Sally Liu

Hydrologist
Freshwater
[email protected]

Sally currently focuses on groundwater issues, supporting the development of a statewide guidance framework for groundwater dependent ecosystems, serving as a hydrologist on the Fox Canyon Groundwater Sustainability Plans Technical Advisory Group, and furthering science research on groundwater dependent ecosystems. She manages the California Salmon Snapshots (CASalmon.org) that aims to communicate the knowledge of salmon populations and restoration progress across the state, a partnership website with salmon-centric federal, state, NGO, and industry organizations.

Sally was a senior environmental engineer for 18 years at Tetra Tech, working on groundwater and watershed projects with an expertise in environmental modeling. Sally holds a M.S. from Stanford University and a B.S.E. from Princeton University, both in Water Resources, Civil and Environmental Engineering.

What Sally is working on now:

My current body of work supports the consideration and protection of groundwater dependent ecosystems under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Projects and science products include working as a Technical Advisory Group member on the development of Fox Canyon Groundwater Sustainability Plans, groundwater dependent plant rooting depth database, a field study to assess riparian vegetation groundwater consumption along the Santa Clara River, case studies of groundwater management protective of phreatophytic vegetation, and development of co-benefit restoration projects that restore habitat and increase water supply.


Select products


2018 | Freshwater | Science | Publications & Reports

Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Guidance for Preparing Groundwater Sustainability Plans

Rohde, M.M., S. Matsumoto, J. Howard, S. Liu, L. Riege, E.J. Remson

California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014 is landmark legislation that empowers local agencies, known as groundwater sustainability agencies, to sustainably manage groundwater resources for social, economic and environmental benefits. SGMA also includes specific requirements to identify and consider impacts to groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs).…


2017 | Freshwater | Planning | Publications & Reports

Water for nature: What we can do today to help California’s rivers, streams and wetlands

Burns, C.E., A. Hoss, N. Smith, K. Klausmeyer, K. Fesenmeyer, A. Campbell, J. Carah, E. Forsburg, S. Heard, J.K. Howard, L. Hulette, S. Liu, P. Spraycar, B. Stranko, G. Werner, D. Wordham

This report identifies a set of strategies that will have the greatest impact on environmental flows, and to provide a resource for conservation organizations, resource agencies, and other stakeholders in California that may help create the conditions that allow freshwater species to thrive well into…


2016 | Freshwater | Maps & Webmaps

How and Where Nature Uses Groundwater

Kirk Klausmeyer, Jeanette Howard, Sandi Matsumoto, Sally Liu, Melissa Rohde

Groundwater is essential to the health and viability of plants, animals and ecosystems. Many tree species, like willows and cottonwoods, rely on groundwater to survive seasonal and annual dry spells. Fish and other aquatic life need groundwater to keep rivers flowing. When unsustainable management causes groundwater levels…


2012 | Freshwater | Marine | Science | Microsite

California Salmon Snapshots

Sally Liu, Megan Webb, Jeanette Howard, Jennifer Carah

The Nature Conservancy’s California Salmon Snapshots is a collaborative information-sharing effort, critical to the on-going recovery of the state's salmon species. This is the most comprehensive salmon information in California, combining the knowledge of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, the National Marine Fisheries Service,…


2011 | Freshwater | Marine | Planning | Publications & Reports

SalmonScape: Priorities for Conserving California’s Salmon and Steelhead Diversity

Jeanette Howard, Kirk Klausmeyer, Sally Liu

This report analyzed Chinook, coho salmon, and steelhead trout population and habitat data across California to identify a portfolio of places called the SalmonScape. SalmonScape identifies areas in California with the greatest potential for habitat restoration and protection, and where wild salmon also have the best…


2011 | Freshwater | Marine | Planning | Maps & Webmaps

SalmonScape map

Megan Webb, Jeanette Howard , Kirk Klausmeyer, Sally Liu

The Conservancy's SalmonScape is an analysis and map that analyzed and ranked the watersheds that support or contribute to salmon habitat in California based on where conservation efforts would have the best return-on-investment. The analysis helped coordinate and direct salmon conservation efforts across the state.