California Environmental Flows Workgroup

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Tools and Resources

The Technical Team is currently developing the California Environmental Flows Framework (CEFF).   The CEFF will define a framework for determining in-stream ecological flow criteria to protect aquatic life beneficial uses, recommend guidelines for its implementation, and provide a coarse resolution set of ecological flow recommendations for all stream classes in California. This effort will support various regulatory and management agencies in developing and implementing local, regional, and statewide ecological flow criteria. 

The CEFF is a two-tiered framework that provides a set of coarse ecological flow criteria for all streams in California (Tier 1) and a technical guidance document for estimating refined ecological flow criteria at regional to site-specific scales (Tier 2). It is anticipated that the CEFF will serve as a foundation for efforts by the California Environmental Flows Workgroup to develop robust ecological flow regime recommendations statewide.

Natural resource managers are faced with the complicated task of protecting and restoring a broad suite of ecological functions and public values to rivers while accounting for other competing beneficial uses. A good understanding of how instream flow levels and regimes relate to the many beneficial uses, values and services of rivers (e.g., flood mitigation, water supply, biological productivity, species support, recreation) and the scale of alteration from the natural condition, is necessary for informed river management.

Please visit UC Davis eFlows to:

  • Explore and visualize California's unimpaired streamflow patterns, including natural stream classes and functional flow metrics
  • Explore distinct geomorphic settings across California's complex hydroscape, including dominant attributes and physical processes
  • Assess performance of ecosystem functions - related to aquatic species habitat, riparian species habitat, and natural hydrogeomorphic processes - under alternative hydrologic and geomorphic scenarios

California Environmental Flows Framework Workplan

Environmental Flows Framework

Glossary of Terms

CEFF Frequently Asked Questions

More Information

For additional information on the California Environmental Flows Workgroup, please email:
Dan Schultz at or
Robert Holmes at

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