Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Simon Scarpetta, PhD.


Climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events and affects California’s hydroclimate, thereby increasing flood vulnerability of all communities in Sonoma County. An example of extreme weather phenomena is atmospheric rivers (ARs), which are long narrow water vapor transported by winds across the Pacific Ocean. ARs have a history of causing major flood events that have swept through Sonoma County and negatively impacted cities along the lower Russian River, such as the unincorporated town of Guerneville, California. Major floods cause detrimental impacts to the economy. Social inequalities become evident when unincorporated communities located along floodplains are more vulnerable to floods than incorporated communities. This risk may continue to rise due to the lack of maintenance on existing infrastructure and the unpredictable extreme weather. A comparative analysis between three hazard mitigation plans (HMPs) from Sonoma County, Sonoma County Water Agency, and Sweetwater Springs Water District was conducted to determine the efficacy of ongoing flood mitigation actions established in each local government HMP. While not all evaluated mitigation actions across the three HMPs compared were effective, actions that were effective had high flood mitigation benefits.