We are actively involved in interdisciplinary research on sustainable water management in Mediterranean watersheds. This research draws on biology, hydrology, sociology, and economics to understand and model the linkages between land use change, water use, and freshwater ecosystem conditions. Our watershed research is focused on predicting the ecological consequences of land conversion, flow regime alterations, water regulations, and restoration.
In Sonoma County, North Coast California, we have developed a GIS decision-making tool to model the spatial and temporal dynamics and water supply and needs for both human and natural systems. This modeling framework makes it possible to assess the effects of alternative management strategies to human water security and ecosystem conditions and ultimately, facilitates integrated decision-making by resource agencies.
We have been involved in research on flood management in the San Francisco Bay Delta. Our primary goal is to identify areas suitable for floodplain restoration, quantify potential costs (e.g. loss of agricultural lands and development potential) and benefits (e.g., increased flood capacity, reduced risk of levee failure and enhanced freshwater ecosystem resilience), and prioritize site selection.