Presentation on theme: "Project Collaboration In 1999, as a result of several years of monitoring of neotropical migratory birds such as the willow flycatcher, Jim Steele from."— Presentation transcript:
Project Collaboration In 1999, as a result of several years of monitoring of neotropical migratory birds such as the willow flycatcher, Jim Steele from the San Francisco State University Field Campus became concerned of the decline of the birds. Jim’s concern about the condition of the meadow habitat became the catalyst of the first effort to restore Knuthson Meadow. Recognition of the problems and effects in Knuthson meadow by multiple entities led to the formation of a partnership involving agencies, groups and individuals interested in restoring the full hydrologic and ecologic function of the meadow systems and the whole watershed. The partnership applied for and was awarded a series of grants that accomplished watershed improvement work through the whole watershed. The partnership collaboration led to an innovative solution for the problem. Taking the lead from work the Plumas Corporation and the Plumas National Forest was doing, it was decided to use a plug and pond technique. This was being used with success for similar problems on the Plumas National Forest. The design was to completely close off the gully and re- locate the stream into remnant channels on the meadow surface. To do this a series of plugs and ponds were constructed. The sides and bottom of the gully was excavated to generate material to construct plugs, the excavation created ponds as the water table began to rise in the meadow. Overview of Problem The Carman Creek Watershed (Figure 1) was identified in the Tahoe Forest Land and Resource Management Plan as a severely degraded watershed, the worst on the forest. The meadow systems were degraded and were getting worse annually. The uplands had been impacted severely as well. In the 1920s a logging railroad system was constructed throughout the watershed including in the channels and across the floodplains of the meadows. The overall result was upland erosion and gullies eroding through all of the valley bottom meadows. Partners: U.S Forest Service Sierra Valley Resource Conservation District Feather River Resource Conservation District Plumas Corporation San Francisco State University – Field Campus Natural Heritage Institute U.S. Environmental Protection Agency California State Water Quality Control Board National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Packard Foundation Quincy Library Group Ducks Unlimited Carman Creek Watershed Restoration Tahoe National Forest – Sierraville Ranger District Figure 1: Carman Creek Watershed Vicinity Map Funding: U.S. EPA - California State Water Quality Control Board - Additional funds added to contract - National Fish and Wildlife Foundation combined with David and Lucile Packard Foundation Grant - U.S. Forest Service - Total: $200,000 Planning, Monitoring, Implementation grant $400,000 Implementation grant $150,000 Implementation grant $100,000 NEPA and project support $1,000,000 Page 1 of 2 Restoration Highlights Project design and layout of approximately 325 acres of meadow restoration Restoration / re-watering of Knuthson Meadow and Three Corner Meadow for a total of 300 acres Stabilize two large headcuts eroding into meadow areas 6 miles of watershed improvements on existing roads 2 miles of road relocated out of an intermittent drainage and rehabilitated Re-vegetation of 5 acres Pre and Post Monitoring of meadow re-watering project Hand thinning of 150 acres for watershed protection
Carman Creek Watershed Restoration Tahoe National Forest – Sierraville Ranger District Knuthson Meadow An Example of a Meadow Re-watering Project In Knuthson Meadow the RR grade across the floodplain and adjacent ditch (created as a borrow site to build the grade) intercepted flood flow across the meadow and concentrated it in what was an unvegetated ditch (Figure 2). The ditch captured the entire flow of Carman Creek and began to head cut, down cut and widened through the whole length of the meadow (approximately 2 miles long) and up further into the upper watershed. All tributaries also began to erode in response to the new base elevation of the main channel. The formation of the gully system through Knuthson Meadow had the following effects: Loss of flood flow access the to floodplain, Loss of ability to attenuate flood flows by water spreading on the meadow, Water energy trapped in the gully accelerating erosion, Loss of soil and nutrients, Increased sediment movement to downstream reaches, The gully created a drain of the seasonal meadow water table, Loss of water storage – most water flows out of the watershed immediately, Plugging off the gully and returning the stream to the meadow surface had the following effects: Re-establish access to the flood plain Re-establish the ability to attenuate flood flows by water spreading on the meadow, Water energy stays spread out on the meadow surface and stays low energy preventing additional erosion, Loss of soil and nutrients is stopped and meadow begins to capture more, Sediment movement to downstream reaches stops - all erosion from the gully system has stopped, The drain of the seasonal meadow water table was plugged and the meadow is staying wetter, Spring runoff now spreads out and waters the meadow. More water is stored and releases slowly later in the season, The meadow is wet again – sagebrush is being pushed back and wet riparian vegetation is recovering rapidly, Willow flycatcher habitat is recovering, Ponds have established habitat for water fowl. Page 2 of 2 Figure 3: 2002 aerial photograph of Knuthson Meadow post-restoration showing the ponds created by plugging the gully. Flow has been restored across historic remnant channels on the meadow surface. Figure 2: 1998 aerial photograph of Knuthson Meadow pre-restoration showing the gully containing Carman Creek. The RR grade ditch is diverting Carman Creek across the meadow. Knuthson Meadow RR grade ditch diverting Carman Ck. Plugs & Ponds Flow Restored to Remnant Channels
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