Sac River Watershed Blog

  • Sep 12, 2016

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    The Forest Ranch Fire Safe Council, Terra Fuego Resource Foundation and the Sacramento River Watershed Program will be hosting the Healthy Watersheds and Fire Adapted Communities Forum. The Forum will be held at the Sierra Nevada Brewery Big Room in Chico, CA on September 22nd from 9:30am to 4:00pm. The Forum will focus on informing and engaging our local community and decision makers about the health, challenges, threats and good work that is happening within the Sacramento watershed. The forum will include the history of the Sacramento watershed, its status today and the work and attention it needs to remain resilient in light of our changing climate. More info here.

  • Feb 25, 2016

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    SRWP is at a crossroads of helping to find common ground for the competing interests of water in northern California, balancing municipal and industrial water supply, agriculture, environment, recreation, power production, and flood management needs. Beyond the traditional water dialogue we are working to bring other water-affecting issues into the conversation including fire and fuels management. Our staff and board are passionate, dedicated, and focused and yearning to usher our program into a new era of broad-based support.

    Effective management of California’s water resources is a persistent issue despite ongoing efforts to improve governance and integration. A recent report from the Public Policy Institute of California (see note below) suggests that California’s current system for governing and funding water management lacks the authority and information to manage water shortages and that “coordination failures among state and federal agencies have led to inefficiencies in reservoir operations, ecosystem management, and water marketing, among others.”

    There is an immense need for projects that improve watershed health and result in multiple benefits that increase the region’s resiliency to the impacts of drought and flood events along with a desire and need to demonstrate the linkages between the landscape and management in upstream areas and impacts on downstream water availability, quality, and inundation. Information, communication and cooperation are necessary to ensure consistency, allow for more efficient use of limited staff and budgets, reduce conflicts, and free up resources that can be invested in programs and projects aimed at achieving positive environmental benefits. As a result, the SRWP is partnering with key stakeholders to cooperatively develop a regional program in the Sacramento River Watershed to reduce the effects of flooding and drought.

    Developing a sustainable infrastructure, social support, and long-term funding commitments is necessary to implement large-scale protection and health of the Watershed. SRWP will establish a formal partnership that will assist in the development and implementation of the Sacramento River Watershed Resiliency Project. The Partnership will review and inventory resources and their relevant attributes and develop and apply a vetting process to identify and rank priority areas and resource management needs. This effort will leverage and incorporate previous and current projects and provide the latest knowledge and tools to improve stakeholders’ ability to identify and address resource issues at a watershed scale. Priority will be placed on projects, programs, and events that address multiple watershed issues and fulfill local, state and federal objectives including components of an established watershed or source water plan or similar guiding document.

    Effective watershed management conserves and enhances fundamental resources while providing for the needs of people and ecosystems and it requires cooperation and communication. Collaboration requires a great deal of work and unfortunately this type of work is sometimes marginalized and often not easy to finance. We hope that our endeavor to engage a diverse group of stakeholders in pre-project planning and develop broad financial and political support from federal, regional and local sources will result in the implementation of unified and complimentary management goals throughout the watershed.

    If you are interested in learning more about this effort, please contact Holly Jorgensen at holly@sacriver.org or (530) 781-2220.

    Note 1. Public Policy Institute of California's "Managing California’s Water: From Conflict to Reconciliation" report: Executive Summary and Full Report.

  • Feb 25, 2016

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    (Above) Sample screen from graphing facility in the new portal.

    The Sacramento River Watershed Portal will give users access to the extensive water monitoring data, studies, reports and articles on the Sacramento River Watershed. Users will be able to compile maps and graphs to better visualize data collection results and answer questions about the watershed. SRWP is working with a knowledgeable group of project partners and other stakeholders representing regulated dischargers, water managers, state and federal agencies, NGOs, and tribes to inform decisions regarding the content, design, and functionality of the portal. This effort is part of SRWP’s long-term program to improve watershed health by providing accurate, timely, and graphic information about the Sacramento River Watershed.

    A great deal of time has been spent on identifying, locating, and assessing available water quality-based information in order to identify thresholds for addressing key management questions relative to potential water quality issues. SRWP with support from 34 North and key stakeholders has compiled data sources and retrieved existing reports, GIS layers, photos, and other relevant information from multiple sources and started developing the portal layout including installing and setting up the software, templates, and the server to begin importing and integrating data and information. We also created a survey instrument to gather information about stakeholders’ current data needs and monitoring practices. The information collected from these various forms of stakeholder input is being applied to articulate management questions, access relevant information, and develop the portal so that it provides the best available insight about water quality and environmental conditions in the Sacramento River Watershed.

    Stakeholders interested in the development of the Sacramento River Watershed Portal and watershed monitoring activities within the region are encouraged to attend quarterly Monitoring Committee and Portal Development Meetings

  • Oct 13, 2015

    Severe drought conditions are negatively impacting our state’s natural and financial resources. A recent report by the California Endowment revealed the hidden community-level impacts of the drought and highlighted nonprofits, “many organizations struggle to keep up with demand and need more funding to increase drought-related programs and build capacity.” Not only are funds for drought-related efforts stretched thin, funding priorities have understandably changed as wells run dry and dead fish lie in dry creek beds. Drought-related challenges have the potential to threaten in-region water resources and now more than ever, communities need help in developing a better understanding of state and federal issues related to and affecting their watershed resources.

    SRWP was established in 1996 as an effort to bring stakeholders together to address all water-related issues -- including drought -- within the Sacramento River Watershed. We have served as a forum for watershed stakeholders to share information, measure cumulative progress, and maintain a shared vision of the watershed.

    In 2014, we held the 6th Annual State of the Sacramento River Watershed Forum and the 2014 Annual Stakeholder Meeting along with smaller conferences, workshops, and meetings featuring updates on statewide and regional topics. Our 2014 Annual Stakeholder Meeting at the Sierra Nevada Brewery Big Room in Chico was a huge success, attended by more than 60 representatives concerned with resource conditions within the Sacramento River watershed. On Tuesday October 27th, SRWP will hold the 2015 Annual Stakeholder Meeting and Watershed Forum in Sacramento at the Sierra Health Foundation along the Sacramento River. This event is an opportunity for stakeholders to receive information on issues affecting the Sacramento River watershed, share updates, ideas and opportunities, and hear about and provide input on efforts to support watershed management.

    The Sacramento River Watershed provides drinking water for residents of northern and southern California, irrigation water for agriculture, and habitat for hundreds of wildlife species. It is also the home of more than 2 million northern Californians. The majority of the watershed is rural and often lacks the information, technical expertise, or other community resources required to be effective in addressing local concerns and issues. Now is the time to invest in the organizations serving our rural communities. By partnering with locally-based organizations throughout the region, SRWP serves as an information clearinghouse, neutral partner, and a source for fact-based information and education to be used at the State and federal level to address our region’s needs .

    There are a number of ways to support SRWP’s efforts — providing administrative and/or technical assistance, participating in this year’s Annual Stakeholder Meeting and Watershed Forum, and providing financial assistance. Securing sponsors is especially important this year as we face the challenges of doing even more with less. Sponsorship brings increased visibility to your business, demonstrates an investment to the community, and shows a commitment to SRWP — a respected program aimed at improving the health of the Sacramento River Watershed. Your support demonstrates a vote of confidence in our mission and goals aimed at resolving watershed issues with local participation and a watershed-wide perspective.

  • May 31, 2015

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    SRWP will be adapting the OpenNRM Open Source Software Project to create a web portal customized for the Sacramento River watershed. The portal will give users access to the extensive water monitoring data, studies, reports and articles on the Sacramento River watershed. Users will be able to compile maps and graphs to better visualize available data and answer questions about the watershed.

    Over the next few months, SRWP will engage key stakeholders to design, create, promote and maintain the  portal. The collective knowledge of key stakeholders will be applied to articulate management questions, access relevant information, and develop a web portal that provides the best available insight about water quality conditions in the Sacramento River Watershed.

    The above photo shows the OpenNRM portal adapted for the San Joaquin River at http://sanjoaquinrivermonitoring.com/.

    You can read more about this project here.