Sarah Pearce's picture

Sarah Pearce

Geomorphologist
Clean Water Program
Wetland Monitoring & Assessment
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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Coyote Creek Watershed Historical Ecology Study (Project)

This report synthesizes historical evidence into a picture of how Coyote Creek looked and functioned before intensive modification. Prepared for the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the report helps explain contemporary landscape conditions and identify options for watershed restoration, natural flood protection, and integrated water management.

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. 

Napa Valley Historical Ecology Atlas (Project)

The Napa Valley Historical Ecology Atlas takes readers on a richly illustrated tour of the iconic Napa Valley landscape from 200 years ago to the present and future.

Using the pioneering SFEI Historical Ecology approach, the Atlas challenges many preconceived notions about the nature of California landscapes, and suggests strategies to increase the health and resilience of local watersheds based on an understanding of how natural systems function. The Atlas is designed to support a broad range of local efforts for ecological restoration and watershed stewardship in Napa Valley, while providing a new and accessible model for historical ecology studies in other regions.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.