Russian River Regional Monitoring Program: Comprehensive Basemap of Surface Waters and Riparian Areas
This project will build on existing projects funded by the CA State Water Board, Ocean Protection Council, Sonoma Ecology Center, and Sonoma County to produce a basemap of aquatic resources, using the updated Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI), including at-risk waters and their riparian areas, to support the Russian River Regional Monitoring Program (R3MP). The main tasks of the project are to:
- Produce a new Geodatabase of the Aquatic Resources for the Russian River Watershed (RRW) and Sonoma County by piloting the updated CARI SOP; and
- Map riparian areas of the RRW, based on the riparian definition supporting the new Dredge and Fill Procedures of the State Water Board.
This CARI SOP is being update by the new Statewide Mapping Committee of the CA Wetland Monitoring Workgroup (CWMW), while filling basic information gaps about the distribution, abundance, and diversity of aquatic and riparian habitats of the RRW. The new CARI dataset is needed to implement the Sonoma County Riparian Corridor Protection Ordinance. It will also be used as the basemap for the planned online public R3MP GIS for sharing, visualizing, and summarizing environmental data in the watershed context.
The R3MP was established in 2019 by the formation of its current Steering Committee (SC), which represents fifteen public agencies largely responsible for the wellbeing of the people and wildlife of the Russian River Watershed (RRW). The R3MP SC has since published a detailed R3MP Charter, prioritized two Management Questions that drive the Program, established a standing Technical Advisory Team (TAC) of state and regional experts to recommend and guide the science and technology needed to address the Management Questions, secured funding from the CA Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) to develop the R3MP science plan through the TAC, and is leveraging other projects to build partnerships that will serve the RRW’s many interests. The two-co-equal Management Questions are: 1) What are the status and trends of biostimulation in the watershed? 2) What are the status and trends of stream habitat in the watershed?
Funding from the State Water Board is being used to support the initial tasks of the TAC, including identification and prioritization of habitat condition and eutrophication indicators; identification of data needed to quantify the indicators; and identification and prioritization of data gaps. While the TAC is still undertaking these tasks, some gaps in fundamentally important data have been identified. Two of these gaps are the incomplete maps of RRW surface waters and riparian areas. A related project funded by the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is quantifying these gaps by assembling existing data for R3MP TAC review. Completing these datasets is essential to account for the inputs of light and the loads of sediment, nutrients, and other materials that strongly affect stream habitat and biostimulatory conditions. These maps will be completed using the updated CARI SOP and the Riparian Zone Estimator Tool (RipZET) of WRAMP, with ongoing advice and review by the R3MP TAC. RipZET output will be compared to existing riparian maps produced for portions of the RRW using other methods to understand their relative limitations and benefits. Based on this comparison, the R3MP TAC will recommend future changes in riparian mapping for the RRW.
The new CARI dataset will serve as the basemap for the planned online R3MP GIS for data and information aggregation, sharing, and visualization. To support the R3MP online GIS, this Project will train map stewards in local agencies and NGOs to revise and update the basemap, using the existing CARI Online Editor. In addition, to help track changes in aquatic resources due to local, state, and federal permitted actions, and to otherwise support R3MP implementation, selected staff within the member agencies of the R3MP SC will be trained to use additional WRAMP tools, namely Project Tracker, Landscape Profile Tool, and Mitigation Planning Tool. It is anticipated that the map stewards and WRAMP tool trainees will be selected by the R3MP SC, with input from the TAC.
2022 to 2024
Matt St. John, R3MP Co-Chair (RB1)
Andy Rodgers, R3MP Co-Chair (RRWA)
Programs and Focus Areas:
Environmental Informatics Program
Geographic Information Systems
Resilient Landscapes Program
Wetland Monitoring & Assessment
Watershed Science & Management