SGMA and Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Services

As part of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), local groundwater basins are required to ensure that groundwater management does not adversely affect groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs). GDEs are ecosystems that require groundwater to meet at least some of their water requirements. GDEs occur in a variety of different environments ranging from seeps and springs, to groundwater-dependent wetlands, to river corridors enriched by groundwater or groundwater/surface water exchange. Examples of GDEs include steelhead dependent upon groundwater to maintain sufficiently low water temperatures in Northern California streams and native riparian vegetation along the Santa Clara River.

Since our inception, Stillwater Sciences has been engaged in river and riparian restoration and management. As a team, Stillwater Science has a great depth of experience classifying and mapping wetland and riparian vegetation, assessing ecological effects of instream flows, modeling hydrologic and aquatic habitat effects of management actions, as well as modeling stream temperatures. These are some of the critical tools necessary for mapping and evaluating the distribution and health of GDEs. Our biologists work alongside physical scientists and as a team, excel at linking physical and biological processes. We understand the importance of communication among practitioners, experts, agency personnel and other stakeholders. As a common practice, we convene technical advisory committees and facilitate outreach meetings with local stakeholders. Below we outline four example projects that highlight our project experience and linkages with GDEs and key staff for GDE studies. 

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Linked vegetation community distribution and composition to groundwater surface water interactions.

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Christian Braudrick
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Bruce Orr
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