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Northern California water supply: Meadow restoration for adaption to climate change

Funding Year: 
2009
Region(s): 
North America
Research Areas: 
Climate
Natural Capital
Freshwater
Principal Investigators: 

In an average year in Northern California, the Feather River watershed provides flow equal to 40 percent of reservoir storage in the State Water Project system, which supplies water to 20 million people and 660,000 acres of irrigated farmland. At the headwaters of the watershed are mountain meadows that buffer floodwaters and store and release groundwater, but over the past 150 years virtually all of the meadows have dried up due to human activities. Using airborne and satellite remote sensing, field data analysis and ecosystem service modeling, researchers will evaluate meadow restoration as an effective adaptation tool to combat climate change, develop a method to screen meadows as candidates for restoration and quantify changes in ecosystem services.