Characterizing Meadow Hydrology in the San Bernardino Mountains

The meadows of the San Bernardino Mountains play a critical role in the hydrology of the Transverse Ranges by preventing regional flooding, improving water quality, and delivering moisture downstream. These hydrologic services support a biologically rich and geographically dense range of species which comprise 25% of California’s plant species. However, land-use practices, river incision, and climate change threaten the health and survival of these meadows, which are home to four federally endangered plant species. H.S. Jenkins currently manages a piezometer (passive well) network that monitors subsurface hydrology across priority meadows in this region. This summer, Dr. Jenkins will advise 5 research students as part of the Summer Science Research Program to install additional wells and expand the network. Data from these wells will allow Jenkins and her team to characterize the local and regional hydrology of the watershed, correlate patterns of water availability with vegetation distribution in high priority meadows, inform management decisions for prioritizing restoration projects, and assess the effectiveness of future restoration measures by quantifying pre and post subsurface hydrology.

Well Depth Interpolations of Bluff Meadow StoryMap