Archive for July, 2017

Delta Conservancy Logo 3I wrote previously about the award that the Delta Conservancy received from the American Carbon Registry for developing a carbon methodology for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but I did not go into any real detail on what the carbon methodology was.

Delta Stewardship Council logoThe Delta Stewardship Council, which is another state agency focused on the Delta, produced a short video announcing the carbon methodology, and explaining what it is, how it will hopefully work, and what the first few steps of implementing it may look like.

That video can be found here. Along with the information, the video features Campbell Ingram who is the Delta Conservancy Executive Director, and my boss.

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The California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) recently announced the discovery of a new pack of Gray Wolves living in California! Named the Lassen Pack, they are a mated pair and three young pups.

After getting reports of suspected wolf activity in Lassen National Forest, CDFW worked extensively to track their activity and were eventually able to find and capture the adult female in June of 2017. She was found to be a healthy 75 lbs and still nursing! After collecting some genetic samples and attaching a tracking collar to her, she was released. After her release, a U.S. Forest Service trail cam in the area captured photos of her with three young pups!

Lassen Pack - pups

The three pups of the Lassen Pack playing in front of a trail cam.

This is the second pack of wolves that have taken up residence in the state. In 2015-16 a pair of wolves settled down in Siskiyou County and birthed 5 pups to form the Shasta Pack. That pack has not been seen as a whole since mid-2016, but one of the pups was spotted in Nevada becoming that states first wolf visitor since 1922!

This new pack is descended from the wolves living in southern Oregon called the Imnaha Pack (the Shasta are also descended from the Imnaha Pack), and mark a new chapter in the story of wolf recovery in California.

And wolf recovery is going well in states other than California. There are currently about 1,700 wolves in the western U.S.A. Most of these animals are living in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.

It is continually exciting to see this species, that was missing from the ecosystem for so long, return to its native range.

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Delta Conservancy Logo 3I have been working at the Delta Conservancy for about a year and half, now. In that time, one of the major projects I have been working on is our Proposition 1 Grant Program. Proposition 1 was a water bond passed by voters in 2014. Among many other things, it allocated $50 million dollars for the Delta Conservancy to give out to fund projects that would restore habitat, improve water quality, and/or support sustainable agriculture within the legal boundary of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. A large part of my role here has been to help our Program Manager and higher ranking staff to form the competitive process by which organizations can submit proposals for projects, the process of reviewing and ranking those proposals to determine which will be funded, and then the management of the specific grant awards to successful projects.

In 2015, just before I began working here, the Delta Conservancy received its first round of project proposals, and in the fall of 2016 we received our second round of proposals   (there will be subsequent rounds in the fall of 2017, 2018, and 2019). I was very involved in reviewing those proposals and scoring them to determine which would go on to be awarded funding. We have now gone through the entire process of reviewing the proposals, recommending the most qualified proposals to our board of directors for approval, and then writing the actual grant agreements, twice. This is the exciting part because it now means we are able to move forward with giving funds to get projects accomplished.

I thought it might be interesting to introduce you to those projects as they get underway. I am going to be the grant manager for two of the projects from our 2015 batch of proposals and three from the 2016 batch. The first to begin was the Lower Marsh and Sand Creek Watershed Riparian Restoration Planning Project that I wrote about here. The most recent grant funded project to be signed is one called the Three Creeks Parkway Restoration Project, and it will restore about a mile of creek bank from the dry, open, barren ground that it is now to a healthy, vibrant, shaded native riparian corridor. It is the one I will focus on in this post.

The Three Creeks Parkway Restoration Project was proposed by a non-profit organization called American Rivers. The site of the project is an area in the city of Brentwood in eastern Contra Costa County where Marsh Creek is joined by Sand Creek and Deer Creek (the three creeks referenced in the project name). This stretch of Marsh Creek runs through a pretty urban environment, and at the moment, there is very little growing there.

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Confluence of Marsh, Deer, and Sand Creeks in Brentwood, Contra Costa County. Photo courtesy of American Rivers.

The project will dig out the steep banks of the creek on both sides and reshape them into more gentle slopes with small floodplains on either side. This will help reduce the risk of flooding and also create a bunch of floodplain habitat that is a rare thing in the Delta. After reshaping the banks, the new contoured will be planted with hundreds of native trees, hundreds of native shrubs, and thousands of native understory plants. As these plants all grow, they will create habitat for birds and other wildlife, shade the water in the creek keeping it cooler and more hospitable for native fish, and create a lovely trail for people to use. This stretch of restored creek will also connect other parts of the creek that have already been restored and so make it easier for animals and plants to disperse up and down stream.

Over the next three years that the Delta Conservancy will be funding this project for, it will be amazing to see this habitat come into being.

PrintThis project has a budget of $836,409 awarded from the Proposition 1 Grant Fund by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy.

As of this writing, we are getting ready to open our third round of proposals which will then require review and scoring. I am looking forward to seeing what projects are proposed and which are successful and will be funded by the Delta Conservancy.

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