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 Watersheds and Wetlands group within the Resilient Landscapes program. Over the previous 20 years, 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 as sediment supply, 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. Ms. Pearce is also the training coordinator for the state for the California Rapid Assessment Method for wetlands (CRAM) (www.cramwetlands.org), and a member of the statewide Level 2 Committee which oversees CRAM and other rapid assessment methods. She is one of the most tenured practitioners and trainers in the state, with experience in all wetland types.

Related Projects, News, and Events

Get on the curve: Habitat Development Curves help determine the performance of on-the-ground projects (News)

How do you know if the ecological conditions of your wetland project are aligned with expected rates of improvement? 

Russian River Regional Monitoring Program: Comprehensive Basemap of Surface Waters and Riparian Areas (Project)

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:

Vernal Pool Habitat Restoration and Protection CRAM Tools for the Central Valley, CA (Project)

The California Wetland Program Plan (WPP) seeks to strengthen protection for wetlands in many ways, including building capacity to track the net benefits of wetland policies and programs by employing aspects of the State’s Wetlands and Riparian Area Monitoring Plan (WRAMP).

Baylands Change Basemap (Project)

The Baylands Change Basemap will update the existing map of tidal marsh, tidal flats and diked baylands to incorporate the many changes in baylands distribution and abundance that have occurred over the last two decades. It will also include new information about land use and infrastructure that affects baylands restoration and management constraints and opportunities. To ensure the map is as up-to-date as possible, the project will develop procedures for ongoing local updates and change detection to cost-effectively maintain the basemap’s high value. 

New Delta Habitat Map! (News)

The Delta Aquatic Resource Inventory (DARI) is a map of surface waters, wetlands and other aquatic resources in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. A similar mapping approach used to create the Bay Area Aquatic Resource Inventory (BAARI) was applied to complete a consistent map across the larger San Francisco Estuary. Both DARI and BAARI are integrated into the California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI), which serves as the basemap in EcoAtlas.

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.

Preparing for the Storm (Project)

Catalyzed by the extensive damages caused by the Winter 2016-2017 storms and the opportunity to align flood response with major habitat improvement, Preparing for the Storm is an innovative public-private partnership to improve watershed health and resilience in the Alameda Creek watershed.

10-year Reassessment of Streams in the Coyote Creek Watershed (News)

SFEI and the Santa Clara Valley Water District just completed a report characterizing the amount, diversity, and distribution of aquatic resources in the Coyote Creek watershed, and the overall ecological conditions of streams in the watershed. The 2020 ambient stream condition reassessment survey used a watershed approach and the California Rapid Assessment Method (or CRAM) to compare the amount of stream miles in good, fair, and poor condition among the Hills and Valley regions as well as differences between a 2010 baseline survey and the 2020 reassessment.

Santa Clara Valley Water District Priority D5 Project's Watershed Condition Assessments (2010 to present) (Project)

https://www.valleywater.org/project-updates/2012-d5-ecological-data-collection-and-analysisSFEI 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 to assess the overall ecological conditions 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 watershed aproach that includes the use of GIS-base maps of aquatice resources (BAARI), and spatially-balanced ambient stream condition surveys using CRAM.

EcoAtlas (Project)

EcoAtlas is a set of tools for generating, assembling, storing, visualizing, sharing, and reporting environmental data and information.

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.

Sediment for Survival report released (News)

SFEI worked with local, state, and federal science experts to develop the new Sediment for Survival report. The report provides a regional sediment strategy aimed at examining the future of sediment in the Bay and informing sediment management for the resilience of tidal marshes and tidal flats to climate change.

Sediment for Survival (Project)

The tidal marshes and tidal flats along the San Francisco Bay shoreline depend on sediment delivered by the tides. Healthy sediment supplies are essential for maintaining resilient marshes and tidal flats that can persist into the future and build up as sea level continues to rise. Currently, the sediment supply in the Bay is adequate to meet the sediment needed by tidal marshes and tidal flats. However, as sea level rise accelerates in the coming decades, the sediment needed for these habitats to survive will increase considerably.

“Towards a Coarse Sediment Strategy for the Bay Area” completed! (News)

The release of “Towards a Coarse Sediment Strategy for the Bay Area” represents a step forward towards beneficially reusing coarse flood control channel sediment by outlining reuse challenges, and identifying incentives for participation and potential solutions.

Coordinated Mapping: How various efforts can work together (News)

SFEI is coordinating the mapping for two inventories of surface waters, wetlands and other aquatic resources in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and along California’s coast. Both efforts will apply the California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI) standardized mapping methods and the final map will be integrated into EcoAtlas and made publicly available.

Coyote Creek Native Ecosystem Enhancement Tool (Project)

The Coyote Creek Native Ecosystem Enhancement Tool (CCNEET, neet. ecoatlas.org) is an online decision-support tool to identify opportunities to improve ecological conditions. CCNEET was inspired by the need for a watershed approach to environmental resource management. Available ecological and environmental information is synthesized by objectives, management questions, and enhancement actions to identify and justify potential habitat improvements along the creek corridor. The overarching goal of CCNEET is to help coordinate habitat conservation and enhancement along so that multiple projects and limited funding can result in meaningful ecological improvement.

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.

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.