Sierra to the Sea: Interactive Website
California depends on its watersheds, not only for clean drinking water, but also for food, business, and almost every aspect of economic and environmental health. California Water from the Sierra to the Sea describes the journey of water in California, which typically begins as snow in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The online interactive tool created by faculty in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources explains how California snowmelt travels through various ecosystems, as well as storage and conveyance systems, before eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean.
UC Davis faculty explore issues that affect the management of water in California (listed in order of appearance):
- Professor Cort Anastasio, an atmospheric chemist, addresses the effects of climate change on California’s water supply.
- Professor Graham Fogg discusses research on groundwater as a potential solution for expanding California’s water storage capacity.
- Professor Minghua Zhang talks about the effects of various forms of crop irrigation on surface water runoff and water quality.
- Professor Jan Hopmans discusses research on mitigating the effects of leaching salts from alluvial soils to prevent water contamination.
Jeffrey Mount, Department of Geology, informs listeners on challenges facing
the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the hub of California’s water supply.
- Professor Susan Ustin discusses research on invasive waterweeds in the Delta.
- Professor Peter Moyle, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, describes the effect of California water management on salmon and other native fish, many of which are now listed as threatened or endangered species.
The Sierra to the Sea project was financed by grants from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Kearney Foundation of Soil Science, and through support by the UC Davis Department of Land, Air and Water Resources (LAWR) and the John Muir Institute of the Environment (JMIE). Professor Randy Dahlgren, LAWR chair, created the first Sierra to the Sea teaching module in 2006 for presentation at a research conference, as well as for classroom and other uses. With additional funding, Dahlgren and former LAWR chair Jan Hopmans expanded the project to include interviews with experts, with the ultimate goal of producing a 30-minute PBS documentary.
The Department of Land, Air and Water Resources is a multidisciplinary department with faculty who specialize in atmospheric, plant, resource, soil and water science, hydrology, and water engineering. Teaching and research focus on both agricultural and environmental science.