Haas Scholars

Michelaina Johnson

Evading Dam-Nation: Land Use History of the Lower Cosumnes River Watershed, ca. 1820-2016

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta today has a highly modified ecosystem due to historical human modification of the landscape for agriculture and development of the states water systems. Because Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP), established in 1985, has successfully conserved and restored thousands of acres of the Deltas native habitats in a way that incorporates human needs of the landscape, CRP is nationally recognized as a model for riparian restoration. Michelaina’s project seeks to reconstruct the historical landscape of CRP to understand how past land use practices and alterations changed the Deltas ecosystem and influenced CRPs restoration efforts. Her research has implications for future restoration efforts at CRP and within the Delta, especially considering that modifications of the Deltas habitat and water systems are currently at the center of Californias political debates.
You can also read a California Water Blog article Michelaina published based on her thesis here.
And an article that appeared in Water Deeply here.

  • Major: History major, Conservation & Resource Studies and Spanish minor
  • Mentor: Kerwin Klein, History