Environmental Surface Water Beneficial Users

Close-up of a salamander.
Ambystoma Californiense Photo of the Ambystoma Californiense (California Tiger Salamander) in Solano, California. © Jackson Shedd

Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) are required to prevent adverse impacts to beneficial users of surface water when establishing sustainable management criteria for the depletions of surface water sustainability indicator. It is impossible to define what “significant and unreasonable” adverse impacts are without knowing what is being impacted. Thus, identifying the beneficial users of surface water, including environmental users, is the first step to address undesirable results due to surface water depletions.

The Nature Conservancy is providing a list of freshwater species located within each groundwater basin in California. These lists can be used by GSAs, consultants, or environmental stakeholders to better evaluate the impacts of groundwater management on environmental beneficial users of surface water in groundwater sustainability plans. The freshwater species lists are also available by GSA boundaries as a .zip file at the bottom of this page. These lists were generated from the California Freshwater Species Database, which contains information on ~4,000 vertebrates, macro-invertebrates and vascular plants that depend on freshwater for at least one stage of their life cycle.