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Tackling TMDL's

Pioneer Press October 11, 2006

Details at Watershed Council

FORT JONES- The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board staff will be on hand to discuss how water quality measures will be implemented in our community at the Scott River Watershed Council meeting on Tuesday, October 17. The meeting will be held at the Fort Jones Community Center at 7 p.m. and is open to all concerned community members.

The Regional Water Board is coming to Scott Valley to discuss the recently released "TMDL" draft work plan for the Scott River Watershed. The TMDL, which stands for Total Maximum Daily Load, addresses water quality factors impairing the Scott River. The amount of sediment in the river, and the high water temperature are the issues which are being addressed by the work plan.

The TMDL work plan proposes to have the Council (as well as the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District) enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Regional Water Board on several issues. To help reduce stream temperature, they want a strategy and schedule for riparian vegetation protection and restoration. Related recommendations want the Council to address bank stabilization projects and livestock grazing that could harm riparian vegetation.

Sediment and water temperature continue to be a focus of the Scott River Watershed Council and its partners. Currently, there are several studies underway, which monitor temperature and sediment. Research by the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District includes collecting and calculating sediment samples. Using a method known as McNeil sampling, the RCD staff takes a sample of rocks, fine sand and sediment and calculates the relative amount of sediment in spawning areas. This effort first began in 1989. Through the use of another method called V-Star, the RCD with the US Forest Service have calculated the amount of sediment in pools. V-Star is done by measuring the volume of sediment as related to water in residual pools. Temperature gauges have been installed and monitored in the watershed to track the temperature in the Scott River and tributaries. This collaborative monitoring effort has been ongoing since 1985.

Since March, 2006, the Watershed Council has collected monthly static well level (water table) data with confidentiality paramount in the research plan. The TMDL draft work plan can be found at www.waterboards.ca.gov. The work plan identifies several areas in which the Watershed Council is being asked to formalize their strategy and enter into agreements with the Water Board. Among the issues are the water quality impacts associated with grazing, restoration of vegetation, which provide shade to the waterbodies, water use, and flood control and bank stabilization.

The watershed community has worked diligently to protect our resources and lifestyles. It is time, once again, that we come together to insure that the Water Board's proposed work plan is a plan that works for the Scott River Watershed For more information please call Monique Dixon, Scott River Watershed Council Coordinator at (530) 467-4007.


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