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Projects Worked On

Mountain meadow wetlands provide disproportionally important ecological services as compared to the area they cover in the Sierra Nevada by providing wetland-associated biodiversity, attenuating floods, and by contributing to downstream water quality and flow. However, degradation and loss of hydrologic function are widespread in Sierran meadows due to past and continuing anthropogenic effects including grazing management, diversions, roads and culverts, as well as non-native species.
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.
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 study compares commonly used methods of defining habitat suitability criteria and applying those to instream flow models for R. boylii in the Sierra Nevada of California. First, regional habitat suitability criteria (HSC) are developed using standard univariate and multivariate techniques, and the predictive performance and transferability of different HSC methods are evaluated. Second, three of the most commonly used instream flow assessment techniques are evaluated: (1) one-dimensional habitat modeling, (2) two-dimensional hydrodynamic modeling, and (3) expert habitat mapping (judgement-based mapping by species experts). A comparison table is provided to aid resource managers in selecting the most appropriate habitat assessment method for R. boylii given the specific conditions of a hydropower relicensing project.
As part of numerous other projects, Center for Watershed Sciences staff and researchers have developed code to run analyses, organize and store data, interface with other systems, automate processing, and more. Some of this code is designed to be reusable as standalone products, or as code in other, larger projects. You can find this code below.
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 health and function of montane riparian and aquatic ecosystems should be monitored using quantitative, process-based, repeatable metrics in order for resource managers to consistently and affordably maintain, restore and conserve these dynamic environments. To increase our understanding and better assess the condition of riparian and aquatic ecosystems, we must link metrics of hydrologic alteration with quantitative assessments of physical habitat (geomorphology and water quality) and biotic communities.
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.