Strategy paper on improving Sierra Nevada watershed conservation efforts recently published.

Figure 1 from Viers & Rheinheimer 2011

On March 18, 2011, the journal Marine & Freshwater Research, published by Australia's national science agency CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), issued a special compendium on Conservation Management of Rivers and Wetlands under Climate Change. Scientists from the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences were invited to contribute to this international effort to bring attention to the combined impacts of climate altered hydrology and ecosytem response to water management actions. After rigorous peer review, a paper contributed by Dr. Joshua Viers and David Rheinheimer, a Doctoral Candidate in the Departement of Civil & Environmental Engineering, was selected for the special issue. Their contribution Freshwater conservation options for a changing climate in California’s Sierra Nevada.

Recommendations from their study for the Sierra Nevada include: implementing existing statutes with more rigor and with explicit anticipation of future conditions; developing and implementing systematic freshwater conservation plans at the local level, focusing on resilience to climate warming; the prioritization of watershed protection efforts to emphasize key regional objectives ; and forming regional planning agencies with regulatory authority at the watershed level. The overall results from this global effort suggested that extreme events, such as floods and droughts, will challenge water management even further at a time when increasing atmospheric temperatures are causing rivers around the world to change their flow patterns and existing management schemes have left little room for environmental improvement. "Rivers and wetlands are already degrading more than any other ecosystem – with growing impacts on global biodiversity and on human communities that depend on river flows", says the University of New South Wales Professor Richard Kingsford, Director of the Australian Wetlands and Rivers Centre, who edited the special issue.

The paper can be downloaded for personal use from the Center for Watershed Sciences e-Library: Viers & Rheinheimer 2011.