Sunol Valley Restoration Plan Vegetation Classification and Mapping

Nomad completed vegetation classification and mapping for the 511-acre Sunol Valley Restoration Plan (SVRP) study area. The purpose of the SVRP is to guide restoration, conservation, and monitoring efforts in the Sunol Valley. The SVRP presents an overarching framework utilizing various disciplines such as hydrology and geomorphology, vegetation ecology, fisheries and wildlife biology, and historical ecology to achieve restoration goals.

The goals of Nomad’s vegetation classification and mapping are:

  1. To sample, classify, and map vegetation types using the California Native Plant Society/Department of Fish and Game Protocol which is the currently accepted methodology for vegetation classification in California and is based on the Manual of California Vegetation Second Edition
  2. Provide a detailed vegetation map of the area sampled and provide a report summarizing the methods used and descriptions of the vegetation types sampled
  3. Serve as a useful source of vegetation data that can aid the other disciplines in meeting desired restoration outcomes

Vegetation data was collected using the California Native Plant Society/Department of Fish and Wildlife Protocol for Combined Vegetation Rapid Assessment and Relevé Sampling Field Form. A total of 44 relevé samples were collected within the study area. A representative set of data for each vegetation type was collected, not all stands of a vegetation type were sampled.

Following classification of the vegetation, a draft vegetation map was created in a GIS platform (ESRI ArcGIS 9.2) by interpreting digital color aerial photography and field notes to delineate boundaries around individual stands of vegetation in the study area, through a “heads-up’ digitizing process.

After completion of a draft vegetation map, the map was ground-truthed by Nomad by field checking 100% of the vegetation polygons to be certain vegetation stands were accurately mapped and that vegetation stands met membership rules for each vegetation type. The vegetation mapping and classification effort resulted in 222 polygons with an average polygon size of 2.3 acres.

Fourteen mapping units were mapped in the study area; twelve of these were vegetation types and two were unvegetated (exposed gravel and urban). As part of this effort Nomad included information on invasive plant species occurrences within the study area. Nomad also provided planting palettes for vegetation types to be targeted in restoration activities.

PROJECT LOCATION: Alameda Watershed, Alameda County, California
CLIENT: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and City/County of San Francisco

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