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Developing the scientific foundation for the green economy

Spatial Informatics Group—Natural Assets Laboratory

The science and policy of natural assets and environmental markets are evolving rapidly and require nimble institutions to provide the innovations necessary to link economic and environmental interests. In 2012, the non-profit SIG-NAL was created to meet this need. SIG-NAL broadens the reach of the technical capacity and professional networks of Spatial Informatics Group (SIG) to create a more flexible entity with increased effectiveness in a dynamic economic and political context working for the public benefit.



SERVIR Mekong Project
Officially Launched

On August 31 USAID, NASA and ADPC officially launched the SERVIR-Mekong Program at Asian Disaster Preparedness Center’s headquarters in Bangkok. Funded by USAID, and with lead scientific and technical support from NASA, SERVIR-Mekong is being implemented by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) with inputs from consortium partners Spatial Informatics Group, Stockholm Environment Institute, and Deltares. For more information, visit servir.adpc.net.



Lake Tahoe Basin Stream Environment Zone Delineation and Mapping Project Completed


Spatial Informatics Group recently released a new report that recommends improvements to water quality protections in the Lake Tahoe Basin.


“A Review of Stream Environment Zone Definitions, Field Delineation Criteria and Indicators, Classification Systems, and Mapping – Collaborative Recommendations for Stream Environment Zone Program Updates” was the result of work with local stakeholders, land managers, an NGO, regulators and technical experts, such as Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).


The Stream Environment Zone (SEZ) is a land use designation unique to the Lake Tahoe Basin that includes lands surrounding and including streams, lakes and wetlands – those areas that owe their physical and biological characteristics to the presence of surface water and/or shallow groundwater for a significant duration of the growing season. In addition to providing water quality protection, SEZ conservation policies and management strategies support and protect aquatic and terrestrial habitats, provide recreational opportunities and enhance scenic quality and associated real estate values.


More than 25 years ago, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency along with other agencies adopted a program to protect and conserve SEZ that includes policies, regulations, ordinances, definitions and restoration targets. Although the program has been considered by many as an effective means to conserving sensitive lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin, land managers and regulators recognized the need to update SEZ program elements to better reflect best available science and management practices.


SIG experts and local partners reviewed existing program elements and made recommendations for updating the program, including using new remote sensing data to update maps representing aquatic resources and SEZ throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin.


Several updates were recommended in the report, namely, changes to existing field delineation indicators and agency consideration for adoption of new and improved maps of aquatic resources and SEZ. Working groups recommended that agencies retain adopted SEZ definition and overarching delineation criteria that are based on a site’s geomorphic, hydrologic and vegetation characteristics.


The project report summarizes the results and recommendations of the effort. The report and digital maps are available upon request. Please contact Shane Romsos at sromsos@sig-gis.com.


New Publications from Spatial Informatics Group and Natural Assets Lab scientists and collaborators:


K.L. Larson , K.C. Nelson, S.R. Samples, S.J. Hall, N. Bettez, J. Cavender-Bares, P.M. Groffman, M. Grove, J.B. Heffernan, S.E. Hobbie, J. Learned, J.L. Morse, C. Neill, L.A. Ogden, J. O’Neil-Dunne, D.E. Pataki, C. Polsky, R. Roy Chowdhury, M. Steele, T.L.E. Trammell. (2015). Ecosystem services in managing residential landscapes: priorities, value dimensions, and cross-regional patterns. Urban Ecosystems.


M.W. Schwartz, N. Butt, C.R. Dolanc, A. Holguin, M.A. Moritz, M.P. North, H. D. Safford, N.L. Stephenson, J.H. Thorne, and P.J. van Mantgem. (2015). Increasing elevation of fire in the Sierra Nevada and implications for forest change. Ecosphere.


E. McGlynn, T. Buchholz, J.S. Gunn, D. Saah, and B. Kittler. (2015). Opinion:Low-risk Bioenergy Can Be A Critical Climate Solution. Ecosystem Marketplace.


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