Resources & Documents

Field Books (SOPs)

Title Description Resource(s)
CRAM Field Books - Bar Built Estuarine

Includes paper CRAM forms and data sheets. Bar Built Estuarine version 6.1; May, 2013

CRAM Field Books - Depressional

Includes paper CRAM forms and data sheets. Depressional version 6.1; February, 2013

CRAM Field Books - Episodic Riverine

Includes paper CRAM forms and data sheets. Episodic Riverine version 1.0; December, 2015.

CRAM Field Books - Estuarine

Includes paper CRAM forms, changes to Estuarine Field Book 6.0 to 6.1, and data sheets. Estuarine version 6.1; January, 2013

CRAM Field Books - Riverine

Includes paper CRAM forms, changes to Riverine Field Book 6.0 to 6.1, and data sheets. Riverine version 6.1; January, 2013

CRAM Field Books - Slope

Includes field book, forms, data sheets, and photo dictionary. Slope version 6.2; October, 2017

Note: eCRAM forms are not currently available for v6.2.

CRAM Field Books - Vernal Pools (Individual)

Includes field book, list of changes from v6.1, forms, data sheets, and endemic plant list. Individual Vernal Pools version 6.2; March, 2020

CRAM Field Books - Vernal Pools (Systems) Includes field book, list of changes from v6.1, forms, data sheets, and endemic plant list. Vernal Pool Systems version 6.2; March, 2020
CRAM Flowchart

Updated CRAM Flowchart; July, 2016

CRAM Photo Dictionary

The CRAM Photo Dictionary, which should be used in conjunction with a CRAM field book, is a compilation of photographic examples used to assist practitioners in correctly identifying the visual indicators or the specific narrative used to score many of the metrics. Some examples are specific to a single wetland type and some are universal across wetland types. The wetland types included in this photo dictionary are Estuarine, Riverine, and Depressional wetlands.

CRAM User's Manual version 6.1

April 2013

CRAM Support and Guidance

Title Description Resource(s)
Data Quality Assurance Plan for CRAM

Data Quality Assurance Plan for CRAM, California Wetland Monitoring Workgroup, version 7; October 2018

Technical Bulletin: Using CRAM to Assess Wetland Projects as an Element of Regulatory and Management Programs

New! California Wetlands Monitoring Workgroup
This document supports consistent and appropriate application of CRAM for regulatory, mitigation, and restoration projects across a variety of state and federal agency programs. It does not constitute official guidance or policy by any agency, rather it addresses a set of technical issues and considerations. Users are encouraged to consult with agency staff on questions regarding use of CRAM in specific project circumstances.
September 2019 98 pages

Condition assessment in California using CRAM

Title Description Resource(s)
Demonstration of an integrated watershed assessment using a three-tiered assessment framework

Solek, C.W., E.D. Stein, M.A. Sutula. Wetlands Ecology and Management 19(5):459-474. 2011.

State of the State’s Wetlands

The Status of Perennial Estuarine Wetlands in the State of California Fact Sheet

Use of CRAM in the evaluation of mitigation projects in California

Ambrose, R. F. , J. C. Callaway , and S. F. Lee . 2006. An evaluation of compensatory mitigation projects permitted under Clean Water Act Section 401 by the California State Water Quality Control Board, 1991–2002. Report to the State Water Resources Control Board. University of California. Los Angeles, CA, USA.
December 2004, 253 pages

Wetlands Demonstration Project (WDP)

California’s Wetland Demonstration Program Pilot. A Final Project Report to the California Resources Agency MA Sutula, JN Collins, R Clark, RC Roberts, ED Stein, CS Grosso, A Wiskind, C Solek, M May, K O’Connor, AE Fetscher, JL Grenier, S Pearce, A Robinson, C Clark, K Rey, S Morrissette, A Eicher, R Pasquinelli, K Ritter.

CRAM Development Process

Title Description Resource(s)
A practical guide for the development of a wetland assessment method: the California experience

2006. Sutula, M.A., E.D. Stein, J.N. Collins, A.E. Fetscher, R. Clark. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 42(1):157-175.

CRAM Module Development
Information for 3rd party developers of CRAM-related documents and materials

1 page; December 6, 2010

Quality Assurance Project Plan for the Development of a Wetland Rapid Assessment Method in California Phase II

46 pages; May 3 2005

Steps to Develop a Module for the California Rapid Assessment Method for Wetlands (CRAM)

7 pages; March 17 2011

Versions of CRAM methodology
Wetlands Demonstration Project Steering Committee Charter

draft; 2 pages; May 22 2006

CRAM Training Materials

Title Description Resource(s)
2015 CRAM 5-day general practitioner training

PowerPoints used during 2015 training season.

2016 CRAM 2-day Agency Training

PowerPoints used during 2016 Agency Training

CRAM Training Course Prospectus

This document includes a generic CRAM training description and 5-day training agenda. It serves as the template for trainings that take place annually around the State. Specific trainings may make changes to the agenda, but all topics are covered in each training.

CRAM Validation and Peer Review

Title Description Resource(s)
Assessing California's bar-built estuaries using the California Rapid Assessment Method

Heady, W.N., R.P. Clark , K. Connor , C. Clark , C. Endris , S. Ryan , S. Stoner-Duncan. Ecological Indicators, Volume 58, November 2015, Pages 300-310

SWAMP Endorsement of CRAM

Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) Roundtable endorses CRAM, March 2013.

SWRCB peer review

The SWRCB report on the peer review of CRAM as a means for assessing wetland condition is available at this link.

SWS Research Brief: Diagnosing Wetland Health with Rapid Assessment Methods

Stein E.D., M. Sutula, A.E. Fetscher, R.P. Clark, J.N. Collins, J.L. Grenier, C. Grosso. No. 2009-0010. 2009

USACE ERDC Peer Review

C. Klimas January 2008
This review is intended to examine CRAM from the perspective of Corps of Engineers’ regulatory responsibilities, specifically with regard to its potential applications in determining project impacts, conducting alternatives analyses, establishing compensatory mitigation requirements, and in monitoring mitigation projects to determine whether they are performing satisfactorily. These considerations are equally important in many planning applications, therefore this review may be of interest to persons involved in ecosystem restoration and similar initiatives that concern evaluation of wetland systems before and after changes to ecosystem processes or structure. The review discusses concerns about the sensitivity of CRAM.

Validation of a Wetland Rapid Assessment Method: Use of EPA's Level 1-2-3 Framework for Method Testing and Refinement

Stein E.D. , A.E. Fetscher, R.P. Clark, A. Wiskind, J.L. Grenier, M. Sutula, J.N. Collins, C. Grosso. Wetlands 29(2):648-665. 2009

A case study of the validation of the riverine and estuarine modules CRAM. This work evaluated responsiveness of the method to “good” vs. “poor” wetland condition, ability to represent a range of conditions, internal redundancy, alternative combination rules for constituent metrics, and reproducibility of results. The use of existing avian diversity, benthic macroinvertebrate indices, and plant community composition datasets as validation of CRAM results demonstrated. Results indicate that CRAM is an effective tool for assessing general riverine and estuarine wetland condition based on its correspondence with multiple independent assessments of condition. This study demonstrates that, when validated, rapid assessment methods provide a meaningful and reliable tool for assessing wetland condition.

Validation of the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) Slope Wetland Module

Pearce, S., C. Clark, S. Lowe. Prepared by the San Francisco Estuary Institute. October 2017.

Validation of the California Rapid Assessment Method Depressional Wetland Module: Final Report

Clark, C., S. Stoner-Duncan, S. Pearce, K. O' Connor, K. Hammerstrom, R. Clark. Prepared by the Central Coast Wetlands Group. December 2017.

Validation of the California Rapid Assessment Method for Vernal Pool Systems: Final Report

Clark, C., L. Teunis, J. Vollmar, K. Hammerstrom, K. O' Connor, R. Clark. Prepared by the Central Coast Wetlands Group. November 2017.

Field books (SOPs) - Previous Versions

Title Description Resource(s)
CRAM Field Books - Slope

Includes paper CRAM forms, and data sheets. Slope version 6.1; February, 2013

CRAM Field Books - Vernal Pools (Individual)

Includes paper CRAM forms, changes made to the Individual Vernal Pools Field Book 6.1 from version 6.0 , and forms. Individual Vernal Pools version 6.1; January, 2013

CRAM Field Books - Vernal Pools (Systems)

Includes paper CRAM forms, changes made to the Vernal Pool Systems Field Book 6.1 from version 6.0 , and forms. Vernal Pool Systems version 6.1; January, 2013

CRAM Manual and Field Books, version 4.2.3

CRAM manual (vol. 1) and field books (vol. 2) for version 4.2.3.

CRAM Manual and Field Books, version 6.0

March 2012

CRAM User's Manual version 5.0

September 2007

CRAM User's Manual version 5.0.1

October 2007

CRAM User's Manual version 5.0.2

CRAM User's Manual version 5.0.2, September 2008

Field Equipment

Title Description Resource(s)
A Guide for Field Identification of Bankfull Stage in the Western United States

View a video on field identification of bankfull stage (USDA Forest Service)

Grid overlay

View grid overlay for aerial photographs and instructions

Percent cover

View graphic for estimating percent cover (USDA-NRCS, 2002)

Interactive Mapping and Aerial Imagery

Title Description Resource(s)
Bing Maps

Provides high quality maps and aerial imagery with the capability of zooming into a site and using the Bird's Eye View feature.

California Coastal Records Project

Provides online access to over 57,300 aerial photographs of the California coastline, from the Oregon to the Mexican Border.

Online Training Videos

Title Description Resource(s)
Bar Built Training Video

A step-by-step instructional video on how to conduct a Bar Built wetland CRAM assessment.

Depressional Training Video

A step-by-step instructional video on how to conduct a Depressional wetland CRAM assessment. Winner of the 2014 W3 Silver Award for educational training!

Estuarine Training Video

A step-by-step instructional video on how to conduct an Estuarine wetland CRAM assessment.

Riverine Training Video

A step-by-step instructional video on how to conduct a Riverine wetland CRAM assessment.

Plant identification

Title Description Resource(s)
California Native Plant Society workshops and trainings

Workshops conducted by professional botanists to teach identification of many common wetland and riparian California plant species

California Vernal Pools

A collection of vernal pool information and resources

Estuarine Plant Guide

Field guide to assist in recognizing and identifying commonly encountered plants in estuarine wetlands. Although developed primarily for the southern California region, many of the species listed are found statewide.

Guide to Native and Invasive Plants of the Storke Ranch Vernal Pool Open Space

Guide to managing vernal pools in the Greater Santa Barbara Area (Hildner 2009)

Guide to Native and Invasive Streamside Plants

Restoring Riparian Habitats in Ventura County & along the Santa Clara River in Los Angeles County (2006)

National Wetland Plant List

An online guide by the Army Corps of Engineers provides general botanical information about wetland plants throughout North America (includes distribution maps, photos, and search capabilities); used extensively in wetland delineation and restoration, and the development of compensatory mitigation goals. [Note: Select "All Botanical Searches" from side navigation bar].

Title Description Resource(s)
EPA Guidance Document

Elements of a State Water Monitoring and Assessment Program for Wetlands. 12 pages; April 2006

EPA Wetland Monitoring & Assessment: A Technical Framework

2 pages; April 8 2003

Review of Rapid Methods for Assessing Wetland Condition

M. Siobhan Fennessy, Amy D. Jacobs, and Mary E. Kentula EPA/620/R-04/009 January 2004

Testing the Basic Assumption of the Hydrogeomorphic Approach to Assessing Wetland Functions

Hruby, T, Environmental Management Vol. 27, No. 5, pp. 749–761

Wetland Assessment Alphabet Soup: How to Choose (or not Choose) the Right Assessment Method

2009. Stein, E., M. Brinson, M. Rains, W. Kleindl, and F. Hauer, Wetland Science and Practice, Vol. 26, No. 4.

Steering Committee

Title Description Resource(s)
Steering Committee Roles & Responsibilities

Roles & Responsibilities of the Level 2 Assessment Committee of the California Wetland Monitoring Workgroup

Tide Prediction

Title Description Resource(s)
Mobile Geographics

A CRAM practitioner recommends the web-based tide predictor hosted by Mobile Geographics (based on XTide)

Tides Online

NOAA offers Tides Online

WXTide32

A CRAM practitioner recommends WXTide32, a free Windows tide and current prediction program that can be used offline (based on XTide)

XTide derivatives

The XTide site offers a listing of XTide derivatives for Mac, Palm, and other platforms

Use and Application of CRAM

Title Description Resource(s)
CRAM Factsheet

2 pages; December 2008

CRAM Prospectus

Overview of CRAM: Why are we doing this? What is it? How is it being developed? What are its possible applications? Who can use it, and when will it be available?
2 pages; January 24 2008