Sarah Lowe's picture

Sarah Lowe

Environmental Scientist
Senior Project Manager
Assistant to the Chief Scientist
Resilient Landscapes Program
Wetland Monitoring & Assessment
510-746-7384

Sarah joined the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (Bay-RMP) in 1994. During that time Sarah conducted science and managed projects and special studies related to contaminants, toxicity, and benthic ecology. Sarah later managed the Institute’s Data Management team, was the assistant Quality Assurance Officer, and Assistant Manager of the Bay-RMP for several years. In 2010 Sarah joined the Wetland Science Focus Area under the Resilient Landscapes Program and became a Senior Project Manager for projects whose focus is to support wetland monitoring and assessment using standardized science and technology in a watershed context for California's Wetland and Riparian Area Protection Policy. Ms. Lowe is the lead scientist at SFEI supporting an ongoing monitoring and assessment project with the Santa Clara Valley Water District's Safe Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program's- Priority D5 Project.  That project is establishing a baseline condition assessment that characterizes the amount, distribution, and ecological condition of streams and wetlands in its five major watersheds using the WRAMP Framework (which includes a watershed approach, probability based survey designs recommended by the USEPA, and the California Rapid Assessment Method for wetlands).  SFEI's Wetland Science Focus Area and Environmental Informatics Program staff coordinate with the California Wetland Monitoring Workgroup (a workgroup of the State's Water Quality Monitoring Council) to develop wetland monitoring protocols and online tools that support environmental data access, map-based visualization, and summaries about the distribution, abundance, and condition of aquatic resources across the state (EcoAtlas.org, CD3.org, and cramwetlands.org).  Ms. Lowe received her M.S. in Environmental Management from the University of San Francisco and B.A. in Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Related Projects, News, and Events

Delta Aquatic Resource Inventory (Project)

DARI is the Delta Aquatic Resources Inventory of surface waters, wetlands and other aquatic resources in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). The goal of the DARI project is to develop a geospatial inventory of aquatic resources that will be used as a common base map for the Delta. A similar mapping approach used to create the California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI) will be applied to provide a map of the aquatic resources and their associated attributes.

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.

SF Estuary Wetlands Regional Program Plan Released! (News)

The Wetland Regional Monitoring Program (WRMP) Plan has been released! The WRMP will improve wetland restoration project success by putting in place regional-scale monitoring increasing the impact, utility and application of permit-driven monitoring to inform science-based decision-making.

California Rapid Assessment Method for Wetlands (CRAM) Updates (News)

CRAM Training sessions for 2020 have been posted on the CRAM website.

Assessing Five Watersheds in Santa Clara County (News)

A new synthesis report characterizing the amount, distribution, and diversity of streams and wetlands within the County employing CARI, and an ambient survey of the overall ecological condition of streams employing CRAM.

Investigating the future of sediment in the San Francisco Bay (News)

SFEI scientists are currently working with regional partners and science advisors to assess the future sediment supply to the Bay and how that compares to the sediment needed for baylands to survive sea-level rise. Currently, baylands (tidal marshes and mudflats) are receiving enough sediment to keep pace with sea-level rise. However, sea-level rise is expected to accelerate in the coming decades, which could cause baylands to drown unless they get more sediment.

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.

Graphic: Linda Wanzyck

EcoAtlas: New CARI Editor and Modern Delta Habitat Types (News)

An accurate basemap is fundamental to watershed planning and assessments. The California Aquatic Resources Inventory, or CARI, offers such a basemap for aquatic resource identification and classification. But to keep it current and enhance its details, SFEI-ASC must leverage local knowledge. The new CARI Editor promotes regional stewardship and allows users to submit updates, deletions or new features for streams and wetlands.

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. 

Design by Linda Wanczyk

RipZET: A GIS-based Tool for Estimating Riparian Zones (Project)

The Riparian Zone Estimator Tool (RipZET) is a decision support tool developed by the San Francisco Estuary Institute and Aquatic Science Center for the California Riparian Habitat Joint Venture and the California Water Resources Control Board to assist in the visualization and characterization of riparian areas in the watershed context.

Petaluma Valley Historical Hydrology and Ecology Study (Project)

This project reconstructs the historical hydrology and ecology of the Petaluma River watershed prior to major Euro-American modification. It demonstrates the efficacy of historical hydrology and ecology in identifying and prioritizing multi-benefit restoration opportunities.

North Bay Mercury Biosentinel Monitoring (Project)

In 2011-2014 SFEI and UC Davis developed and implemented a multi-species biosentinel monitoring approach as an effective and efficient way of monitoring methylmercury exposure in wetland restoration projects across the North Bay. The monitoring design for this project was developed with input from a Science Advisory Group (SAG) of regional and national experts and input from local stakeholders, in order to build a design that would address questions of management concern.

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 (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.

Montezuma Technical Review Team (Project)

The Montezuma wetland restoration project is returning ~2,000 acres of diked baylands to tidal, seasonal, and managed wetlands in an eastern portion of Suisun Bay near the town of Collinsville, California in Solano County.

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.

Bay Area Aquatic Resource Inventory (BAARI) (Project)

The Bay Area Aquatic Resources Inventory (BAARI) is a GIS base map of the Bay Area's wetlands, open water, streams, ditches, tidal marshes and flats, and riparian areas. BAARI was developed using standardized mapping protocols to ensure that the level of detail and wetland classification system is standardized across the region. 

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.

SFEI is working with the Santa Clara Valley Water District to develop multi-benefit management tools (News)

In 2014, SFEI and the Santa Valley Water District launched a collaborative partnership aimed at sharing experience, knowledge and resources, and working toward a shared vision of watershed management. Through this partnership, the District has asked SFEI to develop a set of online tools to: 1) identify opportunities for multi-benefit management actions in and along the channels managed by the District; and 2) track the impacts of those actions towards meeting established management targets.

Developing a Sustainable Business Model for the EcoAtlas Toolset (Project)

This project is funded by a USEPA wetland development grant (2015-2017) to develop a recommended funding and business model for the EcoAtlas toolset.   EcoAtlas is a framework and toolset recommended in the State's Wetland and Riparian Area Monitoring Plan (WRAMP) of the California Wetland Monitoring Workgroup (CWMW). The tools enable users to visualize and assess the distribution, abundance, diversity, and condition of surface waters in a landscape or watershed context.  The Business Plan project is developing several overview and planning memos and a final, compiled recommendation for an EcoAtlas business plan. Those documents are made available here as they are completed.

Dashboards track cumulative benefits on the landscape (News)

EcoAtlas dashboards are comprehensive views of qualified information provided by Project Tracker and the California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI). These dynamic visualizations help measure the cumulative benefits of public policies and programs for California's aquatic resources.