Sarah Pearce's picture

Sarah Pearce

Geomorphologist
Clean Water Program
510-847-3976

Ms. Pearce received her B.S. in Geosciences in 1999 from Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas and her M.S. in Geomorphology from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA in 2001. Her master's research focused on the hydraulic geometry of ephemeral streams as they interacted with blind thrust faults and fault-propagation-folds associated with the continued uplift of the San Bernardino Mountains, Southern California. Ms. Pearce joined SFEI in 2001 and is currently working with the Watershed Science Program. In the past 18 months she has carried out a number of projects focusing on fluvial geomorphic process in Bay Area streams and making interpretations of the data toward an understanding of the way beneficial uses such a salmonid habitat, bank stability, riparian function, flood control, water supply, and aesthetic value are influenced by land and water management in adjacent and upstream areas. Communication mechanisms for this policy and environmental management related scientific information have included direct interaction with environmental stewardship groups, development of high quality, peer-reviewed technical reports, and presentations at conferences and directly to local environmental managers.

Related Projects, News, and Events

EcoAtlas (Project)

California's EcoAtlas provides access to information for effective wetland management. EcoAtlas is a set of tools for generating, assembling, storing, visualizing, sharing, and reporting environmental data and information. The tools can be used individually or together, and they can be adjusted or tuned to meet the specific needs of environmental planners, regulators, managers, scientists, and educators. The maps and tools can be used to create a complete picture of aquatic resources in the landscape by integrating stream and wetland maps, restoration information, and monitoring results with land use, transportation, and other information important to the state’s wetlands.

California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) (Project)

CRAM is a standardized, scientifically defensible rapid assessment method for monitoring the ecological conditions of wetlands throughout California. Because it is standardized, one can compare ecological conditions of wetlands locally, regionally and statewide.

Russian River Watershed Projects at the San Francisco Estuary Institute (Project)

Our projects in the Russian River Watershed help us to understand our past, understand our present, and envision our future. Learn more about what SFEI is doing in partnership with others to advance our scientific understanding of this valuable landscape.

Photo credit: Kingmond Young

Flood Control 2.0 Wins an Outstanding Environmental Project Award! (News)

The Flood Control 2.0 project team was presented with an Outstanding Environmental Project Award at the 13th Biennial State of the Estuary Conference in Oakland, CA. The award is given by the Friends of the San Francisco Estuary to projects that benefit the San Francisco-Bay Delta Estuary and its watersheds.

Santa Clara Valley Water District Priority D5 Project's Watershed Condition Assessments (2010 to 2018) (Project)

SFEI and the Santa Clara Valley Water District's Priority D-5 Project are assessing the distribution and abundance of wetlands, and the overall condition of streams in five major watersheds in Santa Clara County, CA by employing the District's Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Framework that includes BAARI and CRAM.

New data layers and Landscape Profile mode added to EcoAtlas (News)

New data layers and Landscape Profile mode have been added to EcoAtlas (ecoatlas.org), an online tool for visualizing the abundance, diversity, and condition of wetlands, along with the project activities that are affecting the landscape. Enhancements include:

Flood Control 2.0 Completed! (News)

SFEI and several agency partners recently completed a multi-year, EPA funded project called Flood Control 2.0. The goal of the project was to develop information that is useful for integrating habitat restoration into flood management at the Bay edge. Project outputs are now available at floodcontrol.sfei.org.

Flood Control 2.0 (Project)

Flood Control 2.0 is an ambitious regional effort aimed at helping restore stream and wetland habitats, water quality, and shoreline resilience around San Francisco Bay. The project leverages local resources from several forward-looking flood control agencies to redesign major flood control channels so that they provide both future flood conveyance and ecological benefit under a changing climate. This timely project will develop a set of innovative approaches for bringing environmental benefits and cost-savings to flood protection efforts at the mouths of creeks that drain to San Francisco Bay.

How Creeks Meet the Bay: Current Sediment Dynamics (News)

The transition zones between our watersheds and the Bay are often occupied by flood control channels that provide a variety of societal and environmental services but can require sediment removal to maintain flood conveyance capacity. The causes of sedimentation problems in these channels are often complex, driven in large part by a combination of high watershed sediment yield and excess tidal sediment accumulation due to decreased tidal scour.

Get on the curve: Habitat Development Curves help determine the performance of on-the-ground projects (News)

How do you know whether your project assessment, conducted by the California Rapid Assessment Method, reflects an improvement that is aligned with ecosystem goals? Habitat Development Curves (HDCs) help to visualize and measure the performance of on-the-ground projects relative to ecosystem goals.

CRAM Bar-Built Estuarine (BBE) module now available to expand the applicability of CRAM (News)

With funding from the State Coastal Conservancy, SFEI staff developed the eCRAM data entry forms for uploading BBE assessments into the CRAM database. Public assessments can be viewed on EcoAtlas' interactive map and downloaded using the CRAM filter tool.

Evaluation of CRAM performance for assessing wetland stress, small wetlands, and wetland habitat development (Project)

Caltrans funded this wetlands research to fill important gaps in knowledge about the ability of the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) to assess small wetlands, wetlands stress, and the rate at which wetland restoration projects develop into mature habitats. Caltrans proposed specific tasks based on the research priorities provided by the CRAM Commitee of the statewide California Wetlands Monitoring Workgroup.

Napa River Watershed Profile (Project)

SFEI partnered with the Napa County Resource Conservation District and the Napa County Farm Bureau to develop a watershed-based framework for addressing agricultural management challenges related to improving the health of the Napa River ecosystem. In particular, the project sought to identify possible adaptive management measures that could allow the State Water Board to declare the Napa River unimpaired under section 303(d) of the US Clean Water Act.

Alameda Creek Watershed Sediment Forum (Project)

Alameda Creek is the largest watershed in the Bay area draining approximately 650 square miles of the East Bay interior hills and valleys, including the Livermore-Amador and Sunol valleys. The creek then cuts through the East Bay Hills via Niles Canyon before flowing across its large alluvial fan and floodplain complex, ultimately discharging into the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay. Average annual rainfall in the watershed varies from 24 inches on Mt Hamilton at an elevation of 4,400 ft above sea level to 15 inches near the Bay margin in Fremont.

North Coast WRAMP Demonstration: Mapping Standards (Project)

The North Coast WRAMP Demonstation Project focused on mapping and assessing the condition of aquatic resources within the Santa Rosa Plain, CA using GIS based mapping protocols consistent with BAARI.  A new regional Mapping Standards Methodology (NCARI) was developed to add regional wetland types not covered in BAARI's documentation. 

Statewide Wetland Tracking, Science, and Policy Development Support (Project)

SFEI’s Wetland Science Focus Area’s Director, Josh Collins, is a leader in the coordination of statewide science advisory teams and acquiring funding to develop monitoring and assessment tools that support the State’s Wetland and Riparian Area Protection Policy.

Tahoe WRAMP Demonstration: Watershed Assessment (Project)

The Tahoe WRAMP Watershed Demontration Project transfered statewide wetland monitoring and asseement tools to Sierra Nevada environmental agencies and organizations through a pilot project that assessed the distribution and abundance of wetlands, and the overall ecologcial condition of streams in two watersheds within the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Santa Rosa Plain Wetlands Profile: A Demonstration of WRAMP (Project)

The Santa Rosa Plain WRAMP project demonstrated the use of the State’s standardized monitoring and assessment tools in a North Coast watershed setting and described how the results can support watershed based management and planning decisions to protect and manage the state’s wetlands at a landscape scale. 

California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM): Bar-Built Estuarine Wetlands (Project)

 The CRAM Bar-Built Estuarine module is used for assessing reaches of coastal rivers and streams that are ecologically influenced by seasonal closures of their tidal inlets. 

California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM): Slope Wetlands (Project)

CRAM is a cost-effective and scientifically defensible rapid assessment method for monitoring and assessing the ecologcial conditions of wetlands throughout California. It takes less than half a day to assess a wetland area, and is designed evaluate the condition of the wetland based on it's landscape setting, hydrology, physical structure and biological structure.  Because the methodology is standardized for over seven types of wetlands, ecological condition scores can be compared at the local, regional and statewide landscape scales.