Julie Zimmerman

Lead Scientist
Freshwater
[email protected]

Julie’s focus in The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter is to develop collaborative, science-based approaches to water management and river restoration in California, based on principles of decision science. Julie has over 10 years of experience in the area of environmental flows, providing scientific leadership and technical expertise through positions with the Conservancy, the federal government, and academia.

Before joining the Conservancy in California, Julie was the Science Coordinator for the Central Valley Project Improvement Act for Fish Programs with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), specializing in environmental flows, water operations, and development of decision support tools for river restoration. Prior to working at USFWS, Julie was a River Ecologist with the Conservancy’s Connecticut River Program and Chesapeake Bay Program. She participated in several projects developing environmental flows for large watersheds in the Northeast, including the Connecticut, the Potomac, and the Susquehanna Rivers. Julie holds an M.S. in ecology from Colorado State University and a Ph.D. in fisheries from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

What Julie is working on now:

I’m currently working with academic and agency partners to develop environmental flow recommendations for every stream in California and a companion framework to refine these flow recommendations with local information where necessary. I’m also wrapping up a paper that analyzes flow alteration at all stream gages in the state and beginning another paper that describes an approach for river restoration in the Central Valley that is based on quantifying desired ecological outcomes.


Select products

2019 | Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Stream flow modeling tools inform environmental water policy in California

Theodore E. Grantham, Julie K. H. Zimmerman, Jennifer K. Carah, Jeanette K. Howard

Management of California’s vast water distribution network, involving hundreds of dams and diversions from rivers and streams, provides water to 40 million people and supports a globally prominent agricultural sector, but it has come at a price to local freshwater ecosystems. An essential first step…


2018 | Freshwater | Planning | Science | Maps & Webmaps

Rearing habitat objectives to support salmon in the Central Valley

Travis M. Hinkelman, Myfanwy Johnston, Joseph E. Merz, Julie Zimmerman

To restore degraded stream corridors and develop large-scale, sustainable watershed conservation strategies, it is essential for managers to consider—in order to ultimately re-establish—the habitat requirements of keystone species. For example, in order to restore salmon in the Central Valley of California, we need a clear…


2017 | Freshwater | Science | Data

California Natural Flows Database

Julie K.H. Zimmerman, Daren M. Carlisle, Jason T. May, Kirk R. Klausmeyer, Theodore E. Grantham, Larry R. Brown, Jeanette K. Howard

The Nature Conservancy and the United Stated Geological Survey (USGS) partnered to generate estimates of natural flows (expected streamflow in the absence of human modification) in all the streams and rivers in California (1950-2015). For more details on the methods and results see  Patterns and…


2017 | Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Patterns and magnitude of flow alteration in California, USA

Julie K H Zimmerman, Daren M. Carlisle, Jason T. May, Kirk R. Klausmeyer, Theodore E. Grantham, Larry R. Brown, Jeanette K. Howard

The importance of the natural flow regime to stream and river health has received growing attention in recent years. Understanding natural flows and patterns of flow alteration is an important first step in improving the management of California’s rivers and streams for human and ecosystem…