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Projects Worked On

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.
In 2008, Center researchers seized a rare opportunity to quantify the results of conservation action on a large scale. The Nature Conservancy bought ranchland along Big Springs Creek, a Shasta River tributary that had been degraded by cattle grazing. The conservancy continued ranching but fenced out cattle along the 2.2 mile stream.
In this project, we seek to improve our understanding of the impacts of varying spring flow regimes on stream ecology, through empirical field studies, and water management, through hydropower optimization modeling.
This project measures and compares ecological productivity in two types of river systems in the Upper Sacramento River watershed. The project's team of ecologists, geologist and biologists is comparing the food-web dynamics of three spring-fed systems - Hat Creek, Fall River and tributaries of the upper Sacramento River - with those of rivers that receive mainly snowmelt and stormwater runoff in the same watershed.
The Little Shasta River project is the third phase of CWS’ research in the Shasta basin – moving past baseline assessment and demonstration projects to private landowner collaboration. The Center for Watershed Sciences is partnering with private landowners, California Trout, and The Nature Conservancy to identify how heritage rangeland can be managed to ensure the long-term viability of both rangeland and recover coho salmon populations. Our research shows how science can inform and influence the management of rangeland and environmental resources.
The California Environmental Flows Framework (CEFF) provides an approach for evaluating ecological flow criteria and options for developing ecological flow prescriptions that can accommodate a variety of stream types and biological communities, while supporting regulatory and management agency programs aimed at protecting beneficial uses for aquatic life. CEFF allows for the assessment of ecological flow criteria based on natural variability of ecologically-relevant functional flow metrics. It guides the user on selecting appropriate methods for refining these criteria to develop ecological flow prescriptions given regional or site-specific stream conditions, management goals, and desired ecological outcomes.