Training Courses

Training

The California Rapid Assessment Method for wetlands and riparian areas (CRAM) has been developed as a tool for standardized and cost-effective assessment of wetland condition. CRAM training provides a broad understanding of the methodology, assumptions, and procedure for conducting assessments, in addition to the project, ambient, and regulatory uses of the method. The training program is comprised of four different types of courses, each with unique objectives:

  • A 5-day General CRAM Training
  • A 3-day Vernal Pool CRAM Training
  • A 2-day Manager-Level Training
  • A 1-day Refresher Training

Please read the descriptions below to find the most appropriate course for your needs.

Prior to 2013, the training structure consisted of a “3-day Riverine” or a “3-day Vernal Pool” course, with additional “2-day” courses for other individual wetland modules (e.g. depressional or estuarine). In 2013 that structure was modified to a “5-day General CRAM Training” structure. This change was made so as to provide practitioners with a more complete training in the method, allowing for greater in-depth understanding of individual metrics and attributes, and more hands-on practice in the field. The 5-day general training utilizes field sites representing two different wetland types, providing both hands-on experience in each wetland type, as well as an understanding of how the method differs between wetland classes.

Practitioners trained prior to 2013 that have attended at least 5 days of training (2 modules) are considered fully trained (the equivalent of the current 5-day training). Those that have successfully completed a 3-day training are considered trained only in the module that they attended (either Riverine or Vernal Pools). However, in both cases we recommend that these practitioners attend a current CRAM training session (either a 1-day refresher or a full 5-day general training) since at least 5 years has elapsed since completion of their training.

Additionally, the Vernal Pool training remains as a separate training session due primarily to the unique nature of the metrics in the module and the plant species found in these wetlands, which limit the time frame and locations in which the training can be offered.

 

Course Descriptions:

 

5-Day General Training

 

The 5-Day General Training is intended for practitioners who will primarily be conducting site assessments, interpreting CRAM scores, designing assessment or monitoring projects, writing reports using CRAM data, and interacting with managers and agency staff. The course has the following objectives:

  1. Provide an understanding of the conceptual structure and approach of CRAM.
  2. Provide hands-on experience with CRAM in the office and field, including the use of eCRAM and attendant quality assurance procedures.
  3. Build capacity for the use of CRAM by providing a solid technical grounding in the method so that practitioners can reliably perform CRAM assessments for the wetland types utilized in the class.
  4. Provide practitioners with sufficient knowledge of the CRAM methodology to enable them to proficiently conduct assessments with any CRAM modules (assuming sufficient experience and expertise in the assessed ecosystems).
  5. Provide an overview of known applications of CRAM for project and regulatory purposes.

The 5-Day General Training is an intensive field-based course that utilizes practice assessments at eight to nine wetland sites to prepare practitioners for future assessments. These include riverine sites and one other example wetland type, such as depressional, estuarine, or slope wetlands. Through the classroom lectures and exercises, the practice assessments, and ample discussion, the participants gain sufficient assessment skills so that they can conduct accurate and repeatable assessments. Practitioners learn the rationale behind each metric, the procedure for assessing each metric, and fundamental quality control practices, so that the assessments they conduct meet established precision targets. Participants must pass a written take-home exam and two field practicums. Successful participants finish the course with a solid understanding of the methodology, and the skills to assess any wetland type (except Vernal Pools) in which they have previous experience.

 

2-Day Manager-Level Training

 

The 2-Day Manager-Level Training is intended for project managers, designers, planners, and regulatory staff that need a fundamental understanding of CRAM and its application for project management and regulatory applications. Participants are provided with a basic understanding of the conceptual structure and approach of CRAM, limited hands-on experience with CRAM assessments in the office and field (visiting 2 field sites), guidance on reviewing CRAM reports and interpreting data, and an overview of known applications of CRAM for project and regulatory purposes.

This course does not provide the rigorous hands-on field time conducting assessments that the 5-Day course provides, and thus participants will not develop the skills necessary to conduct field assessments.

 

1-Day Refresher Training

 

The 1-Day Refresher Training is intended for people that have previously successfully completed a Practitioner-Level CRAM training, and would like to update or maintain their skills. The course meets the needs of two groups of participants. First, people that have been trained in 2013 or earlier will learn updates to procedures and interpretations of many of the metrics. Second, people trained after 2013 will maintain their skills through practice assessments completed side-by-side with a trainer.

 

3-Day Vernal Pool Training

 

The 3-Day Vernal Pool training is intended for those that will be conducting Vernal Pool CRAM assessments. It has the same objectives as the 5-day course and is a field-based course, however the field assessments only occur in vernal pools and focus upon the specific elements of vernal pools:

  1. Provide an understanding of the conceptual structure and approach of Vernal Pool CRAM.
  2. Provide hands-on experience with Vernal Pool CRAM in the office and field, including the use of eCRAM and attendant quality assurance procedures.
  3. Build capacity for the use of CRAM by providing a solid technical grounding in the method so that practitioners can reliably perform CRAM assessments for the vernal pools.
  4. Provide an overview of known applications of CRAM for project and regulatory purposes.

Practitioners that only work in vernal pool settings may just take this 3-Day course. Those that work in other wetlands should take both the 5-Day General Training as well as this 3-Day Vernal Pool Training.

 

NEW! Online Training Videos


View online training videos for several CRAM wetland modules. Please note these videos are not intended as a stand-alone CRAM training. They have been developed to help refresh practitioners after having taken a break from doing CRAM assessments; to assist new trainees before or after a training; or to inform practitioners that have completed a 5-day training about how other wetland modules work.


The CRAM depressional video won the 2014 W3 Silver Award for educational training!


 2014 W3 Silver Award for educational training

The CRAM Training curriculum is transitioning to a "General CRAM Training" structure, a new 5-day format that will provide a broad understanding of the methodology, assumptions, and background to conduct field assessments for multiple types of wetlands. Sessions will equip practitioners with overall knowledge of how CRAM is used to assess multiple types of wetlands, and also details specific to each type. However, the field portion of each session will focus on two specific wetland types, so that practitioners gain experience in accurately and consistently conducting assessments using these two CRAM modules.

Later this summer information on Self-training and Self-testing Sites will be posted on the CRAM website. The intent of these sites is to allow practitioners to gain assessment experience in wetland types not covered in the field portion of their 5-day training. These sites will be located across the state, including multiple wetland types of varying condition. For each site, all scores, justification of those scores and supporting material will be posted.

The previous 3-day, single wetland format, with additional 2-day sessions for other wetland types is being discontinued this year. This change (requested by CRAM users) is intended to provide practitioners with a greater breadth of knowledge about CRAM and how to apply CRAM to any wetland type, while reducing the time required to be trained in applying the methodology for all wetland types.

Previously trained practitioners that have attended at least 5 days of training (2 modules) are considered fully trained (meaning the equivalent of the new 5-day training). Previously trained practitioners that have attended a 3-day training are considered trained only in the module that they attended (most likely Riverine or Vernal Pools). Starting in April 2013, new practitioners will need to attend and successfully complete a 5-day format session to be considered fully trained in CRAM. During 2013 only, we will offer several 2-day format trainings focusing on either the Depressional module or the Estuarine module. These 2-day trainings are an opportunity for people who have been previously trained in another module (likely Riverine) and do not wish to take the new 5-day course and be fully trained.

The only exception to this new training structure will be for Vernal Pool wetlands. This wetland type will continue to be taught as a single wetland module, separate from the 5-day general CRAM training. This is due primarily to the unique nature of the metrics in the module and the plant species found in these wetlands, which limit the time frame and locations in which the training can be offered.

Read the CRAM Training Course Prospectus


Training Calendar

Title Dates Location
5-day General CRAM Training Mar 19 - Mar 23, 2018 Costa Mesa
5-day General CRAM Training Apr 16 - Apr 20, 2018 Moss Landing
2-day Manager CRAM Training Apr 26 - Apr 27, 2018 Richmond
3-day Vernal Pool CRAM Training May 1 - May 3, 2018 Rocklin
5-day General CRAM Training May 14 - May 18, 2018 Richmond
1-day General CRAM Refresher May 17 - May 17, 2018 Moss Landing
1-day General CRAM Refresher Jun 8 - Jun 8, 2018 Roseville
5-day General CRAM Training Jun 11 - Jun 15, 2018 Roseville
2-day Manager CRAM Training Jun 18 - Jun 19, 2018 San Diego
5-day General CRAM Training Jul 9 - Jul 13, 2018 Moss Landing
5-day General CRAM Training Jul 16 - Jul 20, 2018 South Lake Tahoe