2004 Annual Report

Citizen-Based Watershed Management Activities

A watershed is defined as all the lands drained by a particular creek or river. All the water within a watershed drains to the lowest point, such as a lake, stream, or river. For example, the American River drains into Folsom Lake, which drains into the Sacramento River and eventually finds its way to the Pacific Ocean. Do you know what watershed you live in?

The Placer County RCD is actively involved with six Watershed Groups, consisting of private landowners, as well as local, state, federal agencies, counties, and municipalities committed to enhancing and maintaining the health of Placer County watersheds.

Placer County has provided the RCD funding to serve as facilitator, where there is no coordinator, and the communication nexus for watershed groups through the annual RCD/Placer County Joint Work Program. These groups provide a forum where local jurisdictions, resource experts, citizens, businesses, and non-profit groups can be involved in the active management of their watersheds; where resource issues and concerns can be identified, discussed, and cooperative solutions formulated.

Watershed group inter-action in 2004 has been driven by the continued development of potential projects related to local watershed management or ecosystem restoration documents developed by each group with funding from various state and federal sources.

The American River Watershed Group (ARWG) focuses on both the North and Middle Forks of the American River in regards to water quality and wildfire risk reduction. In 2004 the ARWG received CA Dept. of Conservation (DOC) funding for Watershed Coordinator, Bill Templin. Bill has facilitated the formation of an ARWG Technical Advisory Committee focused on the development of the Sediment Dynamics Study for the North & Middle Forks of the American River and the Rubicon River subwatersheds in collaboration with the Placer County Water Agency and Sierra College with funding from the State Department of Water Resources.

The Auburn Ravine/Coon Creek (AR/CC) Watershed Group has completed a prioritization of projects in relation the AR/CC Ecosystem Restoration Plan (ERP) and continues to work on developing potential projects focused on fish passage issues, habitat conservation and restoration, and water quality issues.

Placer Tree Partners formerly known as the Auburn Area Urban Forestry Group continues to function as a subcommittee of the AR/CC and encourages the appreciation and maintenance of a healthy urban forest. Their efforts in 2004 included public education workshops focused on proper tree pruning and proper tree species and site selection, working with local students in the development of an Urban Forestry Demonstration site on school grounds, the hosting of an Arborist Conference, and culminated in the 2004 Arbor Day event in collaboration with Placer County that resulted in the planting of 60 trees with active community involvement.

The Bear River Watershed Group, facilitated by the Nevada County RCD (NCRCD) with Placer County RCD support, completed a Coordinated Resource Management Plan (CRMP) and moved into a project identification and development phase. In 2004, the NCRCD was awarded DOC funding for Bear River Watershed Coordinator, Lesa Osterholm. Lesa is guiding the effort to involve more stakeholders in the development of projects and a subsequent search for funding.

The Dry Creek Watershed Council has completed development of an ERP that includes projects focused on water quality, sediment and erosion control, fish passage and habitat improvement, and the restoration of riparian corridors. The council is staying abreast of projects being implemented within the watershed by local and regional entities. The council in collaboration with the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency and Placer County was awarded DOC funding for a Watershed Coordinator in 2004.

The Truckee River Watershed Council, now a non-profit entity, continues under the guidance of Executive Director, Lisa Wallace. In addition to developing a watershed management plan, they have taken over the organization of a large volunteer restoration effort on an annual basis known as Truckee River Days. The council continues to provide input to various state, federal, and local entities regarding projects being planned for implementation within the watershed and public education regarding watershed issues.

The Pleasant Grove/Curry Creek Watershed Group continues to develop an ERP under the guidance of Watershed Coordinator, Edmund Sullivan. Both watersheds are being impacted by growth and development pressures and the ERP is being developed in conjunction with the Placer County Conservation Plan focused on special status species and habitat conservation. The group developed and began a water quality monitoring effort and reviewed prospective development projects in 2004.

In addition to the watershed groups, the Placer County RCD, with county funding, supported the Placer County Fire Safe Alliance, in providing a forum for federal, state, and local fire officials to share information and develop fire risk reduction projects and public outreach promoting fire safe activities.