Central Modoc Resource Conservation District
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Technical Advisory Committee

Status Report to Technical Advisory Committee
2008

Direct any questions or comments regarding restoration activities to CMRCD Watershed Coordinator Bryon Hadwick, (530) 233-8878.

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New Cooperators Welcome
Let us know if you or your neighbors have conservation concerns that could benefit from CMRCD assistance. Call the staff, or visit with the RCD directors to get started.

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Grant Funding Update

This section highlights CMRCD grants that support watershed assessment, monitoring, restoration and River Center watershed education projects. Additional information on the grants supporting the River Center's education and outreach programs can be obtained through the River Centerís Web site or by contacting River Center Executive Director Valerie Lantz at (530) 233-5085. News about specific projects under these grants is outlined in the next section.

The CMRCD is cooperating with the North Cal-Neva Resource Conservation and Development Council to provide technical support and local outreach for the Watershed Management Strategy (WMS). Funds for the WMS are provided through the California Department of Water Resources Proposition 50 grant. The WMS will include all of the Upper Pit River Watershed. The overall watershed Outreach Program for the WMS will be preformed by River Center staff. The WMS will be developed over a two year period ending March of 2009.

Project Update

UPRWEPP Projects continue to focus on a common set of problems found throughout the watershed. By developing methods, materials and cooperating frameworks suited to local conditions, we hope to build a set of practices that can be adapted to problems identified in the ongoing Pit River Watershed Assessment.

Common types of riparian and wetland conditions widely recognized as contributing to multiple detrimental effects in the watershed are treated by the projects listed below. These conditions include but are not limited to: bank erosion, especially when associated with channelization and seasonal inundation, upland erosion and gullying, wetland dewatering, flood plain disconnect, poor terrestrial and aquatic habitat conditions.

Active Projects

South Fork Pit River: Likely Land and Livestock Phase II
The Likely Land and Livestock Company cooperated with the CMRCD and Ducks Unlimited on a stream bank restoration project along the South Fork Pit River. The project is located about two miles east of the town of Likely, Calif. This project involves the restoration of about 1 1/4 miles of riparian corridor along the river. Goals of the project are to stabilize eroding stream banks, increase the size and improve the vegetative diversity of the riparian corridor, improve the stream and flood plain relationship and improve fishery and waterfowl habitat. Major components of the restoration work include re-sloping of shear-cut stream banks and willow planting along with seeding a mixture of riparian grass and forb species. Other treatments that were applied in selected areas were the placement of rock for bank protection and use of rock wing deflectors to help control stream flow. Boulder clusters will be placed in the stream to improve fish habitat. Fencing of the riparian corridor is also a major component of this project. The illustrations below are of the completed project.

TAC Fall 2008
TAC Fall 2008
TAC Fall 2008
TAC Fall 2008

Dobe Swale: Witcher Ranch

CMRCD is working with landowners Glenn and Marie Nader on the further enhancement of riparian areas on their Witcher Ranch. This project addresses the rehabilitation and enhancement of the branch of Witcher Creek referred to as the Dobe Swale Field. The stream channel that exists throughout the ranch and the continuous release of water from Dobe Swale Reservoir and Pine Spring provide an excellent opportunity to develop a stable aquatic/riparian ecosystem. Heavy equipment operations were started in August 2006 and are nearing completion.

The potential fish-bearing channel through the Nader property is more than eight miles long; the Dobe Field channel rehabilitation comprises 1.57 miles of that channel. To address landowner goals of sustainable fisheries and a stable aquatic/riparian system the following types of enhancements are being developed:

  • A few large hydrologic control structures are needed to provide stability, provide over-bank flood relief and raise the water table
  • Bank contouring and enhancement
  • Vegetative habitat development: including the incorporation of woody vegetation into hydrologic structure designs
  • Various in-stream structures for erosion control and habitat including:
    • "bank full" sill structures such as "log cribs"
    • live crib walls
    • cross vanes and rock riffles
    • longitudinal stone toe structures
    • rootwads and other large woody debris

The photos below show some of the completed in-stream structures.

TAC Fall 2008
TAC Fall 2008
TAC Fall 2008
TAC Fall 2008

Design of these structures is contracted to Lahontan Consulting Inc. of Susanville. Hydrologist George Wingate, President of Lahontan Consulting and has spearheaded the design process.

Willow Creek Ranch (Likely) Riparian Restoration Project:
The project will enhance about 400 acres of meadows, wetlands and floodplain along an un-named tributary to the South Fork Pit River. In the 1930's this native stream channel was modified with 12 water control structures along one-half mile of reach to provide seasonal irrigation to the adjacent meadows. These structures were recently destroyed by several floods, causing erosion of stream banks, lowering of the water table, spreading of noxious weeds and loss of good habitat for fish and waterfowl. Portions of the stream are fenced but lack canopy cover. A small pond, about 1/4 acre in size, was created over 50 years ago adjacent to the stream. This pond can be enhanced and protected to support nesting waterfowl. The landowner wishes to double the pond's size, construct one-half mile of fence around it and develop nesting islands within the pond. Landowner also wishes to replace the destroyed water control structures to restore riparian habitat and resume irrigation of meadows. A warm spring provides 4 cfs of flow at 65 degrees to the stream which creates open water for birds in the pond and stream during winter. This project has been approved for NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funding and is partially funded through the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. The Central Modoc Resource Conservation District Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) toured the project this summer (click here for the notes).

TAC Winter 2006
TAC Winter 2006

Pedotti Ranch Riparian Restoration Project:

A proposal for revegetation and management of irrigation ditches on lower Canyon Creek has been presented by the landowner. The proposal would entail revegetation of channelized reaches of Canyon Creek and development of future management strategies for these canals. Some incidental erosion control work associated with the irrigation control structures in this system would also be accomplished. Goals of this project include conversion of bare ditch banks into grassy habitats that would reduce sediment inputs into Canyon Creek, and that would improve habitat value of the banks, while providing for existing agricultural uses. Propagation of native bunch grasses, especially locally occurring wild rye species (genus Leymus) would be emphasized. A small field of these grasses would be cultivated and harvested for seed for use on this and possibly other future projects. This project is partially funded through the Sierra Nevada Conservancy for project planning and permitting.

The photo below shows erosion problems and lack of riparian vegetation.

TAC Winter 2006

Krauel Wetlands Enhancement Project
This project aims to enhance 80 acres of wetlands along the Pit River five miles downstream of Alturas. The landowner has two 10 horsepower pumps, and one head gate that can provide water from the river to adjacent wetlands. A previous landowner attempted to fill old river channels and flatten the floodplain to farm alfalfa. Funds for this project will undo the actions of the previous landowner, stabilize approximately five hundred (500) linear feet of eroding riverbank, and facilitate new riparian vegetation. Approximately one-quarter (1/4) mile of new fencing will be installed to create riparian meadow that can be managed separately from adjacent uplands. This project has been approved for NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funding and is partially funded by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. The Central Modoc Resource Conservation District Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) toured the project this summer (click here for the notes).

TAC Winter 2006
TAC Winter 2006

Hagge Ranch Wetlands Enhancement Project
This project will convert 15 acres of floodplain into wetlands adjacent to McBrien Lake for waterfowl nesting habitat. By revegetating the newly constructed wetlands with native species (found around Lake McBrien), the project will help improve water quality in the Pit River by holding floodwaters and runoff within a larger acreage of wetlands that filter sediment and nutrients. Streambanks along the Pit River (1,200 linear feet) within the project area will also be treated with riprap and willows to protect the landowner's access road and adjacent meadows from erosion. This project is partially funded through the Sierra Nevada Conservancy for project planning and permitting.

TAC Winter 2006
TAC Winter 2006

McGarva Ranch Riparian Restoration and Off Site Stock Watering System
This project would include riparian restoration by installing off-site watering systems for livestock. Currently livestock water out of the channel and it is very difficult to keep the banks stabilized. As there are few places that the ground is stable enough for the cattle to approach the channel these areas are badly cow tracked. Over the years the channel has become flat and wide. The project area would include five fields of about 30 to 40 acres and it would be necessary for the project to have five offsite watering systems.

TAC Winter 2006
TAC Winter 2006

Numerous other sites are under discussion, but are not yet ready for presentation.