Emily Fairfax, PhD, ecohydrologist and Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and
Resource Management at California State University Channel Islands, has begun research on
the Upper Salinas River to explore the connections between beaver-built environments, climate
change, and ecosystem resilience with a grant from San Luis Obispo non-profit Biodiversity
First! During the 2020-2021 grant cycle, Dr. Fairfax will be assisted by her CSUCI students.
She plans to share research results in articles and conference presentations in 2021.
Dr. Fairfax double majored in Chemistry and Physics as an undergraduate at Carleton College,
then went on to earn her PhD in Geological Sciences in 2019 from University of Colorado
Boulder. During her doctoral studies, she used a combination of remote sensing and field
work to study how beaver activity can create drought and fire-resistant patches in the
landscape under a changing climate. Well-known in the beaver research community, Dr.
Fairfax has several published peer-reviewed articles, was recently featured in National
Geographic, and routinely gives both technical and outreach presentations on her work.
Biodiversity First! is a San Luis Obispo based non-profit whose mission is to support habitat
corridors. In 2018, Biodiversity First!! funded a two-year grant to Upper Salinas-Las Tablas
Resource Conservation District for Salinas River restoration efforts. This study resulted in a
conceptual management model for endangered steelhead species populations in the entire
Salinas River watershed from SLO County to Monterey Bay and a resource library index of over
400 previous studies of the Salinas River and its steelhead population. There was a single small
anecdotal reference to beavers that created an opening for research that Dr. Fairfax will
For more information:
Dr. Emily Fairfax at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.emilyfairfaxscience.com
Elizabeth Johnson at email@example.com for www.biodiversityfirst.net.