Sonora, CA — With $12 million in funding, a multi-agency partnership taking a systemic approach to watershed health is literally, applying a “trickle down” approach.
Yesterday, federal, state and local officials had the opportunity to tour one of several local watershed health projects made possible through funding grants administered through the Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Regional Water Management Authority, which help seek monies and develop projects that address water-related issues within the watershed.
Executive Director Lindsay Mattos recounts the group’s foray off Herring Creek Road to visit Coyote and Middle Three meadows, where they viewed completed and in-progress restoration work.
As she explains upfront, “Our role is to provide a space for local agencies, nonprofits and other interested parties to collaborate on watershed health, that includes domestic water, water in the forest — that sort of thing — and we try to plan out projects that benefit each other that all benefit the watershed.”
Effects Filter Downstream
Continuing, she emphasizes, “Meadow restoration benefits wildlife…provides a slow release of water downstream and acts as a filter to slow sediment.” Meadows also slow water feeding downstream creeks and rivers, reduce flooding and store carbon, which can help mitigate climate change effects.
One in a suite of the $12 million in outlined projects, the meadow restoration and culvert replacement on the Stanislaus National Forest in the Summit Ranger District provided tour goers an up close and in-person look.
Work at Coyote Meadow, which completed last year, included restoration and relocation of a poorly located path in the middle that was degrading the area and interrupting water flow. Among plans over the next two years at Middle Three Meadow, the second stop, are to restore a natural stream so that it functions as it should.
All the projects are being jointly funded by the USDA Forest Service and the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006 through the state’s Department of Water Resources and county’s Resource Conservation District.
The takeaway for Mattos is that her collaborative group helped bring a significant chunk of funding that will benefit residents who live in the Stanislaus and Tuolumne River Watershed. As she puts it, “We started putting together the application four years ago, got funding two years ago…for us, as a group, it is really exciting to see some be completed…to get to see them.”
To view a sampling of tour photos, click into the image box slideshow.