Stream and Aquatic Systems Monitoring – Santa Cruz Mountains Reserve

Mentor & Lab: Chad Moura

Positions: 2 interns

Tentative dates: July 1st – September 30th

Project Location: Santa Cruz Mountain Reserve

Project Background: Large portions of the watersheds the Santa Cruz Mountains Reserve (SCMR) operates within have been severely burned during the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex fire. Now, around 4 years after the fire, many questions remain about the lasting impacts of large scale megafires on the health and regeneration of our riparian habitat and waterways. Regional stream restoration and forestry treatments are planned to improve the riparian habitat for a number of species within the Santa Cruz Mountains, including sensitive amphibian and fish species. This summer, SCMR will sponsor two CAMINO interns to monitor and sample instream biodiversity (ex. aquatic invertebrates, amphibians), abiotic habitat features, and associated upland floral and faunal communities. Projects will focus on analyzing the differences in biodiversity and habitat features, including large woody debris placed for stream restoration, between upstream and downstream reaches impacted by wildfire.

Intern duties: A majority of the work will take place within remote locations in the Santa Cruz Mountains, at partnering lands around 25 to 30 minutes northwest of UCSC’s campus. Previous field experience is not required; however, students applying should be confident in their ability to work in a group or independently in rough terrain and conditions, as well as be prepared to communicate their findings to professionals, landowners, and collaborators interested in their work. This project will also be a part of a collaborative internship with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Swanton Pacific Ranch, and students will have the chance to work alongside Cal Poly SLO students and researchers. Students will work in the field for the first 5 to 6 weeks before transitioning to report writing and analysis for the last weeks. Students have the option to camp at Swanton Pacific Ranch, which will serve as our headquarters for the field work. Students will work 5 days a week, 8 hour days during the summer.

Intern qualifications: Must be comfortable with physical activity in the field – hiking over rough terrain, through thick vegetation, poison oak, stinging nettle, steep hills.

Do you recommend the intern(s) volunteer in your lab during Spring quarter?
Recommended but not required. We take 2-unit interns via the ENVS department every quarter working on a variety of projects including stream monitoring. Shifts are determined at the beginning of the quarter requiring a one day a week 6-hour time commitment.

UC Santa Cruz Land Acknowledgement

The land from which we base our work is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.