An enthusiastic group of Citizen Scientist Water Quality Monitors have embarked on a summer of Cosumnes River visits and discovery.  On April 9th, the group spent a full day learning water quality monitoring and habitat analysis with State Water Resources Clean Water Team Coordinator Erick Burres at the American River Conservancy's Nature Center and Magnolia Ranch.  Each team then visited their assigned site for an opportunity to practice techniques, culminating in the first monitoring event on May 15th/16th.

The monitoring teams have diverse backgrounds and interests, ranging from college students to science professionals with over 30 years of experience, and from a variety of organizations. The group will be monitoring temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, recording observations of aquatic species and other wildlife, and conducting habitat analysis.  The outcome of their research will be used to gain insight into the health of the watershed—for people and creatures—and will be the first step in gathering data for future projects.  Meanwhile, the monitors have an excellent reason to visit beautiful river locations and the satisfaction of contributing to the health of one of our home watersheds

El Dorado Trout Unlimited is the home for the monitoring program, with key support and participation from partners American River Conservancy and Cosumnes Culture and WaterWays.

The EDTU Cosumnes River Water Quality Monitoring Program welcomes new volunteers throughout the year, for monitoring and many other roles. Please call Monitoring Coordinator Melinda Frost-Hurzel at 530-295-1194 for more information.

The Trout Unlimited El Dorado Chapter has adopted the Upper Cosumnes River Watershed as a restoration project. The long term goal is to return salmon and steelhead to the river above Latrobe Falls. Folklore and native peoples report the presence of these fish in the past. There is some acceptance of salmon being above the falls. Early work is directed to assessing the true past presence of these salmonids and monitoring the water quality in the watershed. The Cosumnes is one of few remaining undammed river in the state and comprises the North, Middle and South Forks and their tributaries.

Water quality in terms of quantity and temperature are paramount to the long term success. A monitoring program has begun and an initial snapshot of water quality taken in May and June of 2015. Quantity of water and stream-bank vegetation contribute to water temperature. In this drought year the river is stressed for water. There are numerous draws of the water that occur along its length. At present the river goes dry during the summer in the lower reaches. Even so, salmon have been observed at the diversion dams in the lower river.

This years work has been termed the "summer of discovery" in terms of gathering data to establish a baseline of river status. Melinda Frost-Hurzel is leading this project with assistance from the El Dorado Chapter, the American River Conservancy, Cosumnes Culture and Waterways and numerous others she networks with.

Work accomplished to date include a broad survey, tree bore samples to determine the past presence of ocean dwelling fish, temperature measurements across the watershed and dissolved oxygen measurements.

Plans have been prepared to direct the monitoring planned for 2015. There is a monitoring plan supported by a quality assurance plan and a plan for volunteer activity. To review the plans click on these links;

Cosumnes Monitoring Plan , Cosumnes Monitoring QA Plan , Cosumnes Volunteer Manual 

The volunteer crew was assembled in June to go out onto the North and Middle Forks of the Cosumnes and collect temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH measurements. The volunteers had first participated in training sessions in May and June to prepare them for going into the field. Volunteers worked in pairs and were assigned specific locations to collect data. The pairs were assigned one or more locations depending on the proximity of the varied locations. Measurement stations varied from Michigan Bar on the lower river to Leek Springs at the headwaters. There were 18 locations in all. The following links will show the station locations and results obtained: June 2015 Temperatures and flows , pH and Dissolved Oxygen

Monitoring Data

 

The winter of 2015 was the driest winter in California’s recorded history. But despite the great drought—and perhaps the worst arid spell for California in 1,200 years—spring-fed water flows steadily in Northern California.

You read that correctly. Even with a fourth consecutive summer of record setting drought, water from the depths of Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lassen, and the Medicine Lake Volcano rises insistently to the surface providing life for people, fish and wildlife, agriculture, and hydropower.

As the drought reduces rain water and snow melt, spring water acts as an emergency reserve, currently pumping 1.7 billion gallons a day into Shasta Reservoir. Read More

Fire can become a useful tool in protecting the National Forests from major fires. 

The U.S. Forest Service has been suppressing fire since 1911, even adopting a policy calling for quelling all flames by 10 a.m. the day following the initial report. Ironically, a century of suppression has left forests overcrowded with dense stands of flammable conifers. The number of wildfires is increasing by 7 percent annually, scorching forests earlier in the season and burning with twice the intensity of the previous 100 years, studies have found.

Scientists and forest managers alike know fire belongs on the landscape, but they are flummoxed by how to reintroduce it under today’s tinderbox conditions. A controversy now playing out in California’s northwest corner is a typical result, but this one hints at how we might resolve this dilemma. Read More.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The nation’s anglers stand firmly behind a new clean water rule that will protect America’s headwater streams from unchecked development while still allowing reasonable leeway when it comes to water use by agriculture and industry all across the country.

“The waters this rule protects are the sources of our nation’s coldest, cleanest water,” said Trout Unlimited President and CEO Chris Wood. “Not only do these waters provide the needed spawning and rearing waters for our trout and salmon, they are the sources of our iconic rivers and streams—they provide the water we all use downstream. The EPA and the Corps were right to craft this thoughtful rule in a way that protects our headwaters and our fish, but also protects the downstream uses of our nation’s water.”

Lahontan cutthroat trout are successfully reproducing in the lower Truckee River in what experts are calling a major milestone in efforts to restore the population once on the brink of extinction.

Last year, cutthroats raised from a strain of a remnant population in the mountains near the Nevada-Utah line spawned upstream from Pyramid Lake for the first time in nearly 80 years.

Now, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials have documented about 1,000 newly hatched baby cutthroats swimming in the river after a second spawn this spring. They suspect as many as 45,000 may have hatched in recent weeks.

During the winter and spring of 2015, the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative conducted five interactive workshops focused on the use of beaver in aquatic restoration to solicit input from land owners/managers, restoration funders, reviewers, and practitioners actively involved in beaver restoration and management. The culmination of these workshops is a Beaver Restoration Guidebook that is currently in development. Read the Full Article