Salmonid Restoration Federation

North Coast Water Conservation Workshop in Fortuna, January 13

Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF) hosted a North Coast Water Conservation Workshop on January 13, 2017 at the Fortuna River Lodge in conjunction with Humboldt Steelhead Days. Partnering organizations included Sanctuary Forest, Trout Unlimited, Cal Trout, and Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.

This workshop featured leading water conservation speakers and planners presenting on a spectrum of water conservation issues that could benefit communities throughout the North Coast. Brock Dolman, an inspiring speaker from the Water Institute of Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, presented on climate change, permaculture, and building community-based water conservation programs. Tasha McKee of Sanctuary Forest discussed groundwater recharge projects and water storage and forbearance, a technique where landowners store enough water in the winter to forbear from diverting water during the dry summer months. Matt Clifford, an attorney with Trout Unlimited’s Water Project, provided guidance on navigating water rights and other regulatory requirements. Elijah Portugal of Redwood Community Action Agency presented on beaver dam analogues to slow water down, sink it, and reduce sediment.

With the support of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, and multiple restoration partners, SRF has offered a series of water conservation workshops and water rights clinics during California’s extended drought years. This North Coast Water Conservation Workshop was the last in a series of Best Management Practices workshops and water rights clinics that SRF has offered in the Five County region including Humboldt, Mendocino, Siskiyou, Trinity and Del Norte County. Through these workshops, SRF has provided technical education for rural landowners, realtors, planners, engineers, and residents in order to teach best management practices for water conservation planning and implementation.

“We were excited to host the North Coast Water Conservation Workshop with the participation of local water conservation leaders to empower and inspire residents in Northern California to better plan for water conservation projects to improve instream flows and protect our precious salmon,” stated Dana Stolzman, SRF’s Executive Director.

In recent years SRF has also been conducting community outreach and building capacity for water conservation strategies that would improve flows and serve as pilot projects in rural communities. By providing technical assistance, SRF is working to empower landowners who are working toward environmental and water use compliance on a county and state level. We have developed a webinar to walk citizens through the Initial Filing for Water Rights and Small Domestic Use applications

Additionally, in collaboration with Trout Unlimited, SRF has developed an online resource for small landowners in Coastal California called Guidance on Complying with California's Water Laws. This new series of web pages provides an overview of state regulatory requirements overseen by the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as information on regional and Humboldt County-specific ordinances. “As water becomes more scarce in California, ensuring compliance with state water laws offers many important benefits for local rural communities and native salmon populations.

Photo by Thomas Dunklin