“The best ideas are common property.”
Roman dramatist, philosopher, & politician (5 BC - 65 AD)
CALFED Watershed Program - California Department of Conservation - Watershed Coordinator Grants Program
In 2000, the California Legislature approved a two-year $2 million pilot grant program to fund watershed coordinators for Resource Conservation Districts, to be administered by the DOC. Due to the great success of the pilot program, the CALFED Bay Delta Program (CALFED) partnered with DOC to extend the program an additional 18 months. The goal of the current Watershed Coordinator Grant Program is to continue to improve watersheds within the CALFED Solution Area by providing support for coordinating watershed improvement efforts. The CALFED Solution Area includes watersheds that contribute water to or receive water from the Bay-Delta system. Since the importance of the program has become evident, DOC has again teamed up with CALFED to expand the grant program with funding from Proposition 50. The expanded grant program will fund watershed coordinator positions for a three-year period. In addition, the expanded program will be open to non-profit organizations, local governments and special districts. Proposed coordinator positions must demonstrate a direct benefit to the watershed and support the goals and objectives of the CALFED Watershed Program and at least one other CALFED program.
The Yuba County Resource Conservation District has teamed up with the Sutter County Resource Conservation District, California Department of Conservation, CALFED and the USDA-Natural resources Conservation Service to establish the Watershed Coordinator position through June of 2007.
The main scope of this grant is to improve water quality entering
the Feather River from Sutter and
- Objective #1 Expand local commitment and support for the Sutter-Yuba Watershed Coordinator
- Objective #2 Strengthen public awareness and responsibility for watershed health
- Objective #3 Reduce occurrence of illegal disposal of debris hat may effect water quality
- Objective #4 Adopt water management techniques to protect and improve water supplies
- Objective #5 Expand Watershed coordination Activities from the valley to the upper watershed in order to create a contiguous level of watershed restoration, conservation and enhancement
NRCS/CARCD Outreach Program - Multi-Language Education and Outreach Project
In response to the Request for Proposals solicited by the CARCD and the USDA-NRCS, the Yuba County Resource Conservation District (YCRCD) has developed an education and outreach program that will reach Hindu, Sikh, Hmong, Vietnamese, African American, Latino, and American Indian communities within Yuba County. These communities have yet to fully take advantage of the services provided by the CARCD, YCRCD, USDA-NRCS and other agricultural based agencies such as USDA Rural Development, USDA Farm Service Agency, Yuba-Sutter County Farm Bureau, and the Yuba County Agricultural Commissioner. The lack of participation arises from issues as simple as inadequate information distribution, and more complex issues such as misconceptions about agency policy and practices and/or language barriers. This project will address these issues through communication, education and understanding.
In the spirit of collaboration, the YCRCD intends to break down interagency barriers and build new alliances by uniting the agricultural agencies within Yuba County that best serve growers’ interests and by offering Yuba County’s underserved communities a complete guide to agricultural assistance. By creating a communication network between leaders from these communities, translators and agricultural based agencies, and by utilizing translated educational materials, the YCRCD will increase underserved communities’ participation in CARCD, YCRCD, USDA-NRCS, USDA-Rural Development, USDA-Farm Service Agency, Yuba-Sutter County Farm Bureau, and Yuba County Agricultural Commissioner programs and offer a better understanding of how these agencies serve growers in Yuba County.
Regional Water Quality Control Board – Agricultural Water Quality Grant Program - “Implementation of Feather River TMDL for Orchards”
In order to meet the established Feather River TMDL for diazinon, a collaboration of local entities - the coalition - (Yuba County RCD, Sutter County RCD, Butte County RCD, Yuba County Agricultural Commissioner, Butte County Agricultural Commissioner, Sutter County Agricultural Commissioner, UC Cooperative Extension, UC Davis, CURES and the Butte/Yuba/Sutter Water Quality Coalition) has received a $1.1 million grant from the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Agricultural Water Quality Grant Program to evaluate the effectiveness of vegetated filter strips an orchard floor vegetation to filter midwinter dormant spray runoff in orchards sprayed with organophosphate pesticides. Dormant spray runoff is characterized by sediment and associated constituents including pesticides applied to the orchards. The coalition has located orchards that can be divided into blocks and monitored for runoff and pesticide loads. The project will combine the site-specific evaluations of cover crop efficacy, measured by load reduction of all constituents, with extrapolations of potential load reductions over the entire watershed. These extrapolations will be based on similar soils and slope, and adjusted for potential differences in rainfall that can occur in the region. Results from coalition monitoring will be used to determine the potential reduction in the loads from Coalition lands during the dormant season.
December 16th, 2005: The Yuba County Resource Conservation District (YCRCD) is pleased to announce the approval of the Yuba County Voluntary Individual Oak and Oak Woodland Management Plan and Landowner Guidelines (Voluntary Plan) by the Yuba County Board of Supervisors December 13th, 2005.
The Voluntary Plan has
been developed to meet the resource concerns of
INDIVIDUAL OAK AND OAK
The Yuba County Voluntary Individual Oak and Oak Woodland Management Plan is designed for willing landowners who voluntarily choose to apply the management techniques presented in this document, in part or in full, to promote the general health of individual oaks and oak woodlands found upon their land.
The general objectives of this incentive-based plan
are to recognize the importance of protecting and enhancing the individual
oaks and oak woodlands of
• Promote the retention of specimen age and heritage-size oaks of all species.
• Promote the retention of oaks of all size and species represented on a site.
• Promote the reforesting of oak species through natural or artificial regeneration.
• Promote the removal of trees which are a fire or safety hazard.
• Promote the retention of, where possible, hollow or dead trees used for nesting, etc.
• Plan for replacement trees of all ages, species, sizes and growth form.
In addition to providing practical management tools for landowners to voluntarily preserve their private individual oaks and oak stands, the adoption of this plan by the Yuba County Board of Supervisors is the precursor to receiving financial support from the CA Wildlife Conservation Board to further develop and promote voluntary oak management education, regeneration, and landowner assistance programs.
of Oak Woodlands in
twenty oaks native to
Black Oak “Quercus kelloggii” — Growing up to 70 feet in height among the ponderosa pine, sugar pine, white
fir and incense cedar in the conifer belt of
Blue Oak “Quercus douglasii” — The blue
oak is the most common oak of the foothills of the central
Canyon Live Oak “Quercus chrysolepis” — Canyon live oaks vary is size and shape from small trees clinging to dry canyon walls to majestic 70 foot tall broad trees in locations with deeper soils and more water. The 1 ½ to 2 ½ inch long evergreen leaves can have smooth or spiny edges, and are dark green on top and pale blue or gray below. The underside of the leaf is
usually covered with small golden hairs. The acorns are 1 to
2 inches long. The thick knobby cup is also covered with thin golden hairs,
hence the common name of gold cup oak. The wood of the canyon live oak is
the densest of all
Interior Live Oak “Quercus wislizeni” — Mature interior live oaks in favorable locations are often as broad or broader than their 30 to 60 foot height. The dense covering of leaves obscures the dark branches of the tree. In less favorable locations this adaptable species is often a large shrub. The one to three inch long leaves are shiny deep green above. The underside of the leaf varies from dark green to yellow green. Leaves vary greatly in form and the margins can be smooth, toothed or spiny. The 3/4 to 1 ½ inch long acorns are usually no wider than their cup.
Valley Oak “Quercus lobata” -While prime habitat
for valley oak is below 2000 feet along the great rivers of the
Estimates of the current
and historical distribution of oak woodlands - Best estimates indicate that oak
Existing threats - Fire and land conversion are the primary
threats to the oak woodlands of
Status of natural
regeneration and growth trends. Natural regeneration of native oaks is occurring in
• Reduce overcrowding by thinning less desirable trees and seedlings.
• Trees of all sizes and species should be retained and represented.
• Plan on replacement trees, with emphasis on desired species, by natural or artificial regeneration.
• Leave clumps of natural undisturbed vegetation, and create permanent grass savanna openings.
• Control unwanted sprouts with manual, biological, mechanical, chemical or burning means.
• Leave enough sprouts and seedlings to become replacement trees.
The following are recommended to enhance watershed management and protect soils from erosion:
• Avoid machinery use on slopes greater than 30%, whenever possible.
• Divert water on all skid trails and temporary roads as needed to prevent gully erosion.
• Seed waterbars and bare areas as needed or place litter on disturbed areas.
• Retain, when needed, untreated buffer strips of vegetation along all riparian areas.
• Minimize soil surface disturbance. Leave litter and debris in place if possible.
• Install properly sized culverts, where needed, in swales on permanent or semipermanent roads.
• Rock major dry-draw crossings on roads, where needed.
• Clean undesirable man-caused debris from riparian areas.
• Minimize the use of heavy equipment on saturated soils.
• Provide soil protection, and maintain forage production on rangeland by following “Residual Dry Matter (RDM)” standards for annual grasslands.
The following are recommended to enhance wildlife development and protection:
• Maintain diversity of plant and animal species.
• Develop scattered openings and undisturbed patches of plants.
• Retain thermal cover in the riparian system.
• Provide escape cover from predators.
• Retain scattered dead and cavity trees for nesting, cover and feeding purposes.
• Retain scattered large downed rotten logs, where appropriate.
• Provide scattered small brush piles for nesting and escape, for a maximum of three years, then burn.
• Develop water sources where appropriate.
The following are recommended to reduce fuel loads:
• Improper burning may be dangerous and hazardous to our resources and your personal safety. Be sure to adhere to all burning precautions and contact CDF for assistance and necessary burning permits.
• Utilize unwanted vegetation if at all possible by chipping for mulch or co-generation, fuelwood, etc.
• Utilized material should be piled and burned
• Burn dry material with good ventilation to reduce the smoke production
• Burn on “burn days” only in compliance with Feather River Air Quality District guidelines.
• Participate in the CDF prescribed burning
programs when applicable and obtain necessary burning permits for all burning
The following are recommended to protect individual oaks and oak woodland and avoid the negative effects of oak woodland fragmentation while building within the oak woodland zone:
• Cluster improvements to preserve wildlife corridors.
• Protect existing oaks during construction, replace trees with seedlings if removal is unavoidable.
• Avoid root compaction by limiting the use of heavy equipment in the root zone (1.5 times the crown width).
• Minimize cutting roots during road construction, building foundations, or septic systems.
• Avoid grade changes in the drip line zone of the trees.
• Avoid landscaping which requires or allows irrigation within the drip line of the crown of the tree.
• Reseed with grass, fertilize, and/or mulch on disturbed ground just prior to the fall rains or the first rains following disturbance.
• Treat selected diseased or infected trees or portions thereof, where appropriate.
The following recommendations are made to protect oak woodlands from fire:
• Reduce stocking to 15-30% crown closure near structures and fuel breaks.
• Prune branched and limbs of single stemmed oaks, conifers or other trees to 10’ above the ground line.
• Prune lower limbs and remove dead limbs on desired brush species to reduce the “fire-ladder” effect.
• On multi-stemmed oaks, reduce the number of stems to 2-4 per clump, and prune to 10’ above the ground line.
• Emphasize single stemmed oak species.
• Remove brush and debris from underneath the drip line of desired trees.
• On a fuel break, remove, push aside, pile, and/or burn any unwanted plants.
• Control unwanted sprouts by burning or by manual, biological, mechanical, or chemical means.
• The residual dry matter should not exceed 1,600 pounds per acre. (This does not apply to grazing lands.)
Yuba County Resource Conservation District will collaborate with the Yuba
Watershed Protection and Fire Safe Council, CDF and the USFS to promote
these recommendations and protect the communities surrounding
These guidelines will be made available to all landowners in the oak woodlands through the Yuba County Resource Conservation District (RCD), the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the UC Cooperative Extension office.
The Directors of the Yuba RCD shall coordinate and promote with local, State and Federal governmental agencies, local private parties and/or organizations, and the UC Cooperative Extension to offer workshops and field trips in oak woodland management and stewardship for landowners, real estate brokers, developers, community organizations and the general public.
All landowners with oak woodlands shall be encouraged to develop forest/rangeland management plans for their lands.
Landowners are encouraged to utilize public and private expert assistance in the technical aspects of resource management and where applicable, participate in government assistance programs to develop such plans and management activities.
VII. Yuba County supports landowners that participate in the Oak Woodlands Conservation Program
Such support will consist of, at a minimum:
• Reviewing individual proposals that are being
submitted to the Oak Woodland Conservation Program from
• Certifying that individual proposals are consistent with the Yuba County Oak Woodland Management Plan and Landowner Guidelines.
• In cases where they are not consistent, detailing the inconsistencies and making recommendations that will bring the proposal into line with the guidelines if possible.
IX. These recommendations are considered to be consistent with other guidelines and regulations now in use by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection; U.S.D.A. Forest Service; Consolidated Farm Service Agency; Natural Resource Conservation Service; U.C. Cooperative Extension; California Department of Fish and Game; and Yuba County. If any conflict exists, agency regulations and policies prevail.
Program Development (Pending Programs)
Program Development consists of projects the Yuba County RCD is currently pursuing. The following projects are either in the developmental stage or have been submitted for funding and are awaiting review/approval.
CALFED Watershed Program
– Department of Water Resources -
The Yuba County Resource Conservation District (YCRCD), Sutter County Resource Conservation District (SCRCD), Butte County Resource Conservation District (BCRCD) and the City of Yuba City (City) propose to establish a new and unique partnership that merges urban and rural communities to identify and address natural resource concerns through an assessment of the Lower Feather River Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC #18020106) and the Honcut Creek watersheds. The assessment is part of an overall program that will include landowner based outreach, education and in-stream monitoring, and promote an integrated program between urban and rural communities.
Feather River is the largest natural tributary to the Sacramento River,
The partnership is committed to establishing a locally-directed watershed management program and completing a comprehensive watershed assessment for the Lower Feather River HUC/Honcut Creek Watershed that will lead to a comprehensive watershed management strategy. An assessment will establish the basis from which stakeholders can understand watershed components and set the stage for prioritizing specific projects for potential funding.
Desired Project Outcomes
1. Complete a comprehensive watershed assessment for the Lower Feather River HUC/Honcut Creek Watershed that will guide the management program. The assessment would be conducted in accordance with the California Watershed Assessment Manual (CWAM).
the capacity of existing SCRCD and YCRCD outreach programs by incorporating
the principles of the expanded BCRCD public outreach and education program
to include Yuba and
4. Begin development of a watershed plan that identifies issues affecting water supply, water quality, anadromous fisheries, and ecosystem; and addresses the data and knowledge gaps that are identified through the completion of the assessment.
5. Provide the framework to establish an active and locally-directed watershed-wide management program to address water supply and water quality within the Lower Feather River HUC/Honcut Creek Watershed.
The Lower Feather River HUC/Honcut Creek Watershed Assessment will be the basis for ecosystem planning and management to address water supply and quality concerns, and a necessary mechanism to initiate coordinated efforts to rehabilitate key segments of the watershed. The assessment process will provide the information necessary for strategic planning processes as well as serve as an educational and outreach tool for continuing the consensus-building process with landowners, agencies and stakeholders within the watershed area. The assessment will also partially fulfill the CALFED Watershed Program Goal to complete assessments for the entire Bay-Delta watershed by completion of a key missing element.