California Bay Delta Authority Science Program
Integrated Regional Wetlands Monitoring


See also the press release.

The Integrated Regional Wetland Monitoring (IRWM) Pilot Project is a CALFED-funded interdisciplinary research effort examining wetland restoration in the North Bay and Delta. The IRWM Pilot Project seeks to accomplish two goals on behalf of CALFED:

To achieve these two goals, multiple institutions have joined efforts to collect and analyze a variety of field-based ecological, physical, and geochemical data in restored and natural wetland sites in San Pablo Bay, Suisun Bay, and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

To elucidate complex interactions and feedback mechanisms between physical, biological, and ecological processes in wetland sites and identify variations in structure and function over time, researchers are gathering data on an array of biotic, abiotic, and spatial metrics. Specific research teams are monitoring parameters relating to physical processes, landscape ecology, vegetation, avifauna, fish, invertebrates, primary production, and nutrient dynamics.

Selected sites are at variable stages of evolution and present a range of conditions for evaluating the status of tidal marshes and the consequences of restoration and other activities upon form and function as reflected in physical, biological, and ecological variables. Field-based measurements are being analyzed in conjunction with site and landscape scale spatial metrics of wetland features using aerial photographic data combined with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The coordination of physiographic data and biological interpretation enhances comparative analyses and assessment of the effects of tidal marsh restoration upon ecosystem dynamics at multiple scales.

The IRWM Pilot Project is focused on the first two years of data collection and analysis, and places an emphasis on quality control, evaluation of indicators, sampling locations, sampling frequencies, as well as integration and comparison with existing data sets. The two-year monitoring period will allow for evaluating initial results and lay the foundation for ongoing focused monitoring that over time will provide data to better inform resource managers and guide management actions.