As we reach the end of this month’s Project Spotlight… Did you learn anything new? Read more here even if you did. This week’s post, written by Lauren Miller, wraps up why studies such as this matter to people, our regions and our policies at large.
The CALFED Watershed Program and the Watershed Coordinator Grant Program were established to improve and restore impaired watersheds throughout California by supporting watershed improvement efforts at a local level. Considering how every individuals’ actions affect the watershed, providing information and engagement opportunities with residents in a watershed can help make a positive impact. Projects supported by these grant programs are diverse, including by not limited to: watershed assessments, developing watershed management plans, dam removal, invasive species removal, native plant gardens, hosting workshops on various topics, educational opportunities, stream condition monitoring, infrastructure improvements and sediment reduction.
Watersheds are part of a complex ecosystem that include a diverse set of stakeholders. While many of the projects mentioned may seem straightforward, this is often not the case. For example, a sediment reduction project involves many steps and may take many different approaches; furthermore, unforeseen issues are inevitable – lack of funding, regulatory barriers, and personnel turnover are some examples.
One project encountered through this study highlights several components that can contribute to the success of a watershed project. The project involved decommissioning several dirt roads, improving road crossings over streams, and restoring aspen riparian vegetation stands; through these actions, sediment reduction in the stream was nearly 50%. Sediment reduction was the chosen strategy to ultimately improve spawning habitat for anadromous fish. Many of the landowners in the watershed supported the project and were actively engaged in the public involvement process.
While not all watershed efforts produce the desired results, the lessons learned through the process can inform future initiatives. For this reason, Sierra Institute’s watershed conservation program study does not only consider the numbers (e.g. sediment reduced, invasive species removed) but rather how watershed coordination and watershed projects lay a foundation for the future. To stay informed on the future of your own watershed, you can locate it here https://cfpub.epa.gov/
There you have it and we’d like to know if you have any comments or questions. Please leave a comment here or on one of our other social media platforms.
Next month look out for Youth Empowerment.
Thank you for your participation!
Project Spotlight 2017