Drought, forest mortality, and changing climate have intensifed the need to rapidly and thoroughly understand the critical zone. How will warmer air temperatures impact Sierra snowpack? How much of the water in soil can plants actually use? How do bedrock and soil nutrients influence forest growth? We are answering questions important for the resilience of California - and beyond.
Our researchers and staff members actively participate in collaborative resource management groups to communicate findings and address complex issues in water and forest management. Some of these groups include the Dinkey Landscape Restoration Project, Tulare Basin Watershed Connections Workgroup, and Southern Sierra Integrated Regional Water Management Group.
The Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory has co-hosted tours of our field areas for professionals in forestry, water management, and legislation and policy. Previous field trips have been in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project. These tours and discussions have focused on forest management actions including mechanical thinning and preparation for prescribed burns, along with cutting-edge instrumentation at our sites which has been adopted in other watersheds in California.
Our researchers send written briefings to elected state and federal officials and meet with local, regional, and federal decision-makers. We share relevant findings to inform the present and future decisions concerning our natural resources and ecosystem services.
On August 24, 2011, Barbara Boxer visited the UC Merced campus and met with students and professors at the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. During her visit, she toured the lab space and learned about research activities at the SSCZO as it relates to California's climate and water resources.
Segment begins at 1:07. Video by UC Merced Office of Communications. Original video link
This July 2011 outing allowed stakeholders and the public to see the cutting-edge research being conducted at the site. Five congressional staff and 2 state senate staff members attended, along with representatives of several local organizations.
With SSCZO researchers Roger Bales, Matt Meadows and Carolyn Hunsaker, attendees toured the Providence flux tower, Critical Zone Tree-1, and meadow instrumentation, all located in subcatchment P301.
17 Jan 2018 - Dr. Roger Bales's Nye Lecture, "Making up for lost snow: lessons from a warming Sierra Nevada", is now available to watch online.
30 Oct 2017 - Water Resources Research published a new special collection in September 2017 featuring concentration-discharge research from multiple CZOs.
06 Apr 2017 - 2017 CZO Webinar Series: Critical Zone and Society.
06 Nov 2017 - By Michelle Gilmore and Leigh Bernacchi Ever wonder how we know what we know about water? Twenty-five intrepid water and forest managers,...
03 Oct 2017 - Five master's students at the UCSB Bren School are incentivizing restoration strategies for private landholders with Sierra RCD.
19 Jul 2017 - Wonder what soils and sponges have in common? Or why some trees in the Sierra Nevada are dying while others are surviving? Find out in our new comic.
28 Mar 2017 - A team of researchers found that dust provides a much greater amount of nutrients to vegetation in the Sierra Nevada than previously thought.
20 Dec 2016 - Lawrence Livermore and UC Merced researchers are tracking water through the critical zone using cutting-edge technology and new collection methods.