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D5: Ecological Data Collection and Analysis

This project creates a comprehensive watershed database that tracks stream ecosystem conditions helping the District, other County agencies and organizations make informed watershed and asset management decisions. This new information integrates and enhances the District’s stewardship actions through a standardized, repeatable and defensible approach that guides, organizes and integrates information on stream conditions.

This ecological monitoring and assessment is conducted on an ongoing basis and is shared with land use agencies, environmental resource groups, and the public to support efficient restoration decisions throughout the county.


  • Improves watershed and asset management decisions
  • Provides a systematic, scientific guide for decisions and actions to improve stream conditions
  • Supports effective design options for capital projects
  • Maximizes the impact of restoration dollars with more reliable data on countywide stream conditions

Project Status

(As of September 2017)

  • The first watershed assessments are completed for Coyote Creek, Guadalupe, Upper Pajaro River, and lower San Francisco Bay peninsula (Lower Peninsula) creeks using the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) in partnership with the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI). Click below to read:

    • Coyote Creek (2010) including Upper Penitencia Creek
    • Guadalupe River (2012) urban and non-urban

    •  Pajaro River in Santa Clara County (2015) including Pacheco Llagas, and Uvas Creeks

    • Lower San Francisco Bay peninsula creeks in Santa Clara County (2016) including San Francisquito, adobe, and Stevens-Permanente Creeks (report coming soon)

    • West Santa Clara Valley watersheds, including Sunnyvale, San Tomas Aquino - Saraoga, and Calabazas creeks will be assessed in 2018.

  • Go to EcoAtlas to see all CRAM results and more for creeks and river reaches, tidal marshes (estuarine wetlands), and other locations. Create site reports that include CRAM results using EcoAtlas tools to identify ecosystem conditions at locations of interest.
  • 2015 State of the Estuary overview poster: 

Key Performance Indicators

  1. Establish new or track existing ecological levels of service for streams in 5 watersheds.
  2. Reassess streams in 5 watersheds to determine if ecological levels of service are maintained or improved.

 Graph of Percentage of Stream in Poor, Fair or Good Ecological Health_FY17


Priority D-200

FY17 Annual Report Status

StatusOn Target
Project StartFY 2014
Project FinishFY 2028
Safe Clean Water
Program funding

$6.5 M**

(2015 Dollars)

**More financial information: 5-Year Implementation Plan, pages: 19-27

Related Information:

For more information: