Resource Conservation District
Vol. IV, No. I / Winter 1995
Adopt-A-Watershed Receives AmeriCorps Funding
By Teresa Lafferty
There’s a great future ahead for the Adopt-A-Watershed Program. Funding was received from the AmeriCorps in the amount of $1.36 million to establish the program in 10 California counties. This funding is all part of the new national service plan implemented by President Bill Clinton, called "Getting Things Done." That is exactly what 20,000 AmeriCorps members all over the country are doing.
These individuals are striving to improve their communities and earn educational awards in return for their services. They hope to expand opportunity, encourage responsibility, and inspire a sense of stewardship within the community.
Part of the AmeriCorps program here in California is intertwined with a collaboration between Adopt-A-Watershed and the California Conservation Corps, with the goal of involving the community with the local schools and take mutual responsibility for conserving, restoring, and sustaining local watersheds.
AmeriCorps members are the coordinators of these projects. The seven Trinity River basin site-based coordinators, supervised by Jesse Miller of Weaverville, are: Kathie Thompson, Mike Berry, Aaron Farris, Misty Rickwalt, Kathy Perltier, Amanda Coumbs, and Cindy Smith. Cindy Smith is working with Lynn Jungwirth of the Watershed Research and Training Center to develop economic opportunities throughout Trinity County.
The RCD, due to its ability to manage contracts with a minimum of overhead, was chosen by Adopt-A-Watershed as the funding administrator for the grant. For more information on what Adopt-A-Watershed is up to, see the next article.
A Living Laboratory
By Jesse Miller
The past winter months could be described as eventful. Water cast upon the land begins intriguing journeys down river systems, through plant species, or absorbed into the soil. Even though the destination of a rain drop may be different, the water bonds the earth together as one interrelated system. Trinity County has become a visual textbook of fascinating science concepts. These events are not going unnoticed, students are learning that each ingredient of a watershed adds to a healthy ecosystem.
The Adopt-A-Watershed Program is an integrated K through twelfth grade science curriculum where students adopt a local watershed and follow it as a focal point. They participate in hands-on experiments making science relevant to their lives. Long term field studies, restoration projects, and community education projects enable students to gather real scientific data, develop educated remedies, and transfer their knowledge to the public.
The Price Creek Watershed provides an excellent laboratory for Cox Bar Elementary School. Nancy Wallace’s class is setting up an erosion study to compare soil loss of vegetated and non-vegetated surfaces. In addition, students will learn about soil layers and textures. Homecraft Building Supplies donated the necessary materials for the study. This coordinated field trip requires parent volunteers, community members, and resource specialists who are pulling together in the spirit of respect and cooperation in order to meet local needs.
Junction City Elementary School and United States Forest Service are working jointly on the Blue Bird Mine Riparian Enhancement Project. The students will be actively involved in improving riparian conditions and monitoring the site. This hands-in-the-dirt approach allows students to see themselves as problem solvers and act on their responsibilities. Students are also developing an educational display to communicate the history of Blue Bird Mine and the rehabilitation activities that are happening today. The display will travel to Red Bluff and sit in the Sacramento River Discovery Center. The Center is still in development and hopes to show the evolution of the Sacramento River and the balanced use of its water is not static, but rather is dynamic and often a struggle of competing interests.
Valley High and Hyampom Elementary School are illustrating posters to address steelhead and salmon population concerns in the South Fork of the Trinity River. The South Fork Coordinated Resource Management Plan (CRMP) is sponsoring this community education project. Understanding why anadromous fish are in such peril is the first step in recognizing the need for habitat restoration and the significance of returning fish populations to viable numbers. These posters will be placed throughout the community and known poaching areas along the river.
Each field study, restoration project, or community education project takes an enormous amount of coordination. AmeriCorps members are responsible for collecting community donations, volunteers, and local expertise to provide educational experiences like the ones listed above. AmeriCorps is President Clinton’s national service initiative where members commit one year of service to earn an educational award. Seven AmeriCorps members serve Trinity County facilitating the Adopt-A-Watershed curriculum and assist resources agencies with a variety of watershed related activities.
The word is getting out that a watershed is more than a physical landscape. It supports a variety of resources, uses, activities and values, where everything is linked in such a way that all things are affected by everything else. Perhaps more importantly, a watershed contains the history of all that went before, and the spirit of those who touched it remains.
South Fork Trinity River Coordinated Resource Management Plan (CRMP)
By Noreen Doyas and Staff
A Coordinated Resource Management Plan (CRMP) is a resource planning, problem solving, and management process that allows for direct participation of everyone concerned with natural resource management in a particular planning area. The concept underlying CRMP is that coordinating resource uses results in improved resource management and minimizes conflict among landowners, land users, governmental agencies, and interest groups. This approach tends to be more effective in that issues are addressed based on resource boundaries such as a watershed.
The South Fork CRMP was formed in October of 1993 to address resource concerns and steer restoration projects in the South Fork of the Trinity River Basin. The formation of a CRMP was a key recommendation published in the “Action Plan for Restoration of Fisheries in the South Fork Trinity River”, prepared by Pacific Watershed Associates. This area encompasses 1000 square miles and several important tributaries including Hayfork Creek. The Trinity River Task Force has given its approval and financial support to the CRMP process.
The stated goal of the South Fork CRMP is to protect, improve, and maintain the fisheries, natural resources and economies of the South Fork of the Trinity River.
Memorandum of Understanding
One of the objectives of the CRMP early on was to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU is a two page document that spells out the process of the CRMP and the parameters of the CRMP, listing the goal, support and agreement made by signing the document. People and agencies interested in supporting the CRMP have begun to sign the MOU, making a statement that they are committed to assisting and cooperating in achieving the goals of the CRMP.
Who is Involved?
There is no official membership of the CRMP as it is open to all interested parties, on a voluntary basis. The mailing list currently has 240 people that have expressed an interest in the activities of the CRMP and receive bi-monthly reports of the meeting minutes and other related information such as official correspondence. There is an ongoing effort to attract as many landowners as possible to participate in the meetings and provide input to the decisions made that impact and/or restore resources. Prioritizing areas for restoration activities is one of the decisions that has recently been made by the group. Other than local landowners, the CRMP group consists of Industrial forest landowners, tribal groups, and agencies such as the Resource Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service (formerly the Soil Conservation Service), US Forest Service, California Department of Forestry, US Fish & Wildlife, California Department of Fish & Game, and the North Coast
Regional Water Quality Board. These people are all working together toward a common goal--to help restore the fisheries, watershed and economies of the South Fork Basin.
A subcommittee of the CRMP was formed in November of 1994 to assign responsibilities in order to concentrate efforts given the available resources and staff in order to get work done effectively. Tasks include: CRMP coordination, inventory of possible projects, planning, implementation, monitoring, and education/information. Lead and backup persons/agencies were assigned the various tasks envisioned in order to ensure completion of various phases of the projects.
A draft outline of the Coordinated Resource Management Plan is currently available for review. This plan will identify the ground rules for CRMP cooperation and coordination, list resource management issues, specify implementation strategy, establish criteria to prioritize basin needs, and rank areas of the watershed in terms of restoration needs.
Mass Mailing to Landowners
Over 1,600 letters were sent out to the landowners located in the basin to inform them of the CRMP and to find out where there were resource needs and concerns and to invite participation. Responses to this mailing amounted to 330, 16% of which indicated they had resource concerns. From these responses, we have identified 59 landowners that have technical assistance needs for their resource concerns.
Projects Planned for 1995
The projects planned on private property in the South Fork Basin for this year, based in part on the response to the mailing, include: Riparian Habitat Improvement (19), Water Conservation (5 landowners), Water Quality (8), Stream Bank Erosion (7), Road Erosion (9), and Fisheries (5). Our first efforts this year will be in addressing riparian habitat improvement projects as planting will take place in March.
A CRMP can only be as successful as the level of participation of people living (and owning land) in the watershed. Developing cooperative relationships among the diverse interests living and working in the South Fork Trinity River Basin is an important process. If you are interested in the future of the South Fork Trinity River Basin, let us know!
RCD SPRING CONSERVATION TOUR PLANNED
By Teresa Lafferty
As rain dampened much of California this past winter, this years spring conservation tour will include storm damage evaluation. You will see first hand April 15, 1995 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. the impact Grass Valley Creek watershed has taken due to storms. We will observe log, head-cut, and sackcrete structures that were installed up to threes years ago.
Trinity County Resource Conservation District (TCRCD) is also involved in the implementation of water conservation and riparian habitat improvement projects in the South Fork Basin, primarily in the Hayfork Creek watershed.
During 1994, we completed two water conservation projects which involved installing pipe in open diversion ditches. This results in a more efficient system, as less water is lost through evaporation and leaks. We will be implementing riparian habitat improvement projects along Salt Creek and Carr Creek for twelve landowners. This involves planting along the riparian corridor to help reduce water temperatures and installing cattle exclusion fencing to help protect these fragile corridors. We will include the Hayfork Creek watershed in the second half of our conservation tour.
Please join us on this all day tour on Saturday, April 15, 1995 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information or to be put on our tour mailing list, please contact Teresa Lafferty at (916) 623-6004.
Revegetation Coordinators work with the RCD crew, using various erosion control techniques such as seeding, mulching, planing and bio-engineering (use of live deciduous willow branches) to achieve a stable landscape after primary treatment. Susan Garrett and husband have lived in Trinity County for 8 years. She attended San Diego State and studied both English and Art. Dana Bradlyn has lived in Shasta County most of her life, and worked as a California Conservation Corps member before joining the RCD. Her studies in Plant Science and German were completed at UC Davis. Sandra and her family are lifetime residents of Trinity County. Sandra Dupret attended Shasta College and attained a degree in Horticulture. These women are dedicated to the work going on in Grass Valley Creek watershed and the Hayfork Valley, and are always willing to assist any Trinity County resident with information on a variety of conservation topics of interest to the private landowner. Stay tuned for the next
newsletter and employee close-up.
District News and Notes
By Jim Cooley
As Administrative Assistant here at the District, or RCD as we call it, I am in charge of putting out the newsletter. In the last five years of the RCD’s involvement in the Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP), our little RCD has grown to meet the challenge of this important project and working with many private landowners, federal, state and local agencies. RCD staff are local people who are helping the citizens that, since the 1960’s, began addressing the changes in our river and overall ecosystem. Since 1990, the volunteer RCD board has seen to it that the RCD staffed up with trained local people and spent taxpayer’s money wisely to implement the conservation work it was assigned as part of the TRRP.
As part of our contract, our job is to educate and inform the public of our work with the TRRP. So we are committed to spending tax dollars wisely to publish this newsletter to keep our fellow Trinity County citizens informed.
This year we moved it to a Saturday, to allow more people in our county the chance to come inspect our work and talk with staff. April 15 is the day, and we hope to see all interested folks out there with us. Bring sturdy walking shoes with you!
As we prepare to enter our last year of work in our main project, the Grass Valley Creek watershed rehabilitation, we start work in other aspects of the TRRP also. The RCD is coordinating with the TRRP to put conservation work on the ground in South Fork regions, such as the Hayfork Basin.
Last year we helped CalTrans with a de-icing project at Buckhorn Summit. RCD staff were called in to consult with strategy for removing selected trees to allow sun to hit Hwy 299 and prevent icing there.
TREE CONE COLLECTION
Also last year, the RCD completed a seed cone collection project in the Grass Valley Creek watershed for the Bureau of Land Management. The seeds collected will be used to provide a seed bank in the event of fire or other disaster. 175 Ponderosa Pine, 145 Sugar Pine, and a number of White Fir trees were selected for collection work. Using a .22 rifle, cones were shot out of the trees for testing. Once a tree has been selected, a cone picker climbs to the top of the tree, ties themself in, and hand picks the cones from the upper part of the tree. The drought caused a lot of problems in seed cone collection this year. The seed count was very poor and worms were common. Seed will last for up to twenty years, and will provide a long term investment in maintaining our forest’s health.
GUATEMALAN EXCHANGE FORESTER
We bid farewell to Miguel Castillo from Guatemala. Here as part of an exchange program, Miguel lived with RCD employees and worked as part of the RCD crew. In this way he and others from his area of the world visited conservation projects and agencies in the United States to gain education to take back to their countries for application there.
This year’s State RCD conference was held in San Diego. One director and staff attended as part of a panel discussion on Salmonid Fishery Recovery. Chair Patrick Truman coordinated the panel, in his position as Salmon Restoration Task Force Chair. Also at the conference, new state officers were elected, signaling a renewed commitment by the state organization to assisting RCDs and their work everywhere in the state.
Doug Nowacki, the RCD’s newest board member, was appointed late last year. Due to the birth of his new son, he delayed attending his first meeting until February. The RCD welcomes Doug to the board, and thanks him and the other directors for volunteering their time to run the RCD.
During the big rains, the RCD was happy to be of service to the Odd Fellow Camp near Buckhorn Summit. A culvert problem necessitated the emergency loan to them by the RCD of sandbags to control water flows.
TRINITY COUNTY ROAD DEPARTMENT
Cooperation with other agencies and departments allows fast action. The RCD needed a piece of culvert for an emergency repair of a water diversion. The Trinity County Road Department offered to help out by arranging for culvert from their own supplies to be delivered for use by the RCD. This type of cooperation enabled the RCD to carry on its work without waiting for regular suppliers. Thank you Trinity County Road Department for the needed assist.
That is what the RCD is, a warehouse for conservation information. Stop by or call our office if we can be of any help. Ask for me, Jim Cooley, or Teresa Lafferty, RCD Education Coordinator, and we will help you find the information or assistance that you need.
GVC sediment along Highway 299 during storms.
The month of January was a wet one. Large storm events are what the erosion control work being implemented by the RCD in Grass Valley Creek watershed is intended to address. Results of this storm are being gathered daily in the field. Over 34 inches of rain in January was measured in some areas of the watershed. The average rainfall per year in Weaverville is only 36 inches! The effects of the rain on the decomposed granite in the watershed has kept the CalTrans workers busy cleaning up cut-bank slides. The upper most Hamilton Pond, which catches sediment from the watershed just before it reaches in Trinity River near Lewiston, has filled (with approx. 20,000 cubic yards of sand and gravel) and is being excavated to accommodate future sediment inputs.
Return to the Trinity County RCD Home Page