Crews working in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources prepare to manually place spring-run Chinook salmon eggs into gravel to study the potential of returning spring-run Chinook salmon to historically available habitat in the Feather River Watershed above Lake Almanor near the town of Chester in Plumas County, California on November 9, 2023.

DWR staff manually place spring-run Chinook salmon eggs in Feather River Watershed

Science is integral to DWR policy and management decisions. DWR develops and applies the best available science to water resource management. Approximately 300 scientists and 1,000 engineers at DWR apply their expertise to guide reservoir operations, ecosystem restoration, groundwater management, climate and weather forecasting, among other many topics. 


DWR scientists and scientific products are guided by best practices for research, monitoring, and publication. DWR is a leading agency in achieving the goals of the Open and Transparent Water Data Act (AB 1755). DWR also publishes peer-reviewed articles and values independent review of its major programs. 


DWR advances science through collaboration. Partnership with academic institutions and other science-based organizations is essential to innovation for water management and adaptation to climate change. Examples include participation in the Interagency Ecological Program to guide monitoring and science in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta, and the development of a climate resilient forecasting network to advance watershed management planning tools.

Lead Scientist

DWR Lead Scientist, Dr. Louise Conrad, works within the Executive Team to help guide the integration of best available science across the Department and advances the capacity for science through coordination and partnerships.


  • Sierra Nevada Phillips Award for Women in Water Resource Sciences! Every year, DWR presents this award to recognize a woman that has been a leader in water resources sciences to inform management, engage her community, and mentor the next generation of women water leaders. 
  • 2023 Recipient: Dale Hoffman-Floerke, former DWR Chief Deputy Director View Photos or Watch the Video
  • 2024 Recipient: Dr. Jan Thompson, Emeritus Aquatic Ecologist for the United States Geological Survey. Watch the Video of the Award Presentation