State Soil & Water Conservation Commission representatives joined JSWCD on August 10 and 11 to hear about and see the collaborative projects we have going on down here in Southern Oregon.
Over their two day tour, commission representatives heard presentations from Lomakatsi, Rogue River Watershed Council, and our local JSWCD staff, informing them of the amazing conservation programs taking place locally that ultimately benefit our ecological and human communities, as well as our local agricultural economy.
On August 11, we toured two local project sites to highlight the amazing benefits that community collaboration can create.
Wagner Creek Restoration Site
Rogue River Watershed Council's (RRWC) Sarah Sauter led tour participants around a City of Talent property along Wagner Creek which has recently been treated for blackberry removal.
This site is one of several sites making up 6 miles along Wagner Creek that are part of a community-level restoration initiative. Eight landowners, along with JSWCD and RRWC, have combined forces to make irrigation system improvements to improve fish passage and restore riparian habitat to improve overall habitat quality.
Because Wagner Creek is a fish-bearing stream--meaning it is a stream used by spawning salmon and steelhead-- restoration projects that target the removal of invasive species and native species re-planting are especially important. Healthy, intact riparian areas--the vegetated area immediately adjacent to a waterway--are critical to high quality in-stream habitat. Mature riparian trees, shrubs, and other vegetation filter water pollutants, reduce the negative impact of flood events, and, most importantly for aquatic organisms, shade the water, keeping it cool and rich in oxygen.
This site will be part of 20 year temperature tracking study which will allow land and resource managers to track the impact of such restoration projects. We hope to see native vegetation return along this stretch of Wagner Creek, ultimately reducing water temperature and improving aquatic habitat.
Bradshaw Drop Piping Project
In an effort to meet both the needs of spawning endangered coho salmon and local irrigation water users, the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District has collaborated with multiple entities to develop plans to convert an out-of-date irrigation system to a state of the art piped, pressurized system. The Bradshaw Drop project will significantly improve in-stream fish habitat as well as irrigation efficiency.
As part of the Little Butte Creek Watershed, collaboration with this project allows JSWCD to work towards ahcieving its goals in its Oregon Department of Agriculture Focus Area. Because the Little Butte Creek Watershed Focus Area has been a prime target of JSWCD staff and resources to improve soil and water quality, the improvements that this project will bring will further support JSWCD's work in the watershed.
The ultimate return of 7 cfs of water to Little Butte Creek and conversion of flood irrigated systems to pressurized systems is a true win-win for both wildlife and agricultural producers. JSWCD is proud to be working with a project that achieves the mission of a wide-variety of stakeholders from around the state. It is the hope of the primary players in this project that collaborative projects like this will continue to gain a foothold in the realm of conservation. It is only through projects such as these that real, sustainable conservation can take place.
For more information about either of these projects contact:
Jackson Soil & Water Conservation District 541-423-6182
Rogue River Watershed Council 541-423-6158
Rogue River Valley Irrigation District 541-773-6127