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Preparing passionate leaders driving change in sustainability and stewardship of the environment.

  —Our Mission

Project Proposals for 2020-2021

Title / Brief Description

Potential Student(s)

Funding

Contact

1) Beyond Poison Oak?: a Baseline Study of Monterey Pine Forest Understory: establish a baseline vegetation study of the amount and type of cover, density of perennial plants, and species diversity of the West Fiscalini Ranch Preserve (West Ranch) Monterey pine forest understory and compare that to models of less disturbed Monterey pine forest habitats 

Potential $6000 

Kitty Connolly 

kitty@ffrpcambria.org 

805-927-2856 

2) Water Quality Conditions in Central California Bar Built Estuaries : collect water quality samples using a YSI water quality probe for parameters such as conductivity, temperature, chlorophyll-a, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, and boron. The student will analyze data to identify trends compared to critical thresholds for aquatic species of concern, as well as, identify if estuaries are functioning as eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic system 

1-2 

Some 

$250; travel 

Aleksandra Wydzga 

aleks@creeklands.org 

3) Description and mapping of urban soils properties for the Los Angeles area: The properties of urban soils are relatively poorly documented. An initial soil survey of the LA area has recently been completed by the NRCS. However, many soil properties of interest to urban land uses, such as heavy metal concentrations, are not included in the NRCS soil survey. 

Potential 

Dr. Gordon Rees 

grees@calpoly.edu 

4) Assessing the impacts of the Central Coast Rangelands CoalitionTo assess the social, ecological and economic benefits that have resulted from the Central Coast Rangelands Coalition (CCRC). To identify any barriers that have prevented the CCRC from achieving its mission. 

Yes 

Dr. Nick Babin 

nbabin@calpoly.edu 

5) Social and Ecological Dimensions of Agriculture under a Changing ClimateDetermine grape, lemon and avocado grower and advisor perceptions of climate risks to agriculture and the role of conservation practices as methods to reduce vulnerabilities or increase resilience to climate change. Communicate findings to key stakeholders.  

Yes 

Dr. Nick Babin 

nbabin@calpoly.edu 

6) Polcum Springs Pond Projectfind the reason for a leak/seepage from a pond on our property in Northern California, with the hope that a recommendation can be made on how to fix it. 

Limited 

Dr. Hunter Francis 

wfrancis@calpoly.edu 

7) A Socio-Environmental Policy Analysis of the Proposed Vegetable-based Plastics and Cellular-Based Aquacultureresearch question is whether the two technologies of bioplastics and cellular aquaculture, if operating at scale, are as environmentally and socially promising as they seem on paper. The purpose of this project is to understand whether governments should mandate any environmental or social safeguards in relation to these two innovations. 

Potential 

Dr. Anastasia Telesetsky 
ateleset@calpoly.edu 

8) Evaluating the utility and consequences of biodegradable plastic mulching from an agroecological and social perspective:To understand farmer perceptions of barriers and benefits of adoption of biodegradable versus conventional plastic mulch. We seek to undertake a combination of surveys administered to a sample of strawberry farmers and winegrape growers throughout California's major strawberry and winegrape growing regions and complete key informant interviews with a subsample of surveyed farmers and agricultural extension agents. 

Potential 

Seeta Sistla (PI) ssistla@calpoly.edu 

 Nick Williams nwilli37@calpoly.edu 

9) Evaluating viable candidates of 'ancient' cereal grains to begin locally adapted variety development on Cal Poly's Student Experimental Farm: we aim to identify viable candidates among 'ancient' cereal grains to begin local locally adapted variety development. 

Limited 

Nick Williams nwilli37@calpoly.edu 

  

Nicholas Babin nbabin@calpoly.edu 

10 ) Understanding Herbicide Impacts on Seagrasses and Potential Implications for Morro Bay Eelgrass Collapse: Marine seagrasses across the globe are experiencing collapse due to environmental change. This has happened locally in Morro Bay, where eelgrass has experienced catastrophic collapse in excess of 90-95% over the last decade. Efforts to attribute this collapse to climate change and degradation of water quality have yielded very little. Hence, we explore the alternative hypothesis that herbicides may be responsible. (Thesis students preferred.)

Potential 

Dr. Bwalya Malama 

bmalama@calpoly.edu 

11) Finite Element Modeling of the SLO-Edna Valley AquiferTo develop a finite element model of the aquifer taking into account subsurface hydrostratigraphy and the water budget (including recharge from precipitation events and stream-aquifer interactions). 

Potential 

Dr. Bwalya Malama 

bmalama@calpoly.edu 

12) Stream-Aquifer Interactions and Evapotranspiration Measurement/ModelingTo understand flow dynamics between streams and aquifers, and the implications for groundwater abstraction for irrigation in riparian corridors. Ancillary to this is understanding groundwater usage by riparian corridor vegetation. 

Potential 

Dr. Bwalya Malama 

bmalama@calpoly.edu 

13Evaluation of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) impacts of awarded CCI Fire Prevention grants: Evaluation of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) impacts of awarded CCI Fire Prevention grants following the method provided in the CCI Forest Health Quantification Methodology (QM).  Cal Poly will perform analysis following the Forest Health QM to determine the net GHG impact of each project in terms of metric tons CO2e.  In addition, based on the experience gained through these analyses, Cal Poly will provide a list of recommended changes or improvements to the QM, which will allow CAL FIRE to better evaluate the GHG impacts of CCI Fire Prevention grants. 

3-4 

Yes 

Dr. Chris Dicus 

cdicus@calpoly.edu 

14) Development of study plan for aquatic habitat enhancement by riparian treatment: Develop a multi-year plan for study of determining aquatic habitat changes following riparian management intended to improve habitat. Collect baseline data for plan. Student will spend part or all of summer 2021 at Swanson Pacific Ranch, in the Santa Cruz mountains. 

Potential 

Dr. Chris Surfleet 

csurflee@calpoly.edu 

15) Determination of soil and stream disturbance following meadow restoration treatments: Evaluate before and after soil and stream conditions following the removal of encroached lodgepole pine. 

Partial 

Dr. Chris Surfleet 

csurflee@calpoly.edu 

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