In the late 1990’s, the Scott River was designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as impaired under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act for non-point source pollution of suspended sediment and water temperature. The State Water Resources Control Board has managed these listings under a Conditional Waiver (of Waste Discharge Requirements) as efforts are being made to meet Total Daily Maximum Load (TMDL) allocations through community-based restoration work, such as carried out by the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District. For more information, check out our educational webinar about the environmental context for non-point source pollution standards, local examples of best management practices and resources available for the remaining in compliance:
In 2008, the Siskiyou RCD established the Scott River Stream Restoration and Sediment Reduction Program to address sediment and thermal inputs to the Scott River with willing landowners through methods that concurrently enhance habitat for salmonid species in the watershed. Since then, the Siskiyou RCD has successfully implemented six stream bank restoration projects on the main-stem Scott River. The first of these was a bio-engineering demonstration site at river-kilometer (rkm) 79.3 in collaboration with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). A few years later, after monitoring the effectiveness of that site, the Siskiyou RCD compiled an action plan for subsequent treatments, commonly known as the Scott River (Riparian) Restoration Strategy and Schedule. From 2013 to 2021, the SRCD has systematically implemented stream bank stabilizations at five of the sites identified through that process (rkm 58.1, rkm 60, rkm 67, rkm 77.9 , and rkm 83). Treatments involved bio-engineered log jams, recontouring of the floodplain/terraces, and riparian planting that together were intended to initiate more natural stream processes through the reach. Restoring stream banks serves to stabilize soils, reduce the potential for significant channel migration, capture and store suspended sediment, and support riparian functionality.
Riparian Fencing & Planting
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. To date, the Siskiyou RCD has revegetated more than 300 acres of the Scott River and tributaries. Planting methodologies were evaluated in 2008 as described in the Scott River Riparian Restoration Analysis.
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.