Cultivating Sustainable Solutions
Our Agronomy Program focuses on implementing sustainable agricultural practices and promoting soil health to enhance productivity and environmental stewardship. Through our projects, such as fish screen installation and maintenance, alternative livestock watering, cover cropping, nutrient management, and precision agriculture techniques, we provide farmers with the tools and knowledge to optimize crop yields while minimizing environmental impacts. By integrating cutting-edge research and tailored technical assistance, we aim to support a thriving agricultural sector that prioritizes soil conservation, water efficiency, and long-term sustainability.
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.
Irrigation Screens - 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 particularly important on streams that support rearing salmonid species during 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.
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 stock-water 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.