WATER News & Events

Localizing California Waters Conference

Localizing California Waters Conference November 1 - 3, 2017 Yosemite CA For the 3rd year, OAEC will help to convene onsite water advocates, practitioners and regulators under one roof for 3 days in Yosemite. California is ripe for the confluence of people and organizations who work with onsite water reuse to have one strong voice. Let’s learn from each other…

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Compost Toilet Install Begins!

Compost Toilet Research Project installation has officially begun! Pictured here: Glen from Phoenix Composting Toilets, and OAEC facilities intern, Amelia, in the basement of our guest housing building installing the first large scale composting unit.  Let the research begin! Click here to learn more about OAEC's Compost Toilet Research Project Listen to the radio interview with Miriam and Brock on…

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Dutchbill Creek Streamflow Improvement Plan

The long-awaited Dutchbill Creek Streamflow Improvement Plan has been released! Congratulations to the Russian River Coho Water Resources Partnership and Brock Dolman of the WATER Institute for your hard work and leadership in this 20-year long community-based watershed restoration project in OAEC’s home watershed of DutchBill Creek. Click here to view and download ->

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Brock coins the term “egosystem” in scientific literature!

OAEC WATER Institute Director Brock Dolman co-authors, with Dr. Matt Deitch, a new peer reviewed scientific paper in the Journal WATER. Restoring Summer Base Flow under a Decentralized Water Management Regime: Constraints, Opportunities, and Outcomes in Mediterranean-Climate California offers up a rigorous review of many years of collaborative efforts in the Russian River watershed towards bringing science and solutions together…

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Compost Toilet Research Project Fundraising Success

Click here to watch the video We are thrilled to report the resounding success of OAEC's first ever crowdfunding campaign! Thanks to 371 generous donors, we raised almost $70K! In addition to funds, the campaign also raised awareness around the problems of our current waste water treatment system and the water-energy-soil-saving benefits of composting toilets - our animated video, produced by BuzzLab,…

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OAEC Receives Groundbreaking Compost Toilet Permit

Legitimizing Ecological Sanitation via Scientific Research After 2 years of negotiations, OAEC is excited to partner with county and regional agencies with the acquisition of an "Alternate Methods and Materials" research permit to install and trial composting toilet systems in our beautiful new guest accommodations as part of our Compost Toilet Research Project.   We believe that composting toilets promise an age-old/cutting-edge solution…

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Sonoma County Beaver Blitz – October 8th, 2016 (9AM – 5PM)

The OAEC WATER Institute is hosting a Beaver Blitz to map current distribution of beaver (Castor canadensis) in Sonoma County. Beaver modify the landscape in ways that can be really beneficial to humans, our waterways and the species that inhabit them (learn more about our Bring Back the Beaver Campaign). To register for this FREE event, go to www.inaturalist.org/projects/sonoma-county-beaver-blitz. We…

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OAEC Releases New Beaver Stewardship Guidebook

Call our main office to purchase a booklet (707) 874-1557 x101 or Download for Free> Beavers are one of our favorite watershed restoration partners! They are the original champions of the WATER Institute’s slogan for regenerating our landscapes: Slow It, Spread It, Sink it! Their dams slow water down to restore eroded riparian corridors and filter silt-clogged streams, spread water out…

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WATER Institute Supports Borneo Watersheds Affected by Palm Oil Plantations

by Janel Healy. Photos by Brock Dolman. [caption id="attachment_3770" align="alignleft" width="321"] The Proboscis monkey's habitat is quickly being replaced by palm oil plantations.[/caption] 35% of the palm oil produced in the world comes from Malaysia, and 12% of that comes from the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo, a biodiversity hot spot. Responsible palm oil production in this…

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CA decentralized water council

Greywater Policy Innovation Goes to Sacramento

The Decentralized Water Policy Council (DWPC), a project of OAEC and the California Onsite Water Association, was one of three finalists in the Imagine H2O Policy Challenge. Finalists were selected from over 100 applications from leaders in academia, public policy, water agencies and the private sector. The recommendations for effective policy change made by the Council’s greywater working group have been highlighted by Imagine…

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potable water

Water Budgeting at OAEC and in Your Community

Above: Alana records weekly potable water use at OAEC outside the Main Office, which all staff members see throughout the day. You, too, could do this at your workplace, church, child's school, etc., to help your community keep water conservation in mind. Water Budgeting Record drought conditions have dramatically slowed OAEC’s already low producing well, inspiring us to enact emergency potable…

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WATER Institute Reviews Beaver Restoration Guidebook

The WATER Institute was invited to review the 200-page comprehensive Beaver Restoration Guidebook written by NOAA Fisheries, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service and Portland State University to support the restoration of beaver in the West. This guidebook provides a synthesis of the best available science for using beaver to restore streams, floodplains, wetlands and riparian ecosystems. This…

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cracked earth

Drought Action

These are extraordinary times in California--especially in the Dutch Bill Creek Watershed, where OAEC is located, and the watersheds surrounding it. The water in our creeks is so low that the already threatened coho salmon species is in great peril. In response to this mounting issue, OAEC's WATER Institute helped found the Russian River Coho Water Resources Partnership to develop a systematic approach to improving…

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WATER Institute Helps Caltrans Steward Beaver

A great example of beaver stewardship recently occurred in Caltrans District 5. A beaver had dammed a drainage, which was beginning to flood the adjacent roadbed of a new freeway project in Monterey County. Caltrans' options were to do nothing, depredate the beaver or try out a pond leveler device. After hearing a presentation on beaver ecology, history and non-lethal management…

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Bodega Volunter Fire Department Rain Water System

Removing Barriers to Ecological Water Management

The drought highlights the need for some common sense water saving and reuse practices such as composting toilets and integrated greywater systems that not only irrigate landscapes but reuse water indoors for flushing toilets and other non-potable uses. But we still don't have the policies in place that allow for their widespread implementation in California. What are the steps to changing these…

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Beaver Restoration Across Boundariesn

WATER Institute contributes to Canadian report on Beaver Restoration Across Boundaries

WATER Institute Director Kate Lundquist was one of seven American beaver advocates interviewed for this report put together by the Miistakis Institute in Alberta, Canada. The report shares the experiences and lessons learned regarding the use of beaver for restoration and climate change adaptation in a selection of American states. This information is relevant to land owners and land managers within…

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Why California Is Localizing Its Waters

The Connection Between Energy and Water -- Water conservation and reuse aren’t just about water quantity, but about dramatically reducing the energy requirement of our water systems. Did you know that nearly 20% of California’s electricity and more than 30% of non-power plant natural gas is used for water-related purposes: for collection, production, transport, treatment and delivery of water to end users;…

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WATER Institute drought beaver

Beaverpalooza 2015

The WATER Institute Beaver Campaign Hits The Road! In late February and early March, Kate Lundquist and Brock Dolman of the WATER Institute made great headway in forwarding their Bring Back the Beaver Campaign through a series of strategic meetings, workshops and conferences in northern California and Oregon. Joined by Swift Water Design's non-lethal beaver management specialist Kevin Swift, Brock…

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Child's Meadow Beaver Dam

Help Us Map Beaver Sightings in California!

Join our Citizen Science campaign to map current distribution of beaver in California. As part of our Bring Back the Beaver campaign, The WATER Institute is collaborating with Eli Asarian of Riverbend Sciences to add locations to his Google Maps based beaver mapping project. Watershed-scale summaries of the data are publicly accessible, but specific locations are password protected. You can…

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paula lane action network badger spirit award

Beaver Campaign Recognized by Paula Lane Action Network

The Bring Back the Beaver campaign, run by Brock Dolman and Kate Lundquist of the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center's WATER Institute, was recently honored with the Paula Lane Action Network's 2014 Badger Spirit Award (see Press Democrat article). The award is for work that promotes resource conservation and respect for Nature through consistent sustainable practices. Our colleagues at Worth…

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Kate Lundquist and Kevin Swift live trapping beaver in Colorado

WATER Institute Director Learns to Relocate Beaver In Colorado

In the summer of 2014, WATER Institute Director Kate Lundquist went to Colorado to learn to live trap and relocate beaver (Castor canadensis) from long-time beaver advocate Sherri Tippie of Wildlife 2000. Accompanied by her partner and non-lethal beaver management designer Kevin Swift, Kate got see first hand how the state of Colorado is successfully implementing this important non-lethal beaver…

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