California’s Headwaters: A Look at How Watersheds are Connected

  • by Joshua Alpine and Robert Roscoe
  • Nov 17, 2017
  • Voices on Water

More than 50 people representing almost every ACWA region attended a program in Auburn Sept. 8 that explored a multitude of issues impacting California’s headwaters. The joint program, sponsored by ACWA Regions 3 and 4, was held at the Ridge Golf Club & Event Center.

Region 3 Chair Joshua Alpine welcomed attendees and was followed by a panel discussion on current conditions in the headwater regions of California. The expert panel featured California Forestry Association Vice President Public Resources Steve Brink, Nevada Irrigation District General Manager Remleh Scherzinger, and USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southern Region Deputy Regional Forester for Resources Barnie Gyant. Panelists discussed headwaters challenges including: regulations on forest management forecasted weather patterns of normal precipitation with above normal temperatures, and the impacts of catastrophic events such as wildfires. Panelists also explored how long-term restoration has contributed to significant water quality/quantity challenges for agencies in headwaters areas that rely solely on surface water.

Next, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Scientist Thomas Painter highlighted JPL’s state of the art Sierra Nevada snowpack measuring project. Through aerial measurements and technology advancements, scientists are able to get a more accurate reading of the snowpack and water storage in the Sierra. The new technology is also catching on for water management efforts in the Colorado River watershed. The final panel focused on how local water agencies can prepare for the next generation of headwaters issues at the local level. El Dorado Irrigation District Environmental and Water Resources Manager Dan Corcoran spoke of partnerships resulting in mitigated risks and damage when natural disasters occur. Angie Lottes, biomass program coordinator for The Watershed Resources & Training Center, explained the statewide biomass project and efforts being made to bring more biomass power plants online to assist with forest cleanup efforts. Sierra Nevada Research Institute, University of California Merced Assistant Professional Researcher Mohammad Safeeq discussed outreach efforts to better educate the public on proper forest management and ecological and hydrological benefits afforded by these practices.

After an information-filled day, attendees heard an update from ACWA Region 4 Vice Chair Glen Grant on upcoming ACWA events. We would like to thank all the subject matter experts who volunteered their time – thank you!

For upcoming information about ACWA Region 3 & 4 activities, please visit www.acwa.com.

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