On May 25th the Upper Sacramento, McCloud and Lower Pit Regional Water Action Group will host an evening of public presentations on the benefits of collaborative watershed management in our local communities. This is the second of a series of public presentations and field trips that aim to share the group’s work and feature the most recent state-funded projects to improve water systems in the Upper Sacramento region.  The presentations will take place at McCloud River Mercantile, 241 Main Street McCloud, upstairs in the Great Room from 7-9 pm.

The Regional Water Action Group (RWAG) brings together local municipalities, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and tribes to work together on water issues and apply for competitive grant funding from the State of California through the Integrated Regional Water Management Program. During the last Prop 84-funded grant round, the group successfully secured funding for two municipal infrastructure projects, a citizen science groundwater monitoring project, and a working forest conservation easement project.

The upcoming presentations on May 25th will feature the Pacific Forest Trust’s McCloud Dogwood Butte Working Forest Conservation Easement and Trout Unlimited’s Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Project. The McCloud Dogwood Butte project aims to protect source waters by conserving timberlands and improving forest management practices on 12,646 acres of private timberland. McCloud Dogwood Butte is the source of dozens of cold-water springs flowing from within the vast volcanic formations of Mount Shasta into the McCloud River and eventually into Shasta Lake Reservoir. The Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Project engages local citizens in hands-on monitoring to understand how groundwater is flowing through volcanic aquifers around Mount Shasta, helping fill in data gaps to inform future protection and groundwater management efforts.

The first presentations in the series, “Pipes to Projects” took place on April 26th in Mt. Shasta and featured municipal water infrastructure projects in Mt. Shasta and Dunsmuir and the groundwater monitoring project. A field trip the following day visited water infrastructure sites in Mt. Shasta and Dunsmuir to learn about the unique spring-fed, gravity driven water systems in these towns and priority project needs for future improvements. Participants also got to observe some groundwater elevation monitoring in action and learn about the importance of the data gathered by this project for future conservation and restoration projects.

The Regional Water Action Group developed an Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP) in 2013. The Plan is a comprehensive, non-regulatory planning document that identifies critical issues and needs, as well as broadly supported objectives pertaining to management of water resources. The Plan also includes projects brought forward by stakeholders to address issues including water supply, water quality, forest management, tribal water resource interests, ecological health, and education and outreach, among others.

“The Upper Sacramento IRWMP is unique in California because it was initiated by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who continue to maintain an active role in the watershed planning and fundraising effort. While successful grants have mostly funded municipal infrastructure projects, collaboration is a proactive opportunity to assert public interests in natural resource management,” states Angelina Cook of McCloud Watershed Council.
“From the perspective of building relationships and understanding of the complex issues facing our source water region, NGO participation has been rewarding and worthwhile.”

The “Forest and Water Stewardship” presentation will be followed by a daytime field trip on May 26th, from 9 am-12 pm to visit project sites and learn more about the connection between healthy forests and healthy watersheds. Participation is free, but pre-registration is required. Please call (530) 926-5655 or email phoenix@mountshastaecology.org for more information and to register for the field trip.