Table of Contents
This Annual Report covers the period from
January 1, 1997 to December 31, 1997
The Annual Report contains descriptions of Resource Conservation
District activities and programs. The Report also includes statements
of revenue and expense and a copy of the District's 1997 Annual Work Plan.
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Greg Lowden, Chairman
Rose Owens, Vice Chairman
Patrick Truman, Director
Doug Nowacki, Director
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Activity Area I: GENERAL ACTIVITIES
Throughout the year the Trinity County Resource Conservation District (RCD) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff have continued to provide cooperators, landowners and county departments with technical assistance from the local NRCS field office, the Area I office in Red Bluff, and the State office in Davis. Landowners and agents requested information on such topics as erosion control, seeding recommendations, soils and irrigation, and fisheries enhancement.
The RCD attended meetings of the Technical Coordinating Committee for the Trinity River Task Force and continued to offer suggestions and ideas for the Trinity River Restoration Program.
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Activity Area II: RESTORATION PROJECTS
Grass Valley Creek Watershed
During the month of January high flows in Grass Valley Creek (GVC) caused the upper sediment pond at the Hamilton Ponds to fill with sediment. Also as a result of these flows one of the spillways failed, allowing sediment to move into the lower pond. The Bureau of Reclamation (BoR) and Department of Water Resources (DWR) was informed of these events and plans were made to rebuild the spillway and dredge the ponds. All necessary permits were obtained in early Spring and the ponds were dredged and spillway repaired in April when flows subsided in GVC.
The RCD was contacted by the Trinity Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D) coordinator to look at the feasibility of hauling decomposed granite (DG) dredged from the Hamilton Ponds to a sight on Trinity Lake to recreate a "sandy beach" that would provide sufficient future storage in the Hamilton Ponds and to provide an environmentally and community acceptable long-term storage location. Funding for the project came from surplus moneys from the operation and maintenance (O&M) account in the Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP) that could not be carried over into the next fiscal year. Nearly 58,000 cubic yards of material were hauled to Clark Springs beach, located at the US Forest Service (USFS) campground/boatramp facility. The project was completed in October.
RCD field staff and NRCS have collected monitoring data from the sediment basins along highway 299 and Lewiston Boulevard in the month of December.
Three large sediment basins in watershed 29 were cleaned out in and the material was hauled to Lee Fong Park in Weaverville to be used as a base material for the volleyball pits
Sediment basins in watersheds 18 and 24 were cleaned out. These basins collect sediment derived from road cuts that produce a substantial amount of sediment that would normally be deposited into a streamcourse.
The RCD hired equipment necessary to clean off the material on the Dam Access Road that came from a landslide off the cutbank. This occurred after heavy rains saturated the soils.
RCD and NRCS field staff visited a property owner on East Weaver Creek whose land was damaged by the high flows in the creek during the storms of early January. It was determined that this project qualified under the NRCS's Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program. The project involved placing rip-rap along a highly erodible stream bank. This would prevent future loss of property and would prevent the house's foundation from being undermined in a large storm event. The project was completed in March.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has given the RCD approximately $45,000 in "Jobs in the Woods" money to implement various road-related projects in the GVC watershed. One of the projects involved the surfacing of nearly one mile of road with road grindings donated by Milt Apple of CalTrans. This road has historically required high maintenance and is key for access into the upper portions of the GVC and Corral Creek watersheds. Surfacing the road will allow faster and safer response by crews in the case of fire in the GVC and Indian Creeks watersheds. The project was completed in November.
South Fork Trinity River Watershed
In January the NRCS and the RCD were contacted by a landowner whose 300-acre ranch, known as "Hidden Valley," is located adjacent to the South Fork of the Trinity River. It was observed by the technical staff that the road network experienced storm damage and was delivering sediment to the river. A backhoe was sent out immediately to fix the problems temporarily. A design package was put together in the Spring by the NRCS engineering staff to reduce the delivery of sediment going into the river by correcting the road drainage on the road network. The work involved installation of rolling dips, upgrading of existing culverts, installation of new culverts and spot surfacing of the road network. The work was completed in June.
Another similar road-related project was located 12 miles downriver on the River Spirit community. On this road network approximately 40 rolling dips were installed to correct road drainage problems. Work was completed on this project in September.
It was decided by the South Fork Coordinated Resource Management Planning Group (CRMP) that we assist with work to be done Simpson Timber's land on the Pelletreau Creek drainage through the CRMP process. Simpson had planned to reopen portions of its road system over the next few years for timber harvest. NRCS designed the culvert sizes in the road network to meet 100-year storm events (by law Simpson was only required to size the pipe to 50-year storm events). This essentially "storm proofed" the road system. The RCD purchased the culverts and facilitated their delivery to the project site. The RCD also upgraded some smaller culverts, installed sediment risers, and installed rolling dips on roads that were to be re-opened and where delivery of sediment to a streamcourse was imminent.
South Fork property owner Mary Lee Steffenson requested assistance from the RCD to fix her road system that had potential to deliver sediment to the creeks. The project was located directly adjacent to the South Fork in the Smoky Creek watershed and involved installing 40 rolling dips and fortifying four road crossings. The project was completed in November.
The RCD contracted with retired USFS road engineer Roger Jaegel in the Fall of 1996 to assist in inventorying the road system in the Post Mountain subdivision for erosion/ road-related drainage problems. This inventory laid the foundation for NRCS and RCD field staff to begin designing road improvement/sediment reduction projects on the road system. Six separate projects were put out to bid and implemented during 1997. These projects were implemented to reduce or eliminate sediment going into streamcourses. They included: installation of sediment risers, road surfacing, installation of rolling dips and culvert upgrades.
Interagency Agreements to Facilitate Restoration Projects
An MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) was drawn up by the RCD and signed by the Board of Directors of the RCD and Post Mountain PUD to allow the RCD to implement FEMA-related road work in the Post Mountain subdivision. In order to be more cost effective we implemented both our sediment reduction projects and road repair while equipment was in close proximity. The final project was completed in November.
NRCS, THE RCD and Pacific Watershed Associates attended a meeting in January in Weaverville with USFS engineering and contracting staff. PWA presented the data collected (by RCD crews) this summer in the Upper South Fork watersheds road inventory. From this meeting, we began a process where the NRCS and RCD would assist the USFS in designing and implementing projects to reduce sediment delivery to the South Fork of the Trinity River. An MOU was drawn up between the RCD and the USFS in October so work could begin to implemented. NRCS engineering staff have designed three projects and are awaiting USFS engineering's approval. We anticipate the projects to begin in June.
Erosion Control/Sediment Reduction
NRCS staff was contacted by three landowners on Salt and Tule Creeks who are in need of assistance for streambank stabilization. The work was accessed by RCD and NRCS technical staff and was implemented in the Fall.
The work on the Kennerson property located on Salt Creek involved the placing of 130 feet of large rock rip-rap to protect an eroding bank which was delivering large amount of sediment to the creek. Cattle-exclusion fencing and riparian plantings projects had been implemented on the stream terrace that is now protected by the rip-rap revetment. The project also involved removing nearly 800 cubic yards of sediment which had aggraded at various locations in the creek causing high stream flows to erode the streambank On Salt Creek the landowner installed nearly 130 feet of rip-rap found on their property along an eroding streambank. The RCD also paid the landowner to utilize his own equipment to complete the project.
The final project located on the L & M Ranch on Tule Creek involved moving an aggraded plug of sediment that was forcing the stream flow into a stream terrace, causing significant erosion and sediment delivery to the creek. Several large logs found on the property were situated to keep the high streamflows directed toward the center of the channel. If not protected, cattle exclusion fencing and riparian plantings located on the terrace would have been lost.
RCD employee Charley Gacek supervised Trinity Occupational Training personnel the week of April 21-24. The crew repaired sections of the South Fork Trail system damaged in the January storms that were contributing sediment to the river.
Landowners on Big Creek and Carr Creek requested NRCS to look into the feasibility of installation of cattle-exclusion fencing on their property. It was decided that fencing would benefit the health of all the creeks involved and nearly 13,000 feet of fencing was installed in the Summer and Fall.
The heavy rains caused extensive damage to the two stream restoration projects completed on Indian Creek in the fall of 1996. The sites will be evaluated during winter of 1997/98 to determine whether the projects will be repaired or not. The riparian enhancement project that was to implemented at these sites has been put on hold indefinitely.
Rush Creek Watershed
After a site visit by the NRCS fish biologist, a cattle-exclusion fence was installed along the riparian corridor on Rush Creek near its confluence with the Trinity River. The fence (approximately 1,400-feet long) will keep 35 head of cattle from entering the near pristine creek on the Hardt Ranch.
Another project located on the ranch involved building a berm and catchment basin to divert water back into its natural channel. The high flows in Snow Gulch caused the stream to divert down an old water ditch and onto a DG terrace where extensive gullying occurred, delivering a substantial amount of sediment to Rush Creek.
Weaver Creek Watershed
The RCD was approached by many landowners on East Weaver Creek to remove trees that had fallen into the creeks due to the high flows which occurred in early January 1997. If not removed, these trees would have caused major log jams on the creek which would have diverted the creek into stable streambanks. A NRCS fish biologist reviewed these sites and upon his recommendation the trees were removed.
The RCD furnished the wood chipper and two laborers to complete a fuels reduction project on East Branch of East Weaver Creek. The project was planned by RPF Mark Lancaster and was funded by a grant from CDF. The project was completed in February.
Mule Gulch Watershed
Erosion control work involving upgrading an undersized culvert, installation of rolling dips and streambank stabilization was performed on a landowner's property on Mule Gulch, a tributary to Indian Creek.
Another EWP project was located at Trinity Alps Resort located on Stuart's Fork approximately three miles upstream from Trinity Lake. The project involved placing 350 feet of gabion baskets along a severely eroding stream terrace. Many cabins had to be relocated away from the streambank to prevent them from falling into the stream.
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Activity Area III: Revegetation Projects
Grass Valley Creek Watershed
It was another productive year of reforestation work in the GVC watershed. In the spring 106,012 native seedlings were planted between February 28th and April 14th, consisting of 76,670 conifers, 22,982 grass plugs, 2,330 hardwoods, and 3,560 shrubs. The majority of conifers planted consisted of ponderosa pine, with some sugar pine and Douglas-fir also planted. Shrub seedlings included deerbrush, Lemmon's ceanothus, buckbrush, and greenleaf manzanita. Two species of grass were planted, consisting mostly of California fescue, with some blue wildrye.
During the spring planting season, approximately 60 acres of mostly bare sheet and rill slopes were planted in areas below and above the Buckhorn dam in subwatersheds 21, 24, 26, 27, 29, and 30.
The fall planting season began in December and lasted for three weeks, with nearly 56,000 seedlings planted in 35 acres in subwatersheds 21, 24, and 41 (Corral Creek). Of these seedlings, 48,000 conifers, 6,000 shrubs, and 2,100 grasses were planted.
Due to increased precipitation brought on by the El Niņo weather condition, the 1997/1998 planting season is expected to be extended, with more weeks available for planting. In anticipating more planting time, the Revegetation Manager ordered 57,500 additional seedlings. Most of these plants consisted of ponderosa pine, with some bigleaf maples (for riparian projects), sugar pine, and Douglas-fir.
South Fork Trinity River Watershed
Hayfork Basin Riparian Improvement Project
This project was a continuation of the RCD's tree planting and willow staking program that was begun in 1995 in an effort to improve riparian conditions on Salmonid creeks in the Hayfork basin.
Due to high seedling mortality in 1996, planting in the spring of 1997 was limited to replanting of the following landowners' properties along Carr Creek: Binns, Browne, Frei, Owens, Treece, and Vance. Two days were spent in March planting 1,000 ponderosa pine seedlings along 18,000 square feet of streambank on Carr Creek.
In an attempt to increase seedling survivability, additional treatments were applied on May 29th and 30th on a sample basis. A gravity-fed drip irrigation system was installed on the Owens property to irrigate 500 trees. At the other Carr Creek properties, a combination of 70 DriWaters and 270 Vexar tree protectors were installed to see if these would increase survivability. These plantings were monitored in November, with mixed results. Results were published in the Revegetation Monitoring Report (see Publications in Section IV, below.)
In the fall the following eight landowners' properties were planted along Barker Creek: Austin, Bentes, Marriot, Lionberger, Stokley, Ward, Franklin, and Patton. Approximately 1,900 seedlings were planted, consisting mostly of ponderosa pine. Other species planted were deerbrush shrubs and blue wildrye grass plugs.
With the planting completed in 1997, most of the scheduled planting for the project has been completed. Only a few additional properties need to be planted in the spring of 1998.
L & M Ranch
In conjunction with the riparian fencing that the RCD installed during the summer, 1,500 ponderosa pine were planted on the west side of Tule Creek on the Patton's property. (An additional 1,500 trees will be planted on the east side of the creek in the spring of 1998.)
Kennerson Streambank Stabilization Project
Revegetation was also a component of the rock riprap that was installed to stabilize an eroding bank along Salt Creek. A total of 150 ponderosa pine trees were planted above the streambank on both the Kennerson property and the adjoining Forest Service land along the creek.
Because much of the construction work on Indian Creek implemented in the Fall of 1996 was altered or washed away during the following winter, the original revegetation plan for the project was modified. The first stage of revegetation for this project was implemented in the spring of 1997, with emphasis placed on planting areas of the project that were not susceptible to winter flooding. Two days were spent planting at six sites in the project area, with a total of 815 trees planted. Hardwoods such as California bigleaf maple and white alder were planted at select points along the creek to reinforce the rock riprap that had been installed earlier. Ponderosa pine and madrone were planted in the open, rocky areas, while Douglas-fir was planted on the eroding banks on the south side of the project area.
Because the Indian Creek project has such harsh conditions for planting, additional treatments (irrigation and DriWater) were tested on a trial basis to see if such treatments would increase survivability of planted seedlings. A drip irrigation system, with a gravity-flow water tank, was installed in June on three sites in the upper project area (Herron's property), with DriWater (slow-release water) installed on the other three sites.
Fall monitoring of these plantings indicated a high survival (up to 89%), so planting was expanded for the fall. Refer to Monitoring Report for monitoring results. In December an additional four sites were planted at both the lower and upper project sites, with 3,000 trees, shrubs, and grasses planted that included ponderosa pine, deerbrush, Lemmon's ceanothus, and blue wildrye. These plantings will be monitored in the spring of 1998 to determine survivability and growth.
1998/1999 Plant Order
The Revegetation Manager has ordered 150,220 plants for the fall 1998 and spring 1999 planting seasons through a contract with John McRae of the Six Rivers National Forest. The propagation cost for these plants will be paid through a grant obtained by the Forest Service. The bulk of this plant order consists of conifers such as ponderosa pine, sugar pine, and Douglas-fir. In smaller quantities are an assortment of shrubs such as deerbrush and whiteleaf manzanita, and grasses such as California fescue and Stillman's needlegrass. Other plants being propagated are hardwoods such as Oregon oak and white alder. The plants are being propagated by the Tsemeta Nursery located on the Hoopa reservation in Willow Creek.
The Revegetation staff assisted with a Douglas-fir cone collection in September that was funded by the Bureau of Land Management. The purpose of the collection was to obtain sufficient quantities of Douglas-fir seed to supply the next 10 years of reforestation work in the Grass Valley Creek watershed. The Revegetation staff identified potential cone collection sites and guided the collection crew to these sites. The Revegetation staff was also responsible for labeling and drying the collection bags before they were shipped for processing.
In order to have oaks propagated for the 1998 planting season, the Revegetation staff collected nearly 5,000 acorns of black, canyon live, and Oregon oaks from the GVC watershed and Hayfork areas. The acorns were hand-picked, sorted and packed for three months of cold storage before being sent to a nursery for propagation.
Native Grass Nursery
The Revegetation staff continue to propagate their own grass plugs at a small-scale nursery located on Indian Creek. In the spring approximately 2,000 blue wildrye grasses were sown. These grasses were some of the plants used in the fall for the RCD's revegetation work. In the fall an additional 2,000 plugs of Idaho fescue were sown for planting in the spring of 1998. In addition to these grasses, the RCD is experimenting with propagating native perennials, consisting of Lotus crassifolius and four species of lupine.
Monitoring Revegetation Projects
The revegetation program has an extensive monitoring program to quantitatively evaluate the revegetation treatments that are implemented for various projects. This monitoring is used to determine the overall success of the RCD's revegetation projects and to determine which techniques and species should be continued.
Grass Valley Creek Watershed
Acorn Test Plantings. Acorns that were directly planted onto sheet and rill sites in the fall were monitored for germination and growth in the fall of 1997. A total of 11 sites with 825 acorns were monitored, with any surviving seedlings counted and measured. Due to the poor results of these plantings, this type of planting will not be continued in the watershed.
Seedling Survivability Study. This field study, established in 1996, was monitored in the fall of 1997 to determine the survivability and growth and ponderosa pine seedlings. A total of eleven treatments, designed to increase survivability on harsh sites, were tested in this study. Analysis of the data revealed no trends, which was probably a factor of deer browsing on the trees. Tree protectors were installed, and the seedlings will be monitored in the fall again to see if any patterns in growth and survivability can be seen among the treatments.
Pozocap/SMF Study. This study, established in 1995 was monitored through a series of permanent vegetation transects, where species composition and cover was monitored. Because of poor establishment of native species, the techniques used in this study will not be used on a larger-scale, and monitoring will be discontinued.
Critical Area Treatments. The annual, long-term monitoring of these sites is used to evaluate the progress of restoration sites that were treated in the watershed from 1993 through 1995. The purpose of this monitoring is to obtain information on the ecological development of these treatments, such as the species composition of natives and exotics, quantity of cover, etc.
Every year the Revegetation staff monitor a sample of the areas that were planted the year before to determine the success of that year's plantings. This monitoring consists of returning to a representative sample of planted sites and counting the number of surviving seedlings for each species planted. This data is then compared with the original number of seedlings planted to determine the percent survivability of each species planted.
Such monitoring has been important for documenting the success (or failure) of various types of plantings. Based on monitoring results, the revegetation program has been altering the types and quantities of species it plants so as to use those species with the highest survival.
Indian Creek and Hayfork Riparian Projects
Seedlings planted in March of 1997 were monitored in September to determine growth and survivability. This monitoring consisted of counting all surviving seedlings, and measuring the growth on a sample of planted seedlings. Because different treatments were tested with these plantings (irrigation, DriWater, and tree protectors), the survivability and growth of seedlings was compared among the treatments to see any particular benefits of these treatments.
The Revegetation staff continue to help landowners in Trinity County during 1997 with concerns about erosion control, use of native plants, and streambank improvement. This assistance comes in the form of technical guidance, plant recommendations, reference materials. In 1997 the Revegetation staff assisted several landowners, including Anna Lionberger with selecting native plants for restoring her Hayfork property. The Revegetation staff also provided Dick Wallace with information about using hardwood stakes to revegetate his property along east Weaver Creek. Assistance was also given to several Weaverville residents who called about using native grasses to revegetate their properties.
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