Before the Camp Fire this fall, the October 2017 Northern California Wildfires were the deadliest in California history. Last year’s fires burned 110,000 acres in Sonoma and Napa counties–and 8 percent of the Russian River watershed.
This week in Washington, D.C. at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, research scientist Michelle Newcomer has been describing Berkeley Lab’s work to assess the impact of fires combined with post-fire storms on post-fire hydrology and water quality, and the potential impact of the fires on maintaining the filtration benefits at Sonoma Water’s Riverbank Filtration facilities.
Berkeley Lab has been collaborating with the Sonoma Water and scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to analyze surface- and groundwater samples collected from across the watershed for physical characteristics like river discharge, and chemical variables such as metals and mercury.
The study complements the national lab’s body of work aimed at understanding how the hydrology and microbiology of surface and groundwater systems respond to extreme events.
Read more about their research.