San Gabriel River Regional Monitoring Program

Physical Habitat Condition

The health of stream systems is dependent on the physical habitat condition of their streambeds, banks, and surrounding buffer zones. As stream bed substrates, bank structure, vegetative canopy cover and natural buffer zones are diminished, it becomes more difficult for healthy biological communities to become established. Human influence plays a key role in the degradation of these systems through urbanization and channel alteration.
  1. Collins, J.N., E.D. Stein, M. Sutula, R. Clark, A.E. Fetscher, L. Grenier, C. Grosso, and A.Wiskind. 2008. California Rapid Assessment (CRAM) for Wetlands, v5.0.2. 157 pp. SanFrancisco Estuary Institute. Oakland, CA.
Riparian zone condition was assessed using the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM). Briefly, the CRAM method assesses four attributes of wetland condition:buffer and landscape, hydrologic connectivity, physical structure, and biotic structure. Each of these attributes is comprised of a number of metrics and sub‐metrics that are evaluated in the field for a prescribed assessment area. Streams in reference condition are expected to have aCRAM score of ≥79.

On the map to the left you can explore the riparian zone condition of each region of the San Gabriel watershed by viewing pie charts that depict the proportion of stream reaches that were found to be in one of the following condition categories:

CRAM Score

  1. Very Likely Altered <63
  2. Likely Altered 63 to 72
  3. Possibly Altered 72 to 79
  4. Likely Intact ≥ 79
CRAM scores can range from 0-, (indicating altered biological condition) to 100(indicating intact biological condition). The four categories presented above were based on the 30th; 10th; and 1st percentiles of CRAM scores at reference sites located throughout California. While these ranges do not represent regulatory thresholds, they provide a useful method for interpreting CSCI results.