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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The Information Center for the Environment does research and development on environmental information systems, especially for biodiversity, land use, and water quality. To do so, it has formed partnerships with over 30 state, federal, and international agencies and a variety of environmental and land management organizations. The Center hosts a number of public environmental and natural resource databases, most available over the Internet, and provides technical support to decision makers in a number of areas of public policy. Currently funded research topics include, biodiversity in parks and reserves, invasive species, water quality in rivers, sources and management practices for non-point-source water pollution, protection of drinking water, watershed assessment and monitoring, floodplain restoration, land use planning and law, and stakeholder processes for watershed protection, as well as research into the next generation of remote sensing, geographic analysis, and semantic web technologies. The Center also provides Geographic Information System data and spatial technology tool development for a variety of other research projects in ecology and natural resource management at the University of California and among state and federal agencies in California. Center staff include individuals with many years of experience teaching technology and science-based courses, including Land Use Planning, Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Spatial Analysis, and Watershed Analysis.

Information Center for the Environment

There are 33 publications in this collection, published between 1995 and 2015.
Information Center for the Environment Publications (33)

A Review of Lessons Learned through the RAMP Working Group, Addendum to the Draft Statewide Framework

This document is a review of insights and lessons learned in the years since the RAMP working group developed its Draft Statewide Framework (AECOM 2012). It has been developed by the University of California, Davis (UCD), and is intended primarily to supply additional perspective to Caltrans, through a synthesis of information gathered during an impact analysis for a pilot project, from a series of interviews with agency personnel, from a project developed for the Transportation Research Board by UCD, and from ongoing discussions in RAMP’s multi-agency working group.

Development and application of downscaled hydroclimatic predictor variables for use in climate vulnerability and assessment studies.

This paper outlines the production of 270 meter grid‐scale maps for 14 climate and derivative

hydrologic variables for a region that encompasses the State of California and all the streams

that flow into it. The paper describes the Basin Characterization Model (BCM), a map‐based,

mechanistic model used to process the hydrological variables. Three historic and three future

time periods of 30 years (1911–1940, 1941–1970, 1971–2000, 2010–2039, 2040–2069, and 2070–

2099) were developed that summarize 180 years of monthly historic and future climate values.

These comprise a standardized set of fine‐scale climate data that were shared with 14 research

groups, including the U.S. National Park Service and several University of California groups as

part of this project. The paper presents three analyses done with the outputs from the Basin

Characterization Model: trends in hydrologic variables over baseline, the most recent 30‐year

period; a calibration and validation effort that uses measured discharge values from 139

streamgages and compares those to Basin Characterization Model‐derived projections of

discharge for the same basins; and an assessment of the trends of specific hydrological variables

that links historical trend to projected future change under four future climate projections.

Overall, increases in potential evapotranspiration dominate other influences in future

hydrologic cycles. Increased potential evapotranspiration drives decreasing runoff even under

forecasts with increased precipitation, and drives increased climatic water deficit, which may

lead to conversion of dominant vegetation types across large parts of the study region, as well

as have implications for rain‐fed agriculture. The potential evapotranspiration is driven by air

temperatures, and the Basin Characterization Model permits it to be integrated with a water

balance model that can be derived for landscapes and summarized by watershed. These results

show the utility of using a process‐based model with modules representing different

hydrological pathways that can be interlinked.

On the uses of hyperspectral data analysis and watershed analytical methods to evaluate the extent of riparian vegetation and habitat in the Navarro River, California

The primary goal of this project was to test the feasibility of using high-spatial resolution, Airborne visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) data to identify and assess riparian vegetation over an area with complex topography and land use. In particular, our goals were to use ecological field data to 1) provide a priori expectations of vegetation classifications, 2) serve as verification for spectral classification, and 3) to form a basis from which to nest the classification results within ongoing ecological research. The second aspect of this research was the use of watershed analytical methods to develop a classification of stream segments based on their macro-scale geomorphic properties. In particular, we used terrain-based algorithms to cluster stream segments to describe their geomorphic confinement. Lastly, to benefit longer-term and more broad scale vegetation mapping efforts throughout the region, we compared two vegetation data, the AVIRIS Riparian classification and CALVEG 2000, to determine which, if any, conclusions could be drawn from the examination.

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