Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, Ecological Benefits Assessment

Central Valley, CA
Quantifying the Benefits of Habitat Restoration

The flood system in California’s Central Valley is among the world’s most extensive human landscape interventions, comprised of 1,500 miles of levees, 200,000 acres of floodways, and intersecting 18,000 parcel easements. The State of California Department of Water Resources (DWR) utilizes an integrated solutions approach to flood management which considers a highly diverse range of criteria to ensure that the system’s performance and the stakeholders’ needs are successfully met.

An essential part of DWR’s integrated solutions approach is the restoration of native riparian habitats to support target species and promote ecological function. Knot Studio co-led the development of a custom ecological model, which helped DWR evaluate numerous options for potential restoration actions throughout the Central Valley. To quantify ecological benefits required to secure federal funding, Knot Studio developed a two-part model that integrated core principles of landscape ecology to quantify the differential benefits to species partially based on project location. This resulted in sensitive quantified outputs that reflected the proximity of the proposed habitat to key population sources of target species.

For a deeper look, see our case study.

California Department of Water Resources