Water Quality

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:

Preserving Water Quality within a Working Landscape

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

Program Vicinity Map v2.jpg

implemented six streambank restoration projects on the mainstem 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 streambank 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.  For more information check out the following:

Scott River 2008 Demonstration Site 3-Year Review

Scott River (Riparian) Restoration Strategy and Schedule

2010-2014 Program Final Report

2017-2021 Program Final Report

Scott River-Kilometer 79.3 Demonstration Site (2008)
  • 300 linear feet treated
  • Experimented with different vegetative techniques along the slope including clusters, clumps, spurs, mattresses, vertical bundles, vegetated rock sills, toe rock and toe fascines
Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife and NRCS
Scott River-Kilometer 77.9 (2013)
  • 650 linear feet treated
  • 8 bio-engineered structures, 50 pieces of large wood
  • 5.5 acres planted with 130 cottonwoods and 44 willows
  • Total cost (materials & construction) $40,862
  • Funded by US Fish and Wildlife Service
Scott River-Kilometer 58.1 (2013)
  • 400 linear feet treated
  • 8 bio-engineered structures, 42 peices of large wood
  • 0.2 acres planted
  • Total cost (materials & construction) $60,893
  • Funded by US Environmental Protection Agency & State Water Resources Control Board
Scott River-Kilometer 83 (2014)
  • 650 linear feet treated
  • 14 bio-engineered structures, 152 pieces of large wood
  • 0.6 acres planted with 30 cottonwoods and 340 willows
  • 2,800 feet of riparian fencing
  • Total cost (materials & construction) $114,073
  • Funded by US Environmental Protection Agency, State Water Resources Control Board and NRCS
Scott River-Kilometer 67 (2018)
  • 850 linear feet treated
  • 6 bio-engineered structures, 110 pieces of wood
  • approx 3,600 cubic yards re-contoured
  • 2 acres planted with 92 cottonwoods and 382 willow
  • Total cost (materials & construction) $131,294
  • Funded by US Environmental Protection Agency, State Water Resources Control Board, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the US Fish and Wildlife Service
Scott River-Kilometer 60 (2020)
  • 550 linear feet treated
  • 8 bio-engineered structures, 138 pieces of wood
  • approx 3,000 cubic yards re-contoured
  • 1.3 acres planted with 105 cottonwoods and 1,016 willows
  • Total cost (materials & construction) $120,508
  • Funded by US Environmental Protection Agency, State Water Resources Control Board, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the US Fish and Wildlife Service
Riparian 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.

Golden willow planted 1998 along the Scott River
Ponderosa pines planted 1996 and 1997 along the Scott River
Black cottonwoods planted 1998 between the Scott River and French Creek