April 2023 WATER newsletter

News from the WATER Institute

Welcome to our newly launched newsletter that we will release periodically, celebrating all things watershed and beaver restoration. In this edition we announce our new hire, events, and the latest in funding opportunities.

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Update on Beaver Restoration in CA

The Occidental Arts & Ecology Center WATER Institute is excited to report that a decade plus of working to catalyze change in California’s relationship to beaver and process-based restoration is finally paying off. With the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s new Beaver Restoration Program coming on board soon, we should soon be seeing guidance on beaver depredation, support for co-existence and even a relocation pilot. 

This work is really gaining traction through the collaborative work we and our amazing partners are doing through the California Process-Based Restoration Network. This is a diverse partnership of natural resource professionals with a shared mission to promote and advance process-based restoration in California. Find out about upcoming CalPBR Network trainings and get on the Networkā€™s mailing list by visiting the website.

To learn more about exciting developments in California beaver restoration policy and other Network partnersā€™ process-based restoration projects read the articles we and other members included in the most recent edition of SERCAL’s newsletter.
Tulocay Creek in Napa, CA. Image by Rusty Cohn/Napa Beavers

Our New Hire

The Occidental Arts & Ecology Centerā€™s WATER Institute is excited to introduce you to our new Communications and Project Manager, Johanna Silver. Beaver restoration in California has seen huge successes in recent months. The WATER Institute is well-poised to meet this moment thanks to Johannaā€™s ace writing skills, savvy communication chops and project management experience. We are grateful for the expertise and enthusiasm she brings to this work and are excited to share some new projects we will be working on with her in the coming months. And now, a bit about Johanna in her own words:

I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, very much a city girl. It wasnā€™t until college, specifically a year abroad with the International Honors Program, that I ever considered spending time in the soil. Visiting farms in England, India, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Mexico, I became curious about our connection to food. I turned that into several years interning at Delaney Community Farm with Denver Urban Gardens and eventually moved west to California to intern at Slide Ranch, an agriculturally-based environmental education center in Muir Beach. Long story short, I became the test garden coordinator at Sunset Magazine when it was still based at its iconic headquarters in Menlo Park. As part of my ten years there, I moved from outdoors to in, eventually becoming the Editor of the Garden Department. Iā€™ve also written several books about gardening and can usually be found outdoors in my own one in Berkeley.

As a garden writer for many regional and national magazines, Iā€™ve spent plenty of time figuring out how to translate ecological issues into palatable stories. Where thereā€™s a good story, Iā€™m eager to tell it. Iā€™m beyond excited to support Kate and Brock in their ongoing efforts for beaver and other watershed restoration. I have much to learn and canā€™t wait to get deep into beaverland with these two!


Beaver in Napa Creek, Napa, CA. Image by Rusty Cohn/Napa Beavers

Upcoming events:

SLO Beaver Festival, April 1st, San Luis Obispo, CA

BIONEERS Conference, April 6ā€“8, Berkeley, CA. WATER Co-director Brock Dolman will be a panelist on Revitalizing the Biosphere by Protecting Animal Habitats and Species on April 6th, 3:00pmā€“4:15pm.

International Beaver Day, April 7th. Be sure to post on social media with #InternationalBeaverDay 

Cal-PBR Technical Training Workshop, April 7th, 1:00pm to 4:00pam PST

Salmonid Restoration Federation Annual Conference, April 25 -28, 2023 in Fortuna, CA. Brock Dolman will be presenting Slash ain’t Trash, it’s Beneficial Biomass as part of an all-day workshop on Flow Enhancement on April 25th.  WATER Co-Director Kate Lundquist will be presenting as part of the CalPBR Network on recent developments in beaver restoration advocacy efforts in CA on April 28th from 9:00am to 12:15pm.
The Placer Land Trust’s riparian restoration project at Doty Ravine Preserve near Lincoln, CA is a great example of how learning to live and actively partner with beaver can help achieve many restoration goals at a fraction of the cost of mainstream restoration techniques. By reinforcing the beaver dams, adding more channel spanning structures, and giving the beaver more access to the floodplain by breaching two levees, project partners were able to increase the wetted width of a stream by 1,000% in less than 5 years. Images: Damion Ciotti, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Funding Opportunities

CDFW has reorganized their grant program to make it easier to apply to the $200 million they have available for restoration projects. 

The Sierra Meadows Partnership Block Grant is currently accepting 3-page proposals for restoration projects and includes $2 million that will go directly to tribes.

In the News

Listen to Brock Dolman’s recent appearance on the podcast Harmony Half Hour, where he speaks about the link between gulley erosion and forest health. 
Also check out Brock Dolman’s recent appearance on NBC Bay Area demonstrating how we use fire fears to combat water woes on our 80-acre Occidental Arts & Ecology Center campus:
The WATER Institute develops innovative science-based solutions for communities and the environment to address the legacy of hydrologically destructive land-use practices and policies on Californiaā€™s watersheds, and the urgent need to address the impacts of climate change on the water cycle.

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