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Potential Future Projects

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Pit RCD Watershed Management Strategy - December, 2006
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Potential Future Projects

The following are potential projects that have been discussed between the Pit RCD and private landowners.

Bacigalupi Ranch

A water control structure and conveyance system installed in the mid 1980’s on the Bacigalupi Ranch is eroding and no longer operational.

Healthy riparian vegetation along the inward side of the river system at the Bacigalupi Ranch.

Stream banks are eroding and the downcutting (approximately 10 feet) is moderate to severe in this section of the Pit River at the Mason Ranch.

Low point in floodplain where the river exits the channel into the floodplain on the Gould property.

Young invasive juniper established in the Upper Ash Creek Watershed.

Butte Creek area, dark green patches are Jeffery pine, olive green is Western Juniper. All the juniper in this photo is less than 80 years old.

McBride Spring riparian area.

Western Juniper Treatment in the Rose Creek Area.

Some of the juniper targeted for treatment on the South Knob Ranch.
Jerry and Donna Bacigalupi own roughly 400 acres along the Pit River in Lassen and Modoc County. The portion of the river that meanders through their ranch is incised, as it has down cut between 10 and 15 feet. The incised channel has damaged their water conveyance system and is threatening their residence. Currently, a narrow walkway remains between the river and their backyard fence. Jerry estimates that the river erodes between one and two feet of soil each year on the outward bends of the river. A water control structure and conveyance system installed in the mid 1980’s is eroding and no longer operational (see image at right). The Bachigalupi’s farm is roughly 200 acres primarily used for hay production, as they do not graze livestock on their property. A dense riparian corridor has developed along the inward banks of the river (see figure at left).

Fulcher Dam and Gate Project

The Fulcher Dam and Gate Project is located in northern Lassen County (T39N R7E, Sec. 34). Lateral erosion along the Pit River is degrading a low levee system, Fulcher Dam, and Fulcher Gate that is located on the Kramer Ranch. The dam impounds water that is used to irrigate approximately 1,000 acres when Fulcher Gage is opened. Most of the irrigated acres (approximately 90%) are pasture while the rest is for alfalfa. The pastures are surrounded by grassland and sagebrush vegetation in the western portion of Big Valley. This large expanse of open space provides valuable wildlife habitat for deer, waterfowl, shorebirds, and a variety of other grassland dependent wildlife. The irrigated land is owned by several landowners who have water rights to the water released through Fulcher Gate.

Mason Ranch

The Mason ranch is located along the main stem of the Pit River, roughly 5 miles north of Lookout (T40N, R7E, Sec. 35). The floodplain appears to have been excavated in the past. Stream banks are eroding and the downcutting (approximately 10 feet) is moderate to severe (see image at right). The landowners are interested in stabilizing/re-vegetating the eroding streambanks and improving floodplain habitat. Site visits by restoration practitioners was conducted in 2005. StreamWise recommended that restoration involve extension of the inset floodplain to allow a broader floodplain width and better dissipation of the energy of flood forces. This would also require revegetation of the floodplain and grazing management. The initial estimate was $200,000 for this effort. The Plumas Corporation suggested a conceptual treatment of the use of rock vanes and revegetation, and also lowering the relic floodplain to help spread flood flows and reduce erosion stresses on the channel. These two restoration strategies are similar and would likely result in similar costs.

Gould Project

The Gould’s own and manage approximately 800 acres of land in Big Valley, Modoc County. The Pit River runs through the western portion of their property and is incised between 10 and 15 feet. The Gould’s would like to minimize the erosion occurring in their pastures and hay fields. They would also like to improve their irrigation efficiency by installing a pivot system. Currently, the pasture and hay fields by the river are flood and sprinkler irrigated. Roughly 30 acres of pasture is not irrigated, and this acreage is part of an active floodplain that ponds water during high runoff events. Currently, this pasture is for cattle grazing during the spring and summer.

The Gould’s would like to stabilize the riverbanks, irrigate the floodplain pasture during the summer, and continue to graze the floodplain pasture during the summer. They are willing to leave more vegetation in the floodplain pasture in the fall and winter in case the river tops the banks and spills into the floodplain.

Ash Valley Ranch

Gary Johns owns roughly 14,000 acres in the upper Ash Valley watershed in Lassen County. The land is the base property for the 20,000 acre BLM managed Ash Valley allotment. The lower reaches of the ranch are within the Ash Valley WUI. Upper reaches of the ranch include declining mule deer, summer antelope and historic greater sage grouse habitat. Over the past five years the ranch has completed over 1,200 acres of juniper treatments. Mr. Johns would like to implement a comprehensive strategy for juniper treatments on his land as well as the adjoining public land in conjunction with BLM.

Butte Creek Multi-ownership Land Tracks

This project is in the final planning stages and the implementation stage is fully funded through a combination of NRCS Conservation Partnership Initiative/Conservation Innovative Grants, a California Fire Safe Council/BLM Grant and a Lassen County Resource Advisory Committee Grant. The project will treat 300-400 acres of invasive juniper within the WUI, restore critical mule deer habitat and improve the upper reaches of a Pit RCD watershed. It is hoped the private land investment will result in additional treatments on adjoining BLM and US Forest Service Land.

Lassen County’s Tall Whitetop Initiative

The Lassen County Board of Supervisors established their Tall Whitetop Committee in the summer of 2006. The collaborative effort’s mission is to control and eliminate tall whitetop wherever possible. The Lassen County Agricultural Commissioner estimates that over $12,000,000 is lost annually in Lassen County Agricultural production due to tall whitetop infestations. Small plots have begun to show up within the Pit RCD and it is critical that it is eradicated in the early stages. The committee’s goal is to work collaboratively with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and their partners to obtain the millions of dollars necessary to meet its mission. The Pit RCD participates in the effort through its partnership in the Collaborative Sagebrush Steppe Restoration Initiative.

McBride Springs Fuel Reduction and Stream Restoration

The project is located in the upper reaches of Willow Creek on lands owned by Parks Ranch Inc. and US Forest Service lands. Eastside pine stands within the project area show the typical affects of a century of fire suppression including thick pockets of “dog hair” pine and juniper woodland succession. Parks Ranch would like to initiate a comprehensive fuels treatment and stream restoration strategy in conjunction with the Forest Service.

Rose Creek Juniper Treatment and Stream Restoration

The project is located on private and public lands managed by the Lookout Stock Association and US Forest Service. Stream restoration was completed in October, 2006 (See Rose Creek Canyon Project) and is fully funded through grants from the California Water Quality Control Board, Modoc County Resource Advisory Committee, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners. The partners would like to expand the project to include juniper treatments to affect a more comprehensive project.

South Knob Ranch Juniper Treatments

Four thousand acres of the ranch is owned by C.W. Johnson and an additional 2,400 is managed by the BLM. It is situated within the headwaters of Willow Creek. Over the last four years almost three thousand acres of western juniper has been removed and critical mule deer, greater sage grouse and antelope habitat has been restored. Over 260 acres has been set aside as wildlife habitat.

The landowner would like to implement additional juniper treatments, aspen grove restoration and expand and improve adaptive grazing management practices.

Western Juniper Treatment Grass Bank Establishment

The size and scope of treating the western juniper problem necessitates the implementation of projects on a large scale. The best restoration projects involve a post treatment rest prescription. The problem arises as to where to place livestock while the land is in its initial recovery stages. As the Cooperative Sagebrush Steppe Restoration Initiative moves forward it will be critical to solve this problem. As a major partner in the initiative the Pit RCD believes it may be in the best position to take the lead. One potential solution is working with the California Department of Fish and Game to explore using a portion of the Ash Creek Wildlife Area for this endeavor. Juniper treatments clearly benefit wildlife by restoring critical habitat. A properly implemented grass bank could also be beneficial to the wildlife area.
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