Central Modoc Resource Conservation District
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Watersheds of the Modoc Spring 2003

Calendar of Events

What does the new Regional Water Quality Control Board Agriculture Waiver mean for dischargers?
Find out more at the Pit River Watershed Alliance Meeting on Thursday, May 22nd, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Canby Fire Hall. For more information contact James Rickert at 524-8166.

Are weeds invading your property?
Join the Modoc County Noxious Weed Management Group on the fourth Wednesday of every month from 9:00 am to 11:00 am at the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge. For more information please contact Joe Moreo, Modoc County Agriculture Department 233-6401.

Discover the wonders of the Pit River watershed
by visiting the River Center located at 136 Henderson Street in Alturas. The River Center is open Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Weekend tours are available by appointment. For more information contact, Paula Fields at 233-5085.

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Watershed Update

By Watershed Coordinator Cliff Harvey

Prop 204 Grant Successfully Concluded
A three-year program of watershed education, monitoring, and watershed restoration funded by California Proposition 204 concluded last November. The final report for this effort is complete and available for review by anyone who is interested. The report is available at the CMRCD office, at the River Center, and at the County Library.

This $500,000 grant contributed to:
  • Two large restoration projects and several smaller efforts.
  • Over two dozen monitoring sites to document watershed trend on private land.
  • The work of our education program, leading to the new River Center.

We are proud of how much was done with this funding, and we think the taxpayers got good value for their money. Especially when you consider that over $100,000 of local cash and in-kind contributions were added to the grant to stretch the dollars further.

Witcher Creek Before

Before Photo: The channel of Witcher Creek was suffering from too much livestock pressure. The roots of the meadow grasses were too weak to bind the soil. The channel was getting wider as valuable topsoil washed away.

Witcher Creek After

After Photo: After a season of rest, the vegetation is recovering. A series of grade control structures is set to be installed later this year. These structures will stop the erosion, and capture sediment to build the channel back up. The meadow will hold more water for better sub-irrigation in the future. This riparian pasture can be returned to the grazing rotation after a few years of rest. Cleaner water, less erosion, better habitat for fish and wildlife, and better productivity. That's conservation!

Current Projects
We have a number of new projects starting real soon. A formal comment period will be announced to comply with environmental regulations. For a full list of active and proposed projects, visit the CMRCD website or give us a call.

How We Can Fund Your Project
New funding opportunities come up regularly, but it can take up to two years to obtain funds for your project. So start now! Our next big proposal for state funds will be coming up soon, and we would like to hear your ideas for projects to include in our next proposal.

Projects that are good candidates for funding include:
  • Fencing to establish riparian meadows and corridors or to protect wetlands.
  • Off-site water sources in conjunction with riparian/wetland protection.
  • Stabilization of streambank erosion.
  • Treatment of gullies, especially in meadows.
  • Removal of levees left over from stream channelization.
  • Development of nutrient uptake lagoons to treat feedlot runoff.
  • Wetland restoration or enhancement.
  • Habitat enhancement (when associated with streams and wetlands.)
  • Or your new idea!

Any project proposals that contribute to cleaner water will be considered. We can't promise that every project will be funded, but we can promise that all proposals will be considered.

In order to qualify for funding, landowners must agree to:
  • Participate in the project planning and long term monitoring.
  • Participate in getting the on-the-ground work done.
  • Maintain improvements for a specified time.
  • Abide by agreed Best Management Practices to ensure project goals are met.

If you are used to working with NRCS programs, this will not be all that different. In fact, many of the state grant funds administered by CMRCD can make up part of the required match for NRCS programs such as EQIP. If you are cooking up an EQIP proposal, chances are it would qualify for additional state funding.

If the new EQIP match requirements are going to be difficult for you to reach, let us help bridge the gap!

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Pit River Watershed Alliance News Alert Spring 2003

New Watershed Coordinator
James Rickert started the Pit River Alliance coordinator position in January 2003. A native to the McArthur area, James is a recent graduate from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, with a degree in Crop Science and a minor in Plant Protection Science.

Watershed Assessment Update
VESTRA Resources, Inc., from Redding anticipates the Pit River Watershed Assessment to be completed by fall, 2003.

The contract funded by CALFED was awarded to VESTRA Resources of Redding in the fall of 2001. The goal for the watershed assessment is to prepare a balanced document that will serve as an educational tool to provide available information to stakeholders, build consensus within the watershed, and provide a baseline for future action. The assessment will contain physical watershed characteristics, general watershed history, land use, demographics, geomorphology, hydrology, water quality, vegetation resources, wildlife resources, cultural resources, fire and fuel management, and fisheries and aquatic resources.

Grimm and Yamagiwa

Gary Grimm, Mountain Visions and Marty Yamagiwa, Forest Service fisheries biologist at Cold Creek fall 2002.

Important Meeting Dates:
  • Pit River Watershed Alliance
    May 22, 2003, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    Canby Fire Hall, Canby, CA
  • Pit River Watershed Alliance
    Watershed Assessment Subcommittee
    May 22, 2003, 10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
    Canby Fire Hall, Canby, CA

Contact Information:
Pit River Watershed Alliance
James Rickert, Coordinator
806 West 12th Street
Alturas, CA 96101
(530) 524-8166

The PRWA is funded by CALFED & the State of California Department of Conservation (DOC).

The updated Pit River Watershed Alliance website has been online since December 2002.

The Pit River watershed has been selected as one of five across the United States to be highlighted with an "Interactive Watershed" website. Mountain Visions, a company specializing in natural resource multimedia projects, developed the site.

The website holds information about the Pit River watershed, with specific examples including the background of the PRWA, watershed geography, resource issues, and an "Interactive Journey."

The PRWA is currently seeking funding opportunities to add additional interactive features to the website in 2003. Future plans for the site include a virtual tour of the River Center, and an interactive water quality demonstration. The site was funded by National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Modoc National Forest, CALFED & the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Pit River Watershed Alliance Stewardship Award
The PRWA will be sponsoring an annual "Stewardship Award."

This award will show support for the local landowners and land managers that have demonstrated an ethic for improving local natural resource conditions. Eligibility criteria will be established soon. A "Stewardship Award" subcommittee was formed at the March 20 PRWA meeting to discuss specific details of the award.

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The River Center The River Center is now open!
Bring the whole family and discover the wonders of your watershed.

When: Monday through Friday, Weekend tours available by appt.
Time: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Place: The River Center, 136 Henderson St., Alturas

The purpose of the River Center is to showcase our natural resources in Modoc County and develop an appreciation for how a watershed affects and benefits the community.

Funding for this project has been provided in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) pursuant to Assistance Agreement No. C9-98998901-0 and any amendments thereto which has been awarded to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) for the Implementation of California's Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program. Funding was also provided in part by the Modoc National Forest.

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Welcome New Staff!

Your Conservation District is growing, and we've added some wonderful new staff to help get the job done. Please help us welcome Laura Shinn, Laura VanAcker and Jim Davis!

Laura Shinn, a Susanville native, was hired in September as our new administrative assistant. Laura is fulfilling the responsibilities previously held by Debra Betters. We wish Debra the best of luck as she furthers her college education in Reno.

Laura holds a bachelor of arts degree in economics from California State University Sacramento (CSUS). Prior to her employment with the District, Laura held a position as economic development coordinator with the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization (SACTO) in Sacramento, California. Laura brings over 10 years of professional office management experience to the District.

Laura Shinn may be reached at 233-8872 or at the District Office, 804 West 12th Street in Alturas.

Laura VanAcker has been hired as a part-time education coordinator to assist Paula Fields in further promoting educational opportunities through the River Center.

Laura comes to us with 15 years of experience in natural resource education. Laura has been a resident of Modoc County for 20 years. She has a bachelor's degree in natural resource management from UC Davis and spent 15 years working for federal resource agencies. Laura left government employment in 1995 to pursue a teaching credential and is also currently employed with Modoc Charter School as an independent study teacher.

Feel free to contact Laura VanAcker at the River Center, 233-5085 or at her home number 233-4656. The River Center is located at 136 Henderson Street in Alturas.

Jim Davis of Pyramid Lake, Nevada has been hired as a project coordinator. He will serve as lead staff for on-the-ground project management for all of our active projects. Jim holds a bachelor of science in biology from the University of Nevada at Reno, and has 15 years of experience in fisheries and water quality science, as well as a long list of practical skills.

He and his wife Leah Wyatt-Davis, who is a graduate of Modoc Union High School and CSU-Chico now reside in Ft. Bidwell, and are looking for a home in the Alturas area. Jim and Leah have five adult children and six grandchildren!

Jim is based at the new CMRCD Auxiliary Office at 151 N. Court Street in Alturas. He can also be reached at 640-1120.

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Central Modoc Resource Conservation District

Dick Mackey, President
David Hoxsey, Vice President
Chris Knoch, Treasurer
Jerry Hoxsey, Tim Martinez,
Larry Osborne & Chico Pedotti

Laura Shinn, Administrative Assistant
Laura VanAcker, Education Coordinator
Paula Fields, Education Coordinator
Jim Davis, Project Coordinator
Cliff Harvey, Watershed Coordinator

CMRCD meets the 3rd Tuesday of every month.
Anyone is welcome to attend!