Arthur W. Dawson

My career has spanned the realms of ecology, history, education, writing and publishing. For the last ten years my primary work has been directing and developing the Historical Ecology Project at the Sonoma Ecology Center. In that role I have worked closely with scientists in many fields, community members and organizations, and local, state, and national governmental agencies.


Bachelor of Science, Natural Resources.  Humboldt State University, Arcata, 1983.
Minor in Biology. Graduated cum laude.


Baseline Consulting, Glen Ellen, CA
2009 – present
Provide historical research for resource managers and landowners, including property histories, risk assessments, historical hydrology, landscape-scale trends and trajectories, historical vegetation, and GIS mapping. Certified Historical Consultant, State of Californa.

Historical Ecologist
Sonoma Ecology Center, Sonoma, CA
2000 – 2011

Directed the Sonoma Ecology Center’s (SEC) Sonoma Valley Historical Ecology Project, focused on documenting ecological change over the last two centuries and using this knowledge to inform decision-making. Collected, analyzed, and integrated historical and field data to identify trends in sediment supply, salmonid populations, water supply, and other watershed issues.
Worked with numerous local, regional, state, and national agencies and organizations (see p. 5), and collaborated with scientists in several fields. Major accomplishments: the Sonoma Creek Oral History Project; establishing and developing the Sonoma Valley Historical Ecology Archive, an extensive electronic collection of primary and secondary sources; and significant contributions to large-scale studies such as the Sonoma Creek Limiting Factors Analysis, Sonoma Creek Sediment Source Analysis, and the Central California Coast Coho Salmon Recovery Plan. Present findings to agencies, stakeholders, and the public at numerous venues. Organize community events such as the Sonoma Valley Watershed Walk and the Sonoma Valley Water Forum.

Author & Publisher
1989 – present
Author of numerous published pieces in books and periodicals such as: the Travelers Tales series, San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicken Soup series, and Outside magazine. Founder and publisher of Kulupi Press, which has published eleven books focused on “a sense of place.” Author of two local bestsellers, The Stories Behind Sonoma Valley Place Names, and On Foot in Sonoma: Twelve Walks in the Valley of the Moon; and Creek Wisdom: An Ecological History of Sonoma Valley as told by local elders. Served as Sonoma County Area Coordinator for California Poets in the Schools for five years, supervising a dozen poet-teachers working at schools throughout Sonoma County.

World Travel
Spent three years traveling, living, and working around the world, visiting twenty-one countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Environmental Education
1983 – 1986
Taught environmental concepts and ethics to schoolchildren as a teacher-naturalist in several programs, including Yosemite Institute, Caritas Creek, the Marine Mammal Center, and the Oceanic Society.


Journal Publications & Research Papers (with selected links)

Baseline Consulting. 2011. A History of Magnolia Farm, Sonoma, California 1823 – 2010. Research paper produced for property owner of Sonoma County Landmark #17. Primary researcher and author.

Dawson, A., Sloop, C. 2010. Laguna de Santa Rosa Historical Hydrology Project   Headwaters Pilot Study. Research Paper produced for the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture and the Sonoma County Water Agency.

National Marine Fisheries Service. 2010. Recovery Plan for the Evolutionarily Significant Unit of Central California Coast Coho Salmon. Primary researcher and author of the plan’s Prologue, which gives an historical overview of the Coho’s decline.

Dawson, A. 2009. Historical Alignment Study of Champlin Creek for the Stage Gulch Road Curve Improvement and Realignment Project. Produced for CALTRANS under their subcontractor WRECO, a water resources engineering firm.

Dawson, A. 2009. Historical Baseline Study of the Grassy Ridges at Pepperwood Preserve. Research paper produced for the Pepperwood Foundation.

Dawson, A. 2008. Oaks through Time: Reconstructing Historical Change in Oak Landscapes. Proceedings of the Sixth Symposium on Oak Woodlands: Today’s Challenges, Tomorrow’s Opportunities, October 9-12, 2006, Rohnert Park, CA.

Dawson, A. 2008. Nathanson Creek: historical background and observations. Research paper produced to inform the Nathanson Creek Restoration Project funded by a California State River Parkways grant and the City of Sonoma.

Dawson, A. 2008. The Kenwood Marsh, Past: Present, and Future. The Kenwood Press. April 15.

Dawson, A. 2007. Historical Assessment for the Piccinini property along Stuart Creek in Glen Ellen. Research paper produced for CEMAR, Inc.

Dawson, A., R. Lawton, and R. Hunter. 2006. Appendix A: Surface Erosion Study, Sediment Source Analysis, Sonoma Creek Watershed, California. Final Report to the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. Comparing historical and modern surface erosion rates using RUSLE model.
Dawson, Arthur. 2005. Sonoma Creek Historical Salmonid Abundance Mapping Project Report. Research paper produced for the California Department of Fish and Game.

Dawson, A. and R. Lawton. 2005. Historical Road Inventory for Jack London Historical State Park. Research paper produced for the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Dawson, A. 2004. Sonoma Valley Railroads. Map of historical railroad lines and stations researched and created for the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.

Dawson, A. 2004. Synopsis of changes in geomorphology, hydrology, fisheries, and related topics for the Sonoma Valley Watershed, c. 1823 – 2004. Research paper produced for the State Water Resources Control Board.

Sonoma Ecology Center, Stillwater Sciences, UC Berkeley Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. 2004. Sonoma Creek Watershed Limiting Factors Analysis.
Report to the San Francisco Bay Water Quality Control Board. Contributed historical background on anadromous fisheries and hydrological change in the Sonoma Creek watershed since 1823.

Dawson, A., and K. Larvie, et al. 2003. Apparent Changes as mapped and described, Sonoma Valley Watershed, 1823 – 2003. Hydrological map.

Dawson, A. 2002. Woodcutting and Logging on Sonoma Mountain. Sonoma Mountain Preservation Group Newsletter.

Dawson, Arthur. 2002. The Oral History Project: a report on the findings of the Sonoma Ecology Center’s Oral History Project, focusing on Sonoma Creek and the historical ecology of Sonoma Valley. Includes interview transcripts, appendices and maps.
Research paper produced for CALFED.


“The Once and Future Landscapes of Sonoma County.” Dwight Center for Conservation Science, Pepperwood Preserve. Santa Rosa, CA. May 2011.

“The North Bay in 1823: Father Altimira and the ‘Fountain of Fountains.’” Mission San Rafael Arcangel Preservation Foundation. San Rafael, CA. May 2011.

“Thinking Like an Oak: 200 Years of Change in Cotati and the Laguna de Santa Rosa Headwaters.” Jointly sponsored by Cotati Creek Critters and the Cotati Historical Society. Cotati, CA. March 2011.

“A History of Magnolia Farm.” Sonoma Valley League for Historic Preservation. Sonoma, CA. January 2011.

“Thinking Like an Oak: Two Centuries of Change in Sonoma County.” Sonoma County Forest Conservation Working Group. Santa Rosa, CA. November 2010.

“Back to the Future, Applying the Lessons of History to the Challenges of Climate Change.” Poster presentation at the State of the Laguna conference. Rohnert Park, CA. October 2009.

“From Grizzlies to Grapes: Two Centuries of Landscape Change in Sonoma Valley.”     University of California at Davis Geography Seminar Series. January 2009.

“Oaks Through Time, Reconstructing Historical Change in Oak Landscapes.” Presented at: Northern California Botanists conference, Chico, CA, January 2008; State of the Laguna conference, hosted by the Laguna Foundation, Rohnert Park, CA March 2007; and the Sixth Symposium on Oak Woodlands: Today’s Challenges, Tomorrow’s Opportunities, Rohnert Park, CA, October 2006.

“A Sonoma Valley Water History.” Sonoma Valley Water Forum. Sonoma, CA. April 2006.

“Glen Ellen Before the Railroad.” Glen Ellen Historical Society. Glen Ellen, CA. November 2005.

“Legacy of the Pioneers.” Presented at the Sonoma Valley Wildlife Symposium. Sonoma, CA. May 2004.

“Something Old, Something New: Documenting Landscape Change by Applying Computer Mapping Techniques to Historical Maps.” Panels exhibited at the Sonoma County Museum’s Mapping the Pacific Coast exhibit. Santa Rosa, CA. January – May 2004.

“Population Trends in Sonoma Creek’s Salmonid Fishery, 1823 – 2003: A Preliminary Timeline.” Poster Presentation at the CALFED conference, Oakland, CA. October 2003.

Additional presentations on historical ecology to organizations, institutions and agencies including: Sonoma State University, Southern Sonoma Resource Conservation District, Blucher Creek Watershed Council, Friends of Mark West Watershed Group, Glen Ellen Stream Stewards, Kiwanis Club, Sonoma League for Historic Preservation, Sonoma Valley Historical Society, Sonoma Valley Visitors’ Bureau. 2002 – 2010.


Saying this Place Right, Poems of Landscape and Language. Finishing Line             Press, Georgetown, KY. 2005. Runner-up in national contest.

On Foot in Sonoma; Twelve Walks in the Valley of the Moon. co-authored with             Rebecca Lawton. Kulupi Press. Glen Ellen, CA 2004. Local bestseller.

Creek Wisdom; An Ecological History of Sonoma Valley as told by local elders.             Kulupi Press. Glen Ellen, CA 2003.

Where Oaks Play Catch with the Sun: Poetry and Art by Sonoma Valley children
Kulupi Press. Glen Ellen, CA 1999.

The Stories Behind Sonoma Valley Place Names. Kulupi Press. Glen Ellen, CA             1998. Local bestseller.


“Outstanding CCMP Implementation Project.” Friends of the San Francisco        Estuary. 2003. Presented at the CALFED conference.

Educator of the Year.” Sonoma Ecology Center. 1999. Awarded for “A Song of Place,” a     collaborative project with California Poets in the Schools.

“Freshman Geographer of the Year.” Chico State University, Chico, CA. 1978.


Sonoma Valley Heritage Coalition: currently serving

Glen Ellen Historical Society: currently serving

Sonoma Valley Trails Committee: 2000 – 2005


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Southern Sonoma County Resource Conservation District
U.S. National Park Service
U.S. Geological Survey

California Coastal Conservancy
California Department of Fish and Game
California Department of Parks and Recreation
Save the Redwoods League
Sonoma State University
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
WRECO, a Water Resources Engineering Firm.

Audubon Canyon Ranch
Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration (CEMAR)
ESA-PWA (formerly Phil Williams and Associates)
ICF Jones & Stokes
Northbay Watershed Association
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
San Francisco Bay Joint Venture
San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board
San Francisco Estuary Institute
The Exploratorium
Watershed Sciences

Sonoma County
Bouverie Preserve
Cotati Creek Critters
Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria
Kenwood School District
Nuestra Voz
Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation
Pepperwood Preserve
Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
Sonoma County Regional Parks
Sonoma County Water Agency
Sonoma Land Trust
Sonoma League for Historic Preservation
Sonoma Mountain Preservation
Sonoma Valley Education Foundation
Sonoma Valley Historical Society
Sonoma Valley Unified School District

Baseline Consulting

13750 Arnold Drive Suite 3, Glen Ellen, CA 95442 / PO Box 207, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

Office: (707) 996-9967 Cell (707) 509-9427