The Scott River watershed has a collective population of about 8,000 people and encompasses five main towns (Scott Bar, Fort Jones, Greenview, Etna and Callahan). About half the area of the watershed is in private ownership, with the other half belonging to the federal government (U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service wilderness and other land use allocations). The primary use of private land is agricultural in nature, including timber harvest, livestock grazing, and large-scale crop production. Alfalfa, grain, and pasture forage are the most common crop produced in the watershed. Currently, approximately 30,000 acres of land in the Scott River watershed are irrigated (about 6% of the watershed) utilizing surface and groundwater sources.
Alternative Livestock Watering Systems - These systems provide a source of water for cattle that would otherwise utilize a surface water diversion or enter the stream. The installation of these systems allow for stockwater diversion to be reduced and riparian fencing to be installed, which is often followed by both natural and assisted vegetative restoration.
Irrigation Efficiency -
Surface Water Diversion Improvements -
Fish Screen Construction & Maintenance
Fish screens provide a barrier that prevent juvenile and adult fish from entering surface water diversion ditches that convey water from the stream for various beneficial uses. Fish screens are particulairly important on streams that support rearing salmonid species durring the irrigation season. Since 1996, the Siskiyou RCD has installed 62 fish screens on private property through the voluntary cooperation of agricultural landowners across the Scott Valley. Screens are designed to meet criteria of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. The Siskiyou RCD is committed to protecting this investment in infrastructure and offers a Fish Screen Maintenance Program to not only assisting water users in the maintenance of their fish screens but also protect the longevity of the structure as well as the fish that encounter them. Currently, the Fish Screen Maintenance program is unfunded:
Riparian vegetation serves a number of important functions related to water quality including stabilizing banks, filtering runoff and reducing solar inputs to the stream. An effective riparian corridor is able to dissipate stream energy, reduce soil erosion and flood damage, while providing wildlife habitat and forage. Fencing permits the management of livestock access to the floodplain, allowing the natural reversal of degraded conditions and active enhancement efforts to promote diverse vegetative growth and recruitment.
The construction of livestock management fencing along the riparian zone has been a restoration focus for several decades such that today approximately 95% of privately owned portions of the Scott River mainstem have been fenced. Furthermore, three major tributaries to the Scott River are fully fenced where livestock are present: Shackleford Creek, French Creek, and Sugar Creek. The Siskiyou RCD implements wildlife compatible fencing according to the standards set by the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife as well as the USDA Nature Resource Conservation Service.