Division of
Science and Environmental Policy

Dr Fred Watson


Associate Professor
Division of Science and Environmental Policy (SEP)
California State University Monterey Bay

M.S. in Applied Marine and Watershed Science (AMWS)
B.S. in Environmental Science, Technology & Policy (ESTP)
B.S. in Biology (BIOL)
B.S. in Marine Science
B.S. in Environmental Studies

The Watershed Institute
Central Coast Watershed Studies Team (CCoWS)


I combine teaching and research across a diverse range of fields including wildlife ecology, agricultural water quality treatment, stormwater, land use, ecosystem visualization, aquatic ecology, remote sensing, statistics, simulation modeling, and the hydrology of streams, lagoons, and snowpacks.

My water quality work on the California Central Coast has examined sediment, nutrients, pesticides, pathogens, and stormwater. It currently has two foci. The first is on the design and operation of experimental treatment wetlands & bioreactors, yielding results (e.g. papers on pesticides and pathogens and student theses on nutrients) used by regional water quality managers, as well data sets developed by my Environmental Modeling class. The second focus is on stornwater measurement and modeling in urban areas on the Monterey Peninsula, in relation to minimizing impacts on Areas of Biological Significance (ASBSs) in coastal waters, and the role of Low Impact Development (LID).

My wildlife ecology work includes working with my classes and thesis advisees on observational studies of birds and mammals on Fort Ord, California. I also work extensively in Zambia with the Zambian Carnivore Programme on a variety of landscape ecology and wildlife-related projects involving remote sensing, population dynamics, and landscape ecology. This has yielded six peer-reviewed papers so far. I've also worked on wildlife and landscape ecological research at Yellowstone National Park since 2000, mostly in the period from 2001 to 2008, which culminated in a 30-chapter book on the ecology of large mammals in Yellowstone National Park, produced under the leadership of wildlife ecologists from Montana State University and the National Park Service

I'm working a lot right now on trying to understand, communicate, and envision the future of land use on the former Fort Ord, where CSUMB is located. In particular, I'm working on master planning the Fort Ord Rec Trail and Greenway (FORTAG).

I've worked (mostly in the past) on steelhead trout ecology on the Central Coast of California, completing a number of federally utilized research and teaching products describing the habitat of this threatened fish in the streams and lagoons of the region, funded by water agencies at the regional, county, and peninsula level.

My ecosystem visualization (EcoViz) work has resulted in interpretive computer-rendered visualizations of ecosystem processes being seen by millions of visitors to terrestrial and marine protected areas in the US.

Before coming to CSUMB I worked as an environmental model developer and forest hydrologist at CSIRO Land and Water and the University of Melbourne in Australia.

I received my formal education in Australia, where I earned a PhD in Environmental Engineering (1998) and a B.A. in Geography and Computer Science (1993), both from the University of Melbourne. I teaches six classes at CSUMB, including: Research Methods, Environmental Modeling, Remote Sensing, Watershed Systems, Watershed Science and Policy, and California Transect.

I enjoy competitive endurance sport, hiking, skiing, canoeing, playing music, hanging out with my family, and learning more and more about the environment.

Links to Fred's:   publications  ~   projects  ~   classes  ~   students

17 Jan 2015 Webmaster