Towards a watershed-based Sonoma County climate adaptation strategy

Publication Type  Conference Presentation
Authors  Lisa Micheli
Affiliations  Pepperwood Foundation, 3450 Franz Valley Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Year  2009
Key Words  climate change adaptation; watershed assessments; Sonoma County

Preparing our watersheds for climate change (in terms of water supply, water quality, flooding, and habitat) requires estimating potential changes to climate, hydrology, and ecosystems based on the best science available at the watershed scale. This information is a critical starting point for understanding potential impacts to many sectors, including biodiversity, agriculture and transportation infrastructure. While Sonoma County leads the nation's local governments in the development of a coordinated greenhouse gas mitigation strategy (reducing greenhouse gases known to cause climate change), we need a parallel County coordination effort focused on climate adaptation (preventative measures aimed at reducing the eventual cumulative impact of climate change on resources of concern). This presentation will review new initiatives by the North Bay Watershed Association and The Sonoma County Water Agency to generate future climate scenarios by partnering with scientists working on cutting-edge climate change assessments. With these results, Sonoma County’s community of resource managers can begin to collaborate on climate adaptation strategies tailored to protect the hydrology, habitats, and local communities of Sonoma County watersheds.


Dr. Micheli has over 20 years experience applying her technical and policy expertise to the design and implementation of river and watershed restoration programs. She worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 (San Francisco) watershed program before completing her graduate work at UC Berkeley on the impact of riparian forests on river function. Her post-doctoral research at UC Davis on the Sacramento River helped to guide the Nature Conservancy’s large-scale restoration effort there. Since 2000 she has been based in Sonoma and contributing to the Sonoma Ecology Center’s comprehensive approach to the restoration of the Sonoma Valley watershed. She has also served as director of the Napa River’s Rutherford Reach restoration. She is the co-principal investigator of Water’s Edge, a regional climate change adaptation initiative in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences. Starting this fall, she will be helping to craft a climate and biodiversity research initiative for Sonoma County’s Pepperwood Foundation.

Conference Name  2009 State of the Laguna Conference and Science Symposium
Presentation Type: 
Micheli_Laguna_Pres_NBay_Clim_In_10_16_09.pdf1.5 MB