How are we doing? Developing a watershed scorecard for the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds

Publication Type  Conference Presentation
Authors  Frances Knapczyk, Napa County Resource Conservation District; Caitlin Cornwall, Sonoma Ecology Center
Secondary Authors  Deanne DiPietro; Chris Farrar; Elisabeth Micheli; Kat Ridolfi; Peter Vorster; Alex Young; Robert Zlomke;
Affiliations  Sonoma Ecology Center; Napa County Resource Conservation District; The Bay Institute; US Geological Survey; San Francisco Estuary Institute
Year  2009
Key Words  Sonoma Creek; Indicators; Targets; Watershed health; Water supply

The Sonoma Creek and Napa River communities share a need for tools that focus attention on watershed management, describe current conditions and trends, and provide a common vocabulary for discussing natural resource stewardship in their watersheds. To meet this need, we are developing a “Watershed Health Scorecard,” a simple one-page report card, modeled after the San Francisco Bay Index, on the condition of our natural resources, backed by the best science available. The first focus for each watershed's Scorecard was water supply. We selected five indices to answer the question: how is the watershed doing at providing enough water, now and in the future, for people and nature? Each index is composed of one or more indicators, which will be scored for the 2007 water year based on a reference condition or management target. The data and science behind the scores will be posted in detail on the web. We learned several lessons from developing the Scorecard in two watersheds simultaneously. For example, for optimum transferability, indices should be designed to adapt to the data and characteristics of individual watersheds, because we found that available data and ecosystem drivers varied considerably, even in two adjacent watersheds. We discovered that index and indicator selection is the biggest hurdle in creating the scorecard. Another challenge lies in accounting for, and reporting transparently, uncertainties in scores and trends. We hope the Scorecards will be re-scored regularly in the future, to facilitate better watershed management.

Conference Name  2009 State of the Laguna Conference and Science Symposium
Presentation Type: 
In Work
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