The Tahoe WRAMP Demonstration Project piloted the state's wetland monitoring and assessment framework for assessing the distribution and abundance of wetlands and the overall condition of streams (and their riparian areas) in two watersheds within the Lake Tahoe Basin (Third Creek watershed in Nevada, and the Upper Truckee River watershed in California - see Figure 2). The California Wetland Monitoring Workgroup's Tenets of a State Wetland and Riparian Area Monitoring Plan's (WRAMP) toolset includes standardized methods to map aquatic resources and assess their ecological condition within the state and was developed to support the monitoring component of the California Wetland and Riparian Area Protection Policy.
The Tahoe demonstration watersheds were selected for their relatively large size, ease of access, abundant watershed information, implemented restoration projects, stakeholder support, and state representation (one each in California and Nevada). The main purpose of the project was to transfer the state's standardized wetland monitoring and assessment tools (wetland mapping protocols, rapid assement methods, and online data managment and wetland project managment services) to Tahoe agencies and stakeholders.
Project tasks included:
- Transferring the aquatic resource mapping methodologies to Tahoe agencies, based on the Bay Area Aquatic Resources Inventory (BAARI), and further developing the methods for sloped wetlands and other aquatic features found in the Sierra Nevada region. The mapping methods are documented in the Tahoe Aquatic Resources Inventory Mapping Standards and Methodologies (or TARI Mapping Standards).
- Conducting two 5-day rapid assessment method trainings using the California Rapid Assessment Method for streams (CRAM) in the Tahoe area to train regional ecologists who then assisted in more than 60 riverine CRAM assessments within the two demonstration watersheds.
- Developing a probability based stream assessment sampling designs based on the EPA’s Generalized Random Tessellation Stratified (GRTS) spatially-balanced sampling methods.
- Assessing and reporting on the distribution, abundance, diversity, and condition of wetlands, streams, and their riparian areas within the two watersheds based on the level-1 aquatic resources base map and the CRAM stream assessments.
- Adding several wetland restoration projects and their associated documents to the EcoAtlas Project Tracker.
Collins J.N., S. Lowe, M. Klatt, T. Tyler, H. Schembi, S. Romsos, J. Brewster, and T. York (2013). Final Report: Demonstration Watershed Assessment for the Tahoe Basin Using the Wetland and Riparian Area Monitoring Plan. Revised April 11, 2014. USEPA Grant No. CD-00T54401-2. San Francisco Estuary Institute, Richmond, CA. SFEI Contribution No. 703.
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SFEI and the Santa Clara Valley Water District's (Valley Water) Priority D-5 Project have been conducting baseline ecological condition assessments in Santa Clara County, CA to characterize the distribution and abundance of stream and wetlands in five major watersheds, and assess the overall ecological condition of streams in the watersheds based on the California Rapic Assessment Method for streams (CRAM). The surveys employ the state's recommended Wetland and Riparian Area Monitoring Plan's aproach that includes the use of GIS-base maps of aquatice resources (BAARI), and spatially-balanced ambient stream surveys using CRAM.
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.
This project will create an EcoAtlas user community for the Lahontan region of the Sierra Nevada to develop capacities within the region to apply EcoAtlas through existing local, regional, state, and federal programs to track projects and summarize map-based and rapid assessment information at the watershed scale.
The California Aquatic Resources Inventory (CARI) is a Geographic Information System (GIS) based map of wetlands, streams, and riparian areas within California that is hosted online through EcoAtlas.