What We Do
CEMAR undertakes research, planning, and stakeholder facilitation projects with the intent of balancing conservation and restoration with other beneficial uses such as water supply and flood protection. We work across the public sector with individual jurisdictions, interest-based coalitions, and State and Federal agencies to establish scientifically-sound management directions.
Restoration of steelhead trout
will not only preserve this species for future generations, it will also focus people and policy toward rehabilitating California's coastal streams.
A viable steelhead population is an indicator of the ecological health of a watershed, providing an easily understood metric for assessing the impact of human activities.
You can't live in California without being aware of conflicts around water. Many people assume that if we're going to restore streams and their aquatic life, humans are going to have to do with less water for our farms and our homes.
CEMAR's conservation hydrology program
is demonstrating that there is enough water for people and the environment.
By using scientific methods to understand the natural flow regime of California's streams, and how the flora and fauna of our region have evolved with natural variations, we are discovering that humans can obtain water for our homes and farms while minimizing ecological impacts.
There is a broad public consensus that protecting the "integrity" or the "health" of the nation's ecosystems is a worthy goal, particularly given the evidence of adverse impacts caused by human activities. This consensus is reflected in our major environmental laws. But how do we know if we're achieving this important goal?
CEMAR's ecological indicators program
has been working to answer this question, which is actually more challenging than one might think.
The challenge is that "health" is not an objective characteristic that can be measured, but a subjective assessment made by considering the status of indicators of important ecosystem attributes.