Relative Watershed Condition Index - California Integrated Assessment of Watershed Health

Aug 22, 2016 (Last modified May 5, 2017)
Description:
Relative Watershed Condition index scores for California catchments are displayed in Figure 10. Regional patterns in Relative Watershed Condition include:
  • Highest scores are concentrated in the Sierra Nevada, Modoc, Mojave Desert, and Colorado Desert regions. Not surprisingly, this includes some of California’s least inhabited areas. Headwater watersheds of the Sierra Nevada are critical sources of water for the Sacramento and San Juan Rivers. Protecting these watersheds from landscape degradation will maintain their function and increase the resilience of downstream ecosystems to pressures from climate change and anthropogenic stress.
  • Large patches of moderate to high condition areas are apparent in the North Coast, Central Coast, and South Coast regions. Many of these patches are surrounded by low scoring areas and may harbor high-quality aquatic ecosystems that have not yet been impacted by surrounding landscape disturbance. Protecting watershed condition in such areas is important for preserving remaining high-quality waters and facilitating restoration of nearby degraded waters.
  • Low scoring areas occur throughout the Central Valley and in the vicinity of the Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco metro areas. Low scores are also concentrated in Salinas Valley, Imperial and Coachella Valleys, and the Upper Klamath watershed. These areas are dominated by urban and/or agricultural cover. 
Although Relative Watershed Condition scores are in line with patterns of human activity across the state, the index provides information tailored to watershed protection planning that is not offered by a simple map of land cover or human population. By incorporating indicators of land cover configuration and resource connectivity, the index presents a view of locations where ecological infrastructure is intact and able to support healthy aquatic ecosystems.
Data Provided By:
CALIFORNIA INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT OF WATERSHED HEALTH November 2013 EPA 841-R-14-003 Prepared by The Cadmus Group, Inc. for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Support for this project was provided by the U.S. EPA Healthy Watersheds Initiative (http://www.epa.gov/healthywatersheds)

This document was prepared by The Cadmus Group, Inc. under contract with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Water, Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds. The following individuals are acknowledged for their contributions to project planning, data acquisition, and review of draft materials:  Lilian Busse, San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board  Terry Fleming, US EPA Region 9  Laura Gabanski, US EPA Office of Water  Max Gomberg, State Water Resources Control Board  John Hunt, University of California, Davis  Kris Jones, California Department of Water Resources  Karen Larsen, State Water Resources Control Board  Jon Marshack, State Water Resources Control Board  Owen McDonough, US EPA Office of Water  Peter Ode, California Department of Fish and Wildlife  Dave Paradies  Fraser Shilling, University of California, Davis  Eric Stein, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project  Tom Suk, Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board  Lori Webber, State Water Resources Control Board  Karen Worcester, Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
Content date:
2013
Citation:
CALIFORNIA INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT OF WATERSHED HEALTH November 2013 EPA 841-R-14-003 Prepared by The Cadmus Group, Inc. for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Support for this project was provided by the U.S. EPA Healthy Watersheds Initiative (http://www.epa.gov/healthywatersheds)
Spatial Resolution:
Watershed Catchments
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not specified
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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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