SFEI hosts and manages the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) website that features statewide support for CRAM data managment, training, documentation, and reporting tools to monitor and assess over seven kinds of wetlands using standardized rapid assessment protocols developed by the CRAM Steering Committee (Level-2 Committee) that was appointed by the California Wetland Monitoring Workgroup (CWMW). The Level-2 Committee meets quarterly to review and maintain CRAM's field manuals, training procedures, data management, and reporting tools. The L-2 Committee is chaired by a staff member from the State Water Board and includes wetland scientists and technical staff from state and federal agencies with regulatory or managmeent responsibility for the health of aquatic resources as well as from academia and other scientific organizations across the state.
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 its 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.
CRAM can also be used to assess the performance of compensatory mitigation projects and restoration projects. The easy-to-use, online data entry forms ensures that all of the appropriate site information and field data associated with CRAM assessments can be archived online and access by environmental managers, planners, and stakeholders to inform wetland managment and planning decisions. The ability to draw the CRAM assessment area online using an aerial image of the site, makes it easy for CRAM practitioners to enter their site information making it available on EcoAtlas (if allowed by the landowner).
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.
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.
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.