Using the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) to Quantify Riverine Riparian Condition in Santa Clara County Watersheds

4:30 - 5:30

The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s (District) Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program includes a priority project to assess stream ecosystem conditions at a watershed scale to make informed landscape-based asset management decisions. The District collaborated with the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) to conduct watershed-wide stream and riparian condition surveys throughout Santa Clara County in order to characterize and track the distribution, abundance, and condition of its creeks, rivers, riparian, and wetland habitats. Employing the U.S. EPA’s 3-level monitoring and assessment framework, the District has implemented a watershed approach to monitoring and tracking ecological stream conditions. The overall ecological condition of the District’s streams, wetlands, and adjacent riparian areas were assessed using the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM), a Generalized Random Tessellation Stratified (GRTS) survey design, and other GIS-based riparian analysis tools. Within each watershed, a GIS-based Riparian Zone Estimation Tool (RipZET) was run to estimate the amount and distribution of riparian areas based on vegetation and hillslope processes.