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Watershed Management

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The Watershed Management Program provides scientifically-based education to maintain viable natural resource management and agricultural production while conserving, protecting, and restoring watershed function. Specific areas of program research and education include: point and nonpoint source pollution management, and links between agricultural and natural resource management practices and watershed beneficial uses. Through this program, the Watershed Advisor collaborates with landowners, watershed-planning groups, and government agencies to develop and implement scientifically sound watershed management plans and policies.

Contact: David Lewis, Watershed Management Advisor, (707) 565-2621, djllewis@ucdavis.edu

Know Your Watershed
A watershed is a geographic area that captures, stores, and releases water. Captured water comes in the form of rain, snow, and, in our coastal watersheds, fog. It can be stored in lakes, ponds, and subsurface soils and geologic formations. Rivers and streams, as well as groundwater flow, then release this water. The United States Geological Survey formally catalogs the nation's watersheds into Hydrologic Unit Codes. These codes are used by resource agencies to identify specific watersheds where they are conducting research or setting policy. You can locate your watershed and obtain its code through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) site, Surf your Watershed
and the California Rivers Assessment.

Total Maximum Daily Loads
One of the most prominent and far reaching water quality policy tools that exist for watersheds are Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). These are used by Regional Water Quality Control Boards and the US EPA to identify watersheds with impaired beneficial uses, and to develop plans to mitigate impairments. Brief descriptions of TMDLs are provided by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. A summary of water quality regulations and the role of TMDLs for California's future water policy is available through the California State Library. For information on watershed research, see the Sonoma County Watershed Management Project.