Annual Report 2007

The Placer County Resource Conservation District (RCD/District) — Serving Generations

For more than sixty years, the Placer County RCD has served as an independent, self governing entity, dedicated to the conservation of natural resources within a 1,500 square mile area of Placer County. The area encompasses all but the Tahoe Basin. Partnering with others, the RCD assists private landowners and public agencies in accomplishing the goal of conserving natural resources in our area.

Governed by a seven-member Board of Directors and working with the Placer County Board of Supervisors, Directors serve a four-year term without monetary compensation. The RCD Directors currently serving are comprised of farmers, foresters, an environmental planner, a retired civil servant and a legislative advocate. These volunteers have the experience to serve a diverse population with a wide array of needs.

The RCD operates through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and provides water, soil, wildlife, fuel load reduction and related technical assistance to landowners and local, state and federal agencies. Their efforts accomplish the goal of conserving our natural resources not only for our current population but for future generations as well.

We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward to another successful year of providing assistance to our stakeholders. The information contained in this publication will provide you with an insight about projects and programs in progress while summarizing the successful outcome of completed tasks.

Our Mission

The Placer County Resource Conservation District is dedicated to identifying natural resource management and conservation issues, providing education and technical assistance or direction to private landowners and local entities for implementing programs and plans to conserve and enhance the natural resources of the District while inspiring and mobilizing public conservation awareness and involvement.

Watershed Coordinator Final Reports Are In

Funding for two RCD Watershed Coordinators ended in 2007 and their final reports are in. Both watershed groups have submitted proposals for future funding.

Dry Creek Watershed — Monitoring water quality within the watershed has been a major focus during the past three years. Baseline data was supplemented by 30+ volunteers participating in an annual salmon survey of over 20 miles of creeks to estimate numbers of returning spawners. The Watershed Coordinator, Gregg Bates, organized these and other volunteers in a successful “Creek Week” activity attracting over 700 participants. Many partnerships were formed and Gregg successfully applied for and received grants in order to implement priority projects. Visit our American Basin Council of Watersheds page for more information.

American River Watershed — Bill Templin, Watershed Coordinator, focused on collaborative efforts between all stakeholders, obtaining grants to expand an understanding of the process and function of the American River Watershed.

He organized clean-up events and educational outreach activities for high school students. The Watershed Education Summit, a successful program organized by the El Dorado RCD, was expanded by Bill to include students from Placer County schools. Professionals from the U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service and State Water Resources Control Board collaborated to provide information and participated in data collection in the Crystal Basin Area.

Bill also successfully organized local residents to become more involved in a healthy fishery. The group formed a 501(c) 3 non-profit called the Upper American River Foundation in order to establish a sustainable funding mechanism for improvements to the watershed.

Partnership Provides Geographic Information Systems Coordinator

The GIS Coordinator program is in place to provide partners with an up-to-date mapping of projects to identify current projects such as fuel-load reduction, invasive weed control as well as future planned projects. The Placer County RCD, in partnership with Nevada County, El Dorado County, and Georgetown Divide RCDs, has implemented a cost share program with the NRCS, to provide the GIS coordination service.

Austin Mulder served as the GIS Coordinator for the Placer County RCD for most of 2007. Later, in the fall, Leah Phillips came on board to serve in the same capacity after Austin left the RCD to return to his home State of Colorado. Both employees added a new dimension to the position with an extensive knowledge and experience in the GIS field.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS-Auburn Office) Reports Success

The Placer County Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service continues to assist local private landowners and other agencies with technical guidance and financial incentives to fulfill its mission of conservation.

The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) distributed $478,000 to farmers, ranchers, and timberland owners with new conservation contracts, and processed $269,500 in payments for completed on the ground practices from prior year contracts. In addition the Conservation Security Program paid $142,300 for ongoing stewardship of farms in selected watersheds.

USDA-NRCS also provided technical assistance to 170 local landowners and assisted them by providing information on soils, aerial photos, maps, engineering and historical records. Site visits were conducted to fully assess the local impacts and to devise solutions that would be effective as well as implementable. Several landowners took advantage of our services by developing detailed Conservation Plans for their properties.

USDA-NRCS also participated in several local events including the Farm & Barn Tour, Placer Grown, the Gold Country Fair, and also conducted educational visits to local high schools.

We look forward to continuing our unique partnership with the Resource Conservation District and in working with landowners to maintain and enhance the County’s soils, water, plants, crops, forests and watersheds.

Annual Placer County Agricultural Tour

Bryan Kaminski of the Natural Trading Company speaks to the Agricultural Tour Group about organic farming.

At the County’s request, the RCD coordinated the Annual Placer County Agricultural Tour. The 2007 theme was “Making the Agricultural Connections Possible”. The tour focused on the relationship between “agricultural producers” and “those who consume” agricultural products.

The first tour stop was at the “Natural Trading Company”, featuring local organically grown foods. The farm is owned and operated by Bryan Kaminski and Carin Hamilton. Their “home operations” were highlighted and consist primarily of a green house production method.

The second stop on this tour was in their “field operations” section which featured organically grown vegetables.

Placer County Supervisor, Jim Holmes, and Placer County Agricultural Commissioner, Christine Turner, participated in the 2007 Agricultural Tour.

The third and final stop was at the “Flower Farm Bed and Breakfast” which highlighted the ‘soon-to-be’ organic nursery. A delicious meal, prepared with locally produced wholesome and fresh products, was catered by the Placer-Nevada Cattlewomen.

The tour proved to be quite popular as evidenced by the number of people in attendance. Attendees included members of the Placer County Board of Supervisors, City Council members, and County Planning Commissioners and representatives from the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, the California State Assembly and the California State Senate.

Natural Resource Education

Erosion and Sediment Control

Landowner Assistance

The RCD, in partnership with the USDA-NRCS, continues to provide erosion and sediment control recommendations to farmers, ranchers and residential property owners throughout the District. Assistance has included:

  • Forage Improvement
  • Establishment of cover corps in orchards and vineyards
  • Home-site erosion and sediment control
  • Pasture and rangeland improvement

Rural property owners were provided erosion and sediment control “Best Management Practices” (BMPs) on over 100 acres within the District’s area during 2007.

Erosion and Sediment Control Workshops

Workshop attendees at the “Washoe Fire Site” in Tahoe discuss erosion control practices.

The RCD provided ten (10) Erosion Control and Storm Water workshops to over 400 people in 2007. The general public and staff members from Placer County, the City of Lincoln, and the City Auburn attended these workshops, obtaining useful information on: the development of erosion control plans, the implementation of “on-site” erosion and sediment control practices, non-storm water discharge concerns on building sites, and site monitoring observations pertaining to storm water runoff.

Soil Erosion Control Activities

Placer County once again, grew at a very rapid rate in the earlier part of 2007, resulting in the increased number of construction sites as well as increased erosion and sediment transport potential.

The RCD maintained contracts and/or working agreements with Placer County and the City of Auburn. The RCD retains a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) to review erosion and sediment control plans and to provide effective on-site erosion and sediment control Best Management Practices (BMPs) recommendations.

In 2007, the RCD provided erosion control recommendations on 48 various types of construction projects on over 2,000 acres of ground, including areas within Squaw Valley, NorthStar, Meadow Vista, Auburn, and other areas within Western Placer County. Additionally, the RCD provided erosion control recommendations on over 30 individual home sites within Placer County.

A typical construction site can easily discharge 10 to 20 tons of soil, per acre, per year, into the watershed. A well-vegetated, protected acre of soil will result in only 2 to 5 tons of sediment discharge per year. It’s estimated that the implementation of erosion and sediment control practices may have prevented more than 10,000 tons of soil (or roughly 8,000 cubic yards) of soil from discharging into Placer County watersheds.

Wildlife Enhancement

The NRCS continues to manage three contracts for wetland restoration through their Wetland Reserve Program with 890 acres to be restored and encompassing two perpetual easements and one thirty year easement.

Water Conservation

Irrigation Water Management

The District’s Certified Irrigation Auditor continues to provide irrigation system evaluations and irrigation water management recommendations to local landowners. The process improves irrigation system efficiencies, thereby conserving water and reducing runoff. In 2007 the RCD staff provided assistance to over 14 landowners on more than 460 acres.

Irrigation Management System Project

The RCD assisted the Placer County Water Agency with the implementation of their Irrigation Management System (IMS) project. Seven landowners were selected to have neutron probes installed within their irrigated crops/orchards. The probes monitor soil moisture and compare water application rates versus the crop/orchard water usage. The IMS project, funded through a grant from the Calif. Department of Water Resources, will help producers determine the appropriate intervals at which to irrigate.

Important Achievements In 2007

  • Under contract with Placer Co. Parks Department, the RCD provided erosion and sediment control Best Management Practices (BMPs) recommendations on the newly opened “Hidden Falls Park”. The property was obtained through the “Placer Co. Legacy Program” and consists of 383 acres with more than 5.3 miles of trails.
  • Reviewed and provided input to the Parks Department on the erosion and sediment control plan for the Franklin School Community Park. Construction began in 2007. The RCD met on-site and reviewed erosion and sediment control concepts with Parks and the contractor.
  • Washoe Fire: The RCD assisted the Tahoe RCD, Placer County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on development of “post fire” erosion and sediment control Best Management Practices on the Washoe Fire site.
  • Inventory: Placer County is required to inventory “outfalls” within the Tahoe Basin and Truckee areas. “Outfalls” are defined as the last County maintained drainage feature leaving the County’s jurisdiction. The RCD helped define “outfall”, map outfalls, and field check outfalls using a Global Positioning System.

 

Many thanks for your hard work and dedication in managing and conserving our natural resources in Placer County!