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Conservation Science Program

Understanding & Protecting the Laguna Watershed

The Conservation Science program focuses on understanding the basic ecosystem functions and associated cycles and natural fluctuations. Ongoing research projects focus on the physical, chemical and biological parameters that define the Laguna watershed’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. We aim to provide the needed biological information to guide local conservation planning to maximize the protection of habitats of high ecological value throughout the Laguna watershed.

The Watershed Concept

A watershed is the area of land that catches precipitation and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake, ocean or groundwater. The Laguna watershed extends for about 254-square-miles. What happens in the upper watershed region (e.g. Sonoma Mountain) is linked with the lower watershed region (e.g. Laguna floodplain). For this reason, we consider the entire Laguna watershed when we examine its dynamics and draw science-based conclusions on how to best restore, manage and conserve this important region. Our scientific investigations so inform our restoration, education and stewardship programs and address the interface of the natural and human systems of the entire watershed region.

Investigating the Laguna

Research of Laguna watershed ecosystems is conducted both by Foundation staff scientists and through partnerships with universities, colleges and local agencies. Our ‘place based’ approach allows us to bring together experts from many different backgrounds to collaborate in a multi-disciplinary program to gain a better understanding of the ecosystem processes and restoration and conservation challenges of the Laguna watershed.

In the context of long-term land stewardship we study the effectiveness of restoration projects over time, and initiate studies evaluating effective management strategies aimed at the long-term preservation of Laguna ecosystems, and the capacity of natural systems to sustain long-term human contact. Through current and long-term physical and biological data collection in the watershed we will be able to base our restoration & stewardship programs and our role in informing public policy on the most current scientific knowledge.

Utilizing Grazing Sheep to Suppress Invasive Plants

The Laguna Foundation received a grant from the Sonoma County Water Agency to establish a conservation grazing program to remove invasive species and plant native plants along the Laguna de Santa Rosa Trail.

Video: Conservation Grazing at the Laguna de Santa Rosa
July 30, 2018
Sonoma West Times and News


For more information, contact Sarah Gordon, Conservation Science Program Manager
by email at Sarah@LagunaFoundation.org

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