Project Summary: The purpose of this project was to develop and evaluate measures and indicators for assessing socioeconomic attributes of watersheds in California. Measures and indicators were developed and tested in three watersheds in Mariposa County: the Upper Merced River Watershed, Mariposa Stream Groups Watershed, and Upper Chowchilla River Watershed.
This project was funded by the California Department of Water Resources, managed by the Sierra Nevada Alliance, and implemented by us. Results will be used to inform the Department of Water Resources’ Watershed Framework, a tool for assessing watershed indicators, trends, and progress of watershed programs.
The Sierra Institute reviewed literature on watershed-related socioeconomic indicators and involved stakeholders in an intensive participatory process to select relevant Mariposa County indicators and measures. Due to funding and time constraints, we were unable to gather primary data for several of the indicators. The project report provides a list of the full suite of recommended indicators and associated measures as well as lessons learned in Mariposa County and recommendations based on the indicators we were able to measure.
We worked closely with a variety of stakeholder groups including Anne Steed, Connie Nelson, and Terry McLaughlin of the Upper Merced River Watershed council/Mariposa County Resource Conservation Districtwho identified key people to speak with and data sources and helped organize the many community workshops, focus groups, and other information exchanges that informed this report. Rita Kidd ofMariposans for the Environment and Responsible Government assisted with the identification of key community contacts, helped with the workshops, and provided critical data and data sources. Rita and Tony Kidd generously opened their home to us, providing a great place to reflect on the research and wind down a day. Jeanne Haben of Chowchilla Red Top Resource Conservation District also helped identify key community contacts and provided assistance securing critical watershed information. With these people, we thank all the Mariposa residents, county official and state and federal agency representatives who participated int his study. They responded to our many requests for information and generously and patiently shared with us in interviews, community and focus group meetings, and workshops. Their time, energy, and knowledge made this work possible.
For more information, read the full Socioeconomic Indicators for Watersheds with Application in Mariposa County Report (pdf, 3.99 MB).