2NDNATURE and Environmental Incentives have developed a comprehensive accounting platform to track and manage information and data supporting the Lake Tahoe TMDL Implementation Plan and Lake Clarity Crediting Program. The initial data management and reporting platform included a database framework and standardized reporting protocols to track and report compliance with TMDL implementation requirements in a customized MS Access database. The design and programming of the upgraded web-based CAP tool has been led by 2NDNATURE. CAP is an extremely user friendly, web-based platform that includes explicit integration of data from required PLRM modeling and 2N RAM verification tools. The Tahoe CAP allows standardized, concise data entry by implementing agencies to document and report progress towards meeting pollutant load allocation targets through water quality improvement actions and maintenance activities. The tool provides simple accounting of lake clarity credits with respect to permit compliance and tracks pollution load reductions on a variety of spatial scales (project, municipality, and basin-wide). TMDL and Crediting Program managers are able to compare reported monitoring results to estimated load reductions and, through adaptive management, adjust the Crediting Program protocols as new information on project performance becomes available.
2NDNATURE designed the technical components to create an online accounting system to track and report progress of improvement actions implemented by local landowners and resource managers toward the Napa Sediment TMDL goals and objectives. 2N led the definition of the five performance metrics that will track the actions performed, the effectiveness of those actions, and the desired system responses as a result of the effective actions. The final metrics include protocols for data collection, management, analysis, and reporting to ensure the consistency of all data entering into the ITAS system. The final product is a web-based data management system that will simplify to communication of progress to reduce sustainably reduce sediment loading to the Napa River to funders, regulators and the public.
2NDNATURE assisted the County of Santa Cruz Environmental Health Department with creating a conceptual framework that will guide the update of the Santa Cruz Integrated Regional Watershed Management Plan. The conceptual framework links IRWM quantitative objectives to controllable system drivers that can be modified as a result of effective management strategies. 2NDNATURE led a series of working group meetings to guide regional partners through a structured, collaborative process to ensure priority strategies will directly contribute to objective attainment on both short and long planning time scales. The conceptual framework provides regional guidance on how to best balance water supply, water quality and ecological services given the inherent political and ecological constraints. The process brought to the Santa Cruz IRWM from 2NDNATURE allows the integration of existing knowledge and data to formulate and document hypotheses that will guide the future expenditure of public resource dollars. These products result in both documentation and justification of regional aquatic resource management strategies and explicit performance measures to track progress and evaluate effectiveness into the future. The 2NDNATURE team provided a process to actualize adaptive management that overcomes the difficulty in linking project scale improvements to overall regional objectives. A key product of the Conceptual Framework was a tabular synthesis of the expected future climate conditions in the region based on existing studies, science and model outputs. The climate projections were systematically evaluated in the context of critical system components to identify the relative sensitivity and adaptive capacity of each. The relative vulnerability was determined for each system component and used to guide adaptation action priorities in the region that are expected to lessen the potential future impacts if implemented. Making climate change considerations inherent in prioritizing quantitative management objectives and the future tracking of IRWM progress greatly improved the relevance of the climate science available to the regional Santa Cruz decision makers.
The ability to track changes to land use management and distribution over time is fundamental to understanding overall watershed health, and the need for a more comprehensive and accessible system for tracking conservation activities is widely acknowledged. The six Central Coast Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) have partnered with the Natural Resources Conservations Service (NRCS) and other organizations to implement a substantial proportion of agricultural land management improvements in the region. 2NDNATURE has led the technical development of standards and protocols that will allow the RCDs and their partner organizations to efficiently quantify, report, coordinate, and compare land-use management improvements. The tools developed will provide the basic ability to report on status and trends of conservation activities and creates a foundation for evaluation of the program effectiveness for improving water quality conditions. Proposed future work will expand the existing tools into a more comprehensive web-based regional conservation action tracking system.