Sierra is a hydrologist and engineer-in-training specializing in ecohydrology, hydraulic modeling and restoration design. At Balance, Sierra has worked on flood studies, restoration design, adaptive management planning and hydrologic monitoring. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Hydrologic Sciences at UC Santa Barbara where she was first introduced to the field of restoration ecology. Sierra worked on coastal sage scrub, grassland, and wetland restoration sites across campus during and after earning her Bachelor’s degree. Her interest in hydrology led her to work in civil engineering for the next four years where she found a passion for hydraulic modeling and analysis. Sierra’s desire to blend her interests in hydrology, hydraulics, and riparian ecology brought her back to school to study riverine physical processes and riparian ecology. She currently splits her time between working at Balance and as a PhD student in Hydrologic Sciences at UC Davis. Her research interests include understanding the relationships between riparian vegetation, hydrology, and topography and the development of ecohydraulic tools to aid in the design of restoration projects and evaluation of habitat. She is an active developer of the open-source river analysis software, River Architect, and has spent the last four years studying the lower Yuba River in Northern California in the Pasternack Lab. She looks forward to applying her scientific expertise with practical engineering skills to provide robust analyses and solutions to our clients. In her free time, Sierra spends warmer months rock climbing, trail running, and gardening and cooler months snowboarding, baking, knitting and crocheting. She strongly believes that soup is for every season, and you will often find her enjoying the company of her dog Baloo.

  • California E.I.T 165651
  • PhD Hydrologic Sciences, Earth Surface Processes specialization, University of California, Davis, 2024 (anticipated)
  • B.S. Hydrologic Sciences, Biology and Ecology emphasis, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2014
  • Lower Bear Creek Meadow Restoration – Adaptive Management and Modeling Analysis, Placer County, California
  • Shalom Institute Post-Fire Flood and Inundation Study, Malibu, California
  • Big Bear Mountain Water Sufficiency Analysis, Big Bear Mountain, California

I love being able to work on technically challenging projects with a good blend of desktop and field approaches. Working on local projects that directly improve the beautiful environment we live and play in is a rewarding way to connect to with our community. We are living in a time of unprecedented ecological crisis. We spend a lot of our lives working, so I feel that my time and energy is best spent applying my expertise and skills to understanding how we can restore ecosystem function and natural physical processes in degraded environments. Balance provides the unique opportunity to put this understanding into practice.

The Walker River Watershed. Some of my earliest and fondest memories were made in the high montane meadows that the West Walker River flows through.