Ann Willis


Growing up in New York State, Ann had always been drawn to water – fishing with her dad, canoeing, and other water sports. But it wasn’t until after her undergraduate degrees in English and Journalism that she was introduced to the world of whitewater rafting through a trip in Idaho with her mom. The trip inspired her to become a rafting guide, which kept her on the rapids for several years. Looking for a path to a more sustainable and effective career in water resources, she began taking classes through the UCD Extension program and eventually earned her master’s of science in Civil and Environmental Engineering. After graduating in 2008, Ann worked for six years as a consultant and collaborator with the Center for Watershed Sciences. She joined an interdisciplinary team of scientists and researchers to study conservation efforts in the Shasta Basin and Big Springs Creek. This project allowed her to crystalize her philosophy towards water resources issues: large-scale restoration is sustainable in working landscape, and restoration actions should be quantified for their effectiveness. As part of her work on Big Springs Creek, Ann coordinated hydrologists, geomorphologists, ecologists, and fish biologists to develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive monitoring program that can be scaled up or down to focus on specific water management questions. She has also integrated interdisciplinary methods to develop models that help quantify the value of conservation actions. In the six years she has worked in the Shasta Basin, substantial, quantifiable success has been accomplished for water temperature management and salmon recovery – all while maintaining a working agricultural landscape. This balanced use of resources continues to be one of the guiding principles of her research. Having joined CWS as a staff researcher in 2014, Ann continues to develop tools to quantify the effects of conservation actions. Her work incorporates a life-long love of water and a broad range of specialties to develop a deep understanding of watersheds and successful, balanced water use strategies.

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Water Resources Planning Salmon Conservation Water Transactions Quantification Tools

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