes for the decline of salmon and steelhead in Shasta River, historically one of the most productive tributaries in the lower Klamath Basin. A large spring complex (Big Springs Creek) provides the majority of its water, particularly during the summer.
PISCES is software and data describing the best-known ranges for California's native fish. The data is compiled from multiple sources and experts and is stored and exported as rangemaps and summary maps. As of December 2013, it includes data on all of the state's 131 native fish taxa as well as 48 non-native species.
Chiapas (Mexico) and California share many similar challenges regarding the conservation of rivers and streams and the organisms that dwell in them. Although fishes in both states are highly diverse, this biodiversity is under multiple threats including effects from cattle grazing, forest fires, dam operations, and climate change. Collaboration between the El Ocote Biosphere Reserve and the Klamath National Forest began in 1993 in order to provide research expertise and training between the two forests. Past efforts have documented fish species presence and distribution within the Reserve (2005-2008; Gonzalez-Diaz et al. 2008, Anzueto-Calvo et al. 2013), as well as identified threats to aquatic habitats (2010-2012).
UCD and the Technische Universität München (TUM) are conducting research to quantify changes in species distributions through the contraction or expansion of ranges. The collaborative effort began in 2011 with a two week summer school hosted by TUM. The main topic of the summer school was Life Sciences in the 21st Century with a Focus on Water. Later, beginning in April 2012, one of the participants of the summer school, Rebecca Quiñones, was awarded a one-year scholarship to pursue postdoctoral research at TUM.
Knowledge of species' spatial distributions is crucial to the identification and prioritization of watersheds in need of restoration. Coupled with species' status, the presence and or absence of species can indicate biologically diverse vs. depauperate areas.
The Center for Watershed Sciences is investigating harvested rice fields as potential salmon nurseries that could help boost struggling Central Valley populations. Experimental releases of young hatchery salmon on the Yolo Bypass near Sacramento indicate that parts of the 57,000-acre floodway could make productive rearing habitat at relatively little cost to farmers.
The Arc project is designed to study how land forms in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta interact with freshwater inputs and tides to create habitat favored by native fishes. The investigation focuses on regions in the North Delta where fish surveys have shown relatively high populations of native fishes - regions including Suisun Marsh, the flooded Sherman Island and the Cache and Lindsey sloughs. The areas together form an arc, inspiring the project name "North Delta Arc of Native Fishes."
The Blacklock Fish Study focused on gaining a better understanding of how managed wetlands compare with restored tidal wetlands. This project collected and compared data on the distribution and abundance of fishes between three key locations: subtidal sloughs, restored tidal wetlands, and managed wetlands.
The aim of the Complete Marsh Project is to understand the effects of hydrogeomorphology on estuarine food and juvenile fish distribution.
For over 35 years, this project has monitored abiotic and biotic conditions in tidal wetlands, making it the longest established study in Suisun Marsh. The long-term data collected has enabled numerous studies and will continue to support research on the ecology and conservation of Suisun Marsh fishes, as well as the effects of Marsh restoration and management, and climate change.