Watershed

The Smith River Alliance Newsletter
Watershed Newsletter | Fall 2019

Exciting News!

The Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation and Working Forests Act – legislation to safeguard treasured NW CA’s public land – just passed a key U.S. House committee last week. Thank you, Rep. Huffman!

Grant Awarded to Smith River Collaborative!

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced a grant award to the Smith River Collaborative to implement critically important watershed infrastructure improvements for nearly 30 miles of streams, and associated roads and trails in the Smith River National Recreation Area. The $330,526 grant provides funding for implementation of projects and improvements developed through the Smith River National Recreation Area Restoration and Motorized Travel Management Project (TMP).

The Regional Office of the Forest Service will contribute an additional $440,000 to the project, for a total project budget of $770,526.

“Partnership and cooperation made this project possible,” said SRC Co-Chair Grant Werschkull of the Smith River Alliance. “When interested and motivated parties are willing to work together in a zone of agreement there’s no limit to what can be achieved. The partnership involving SRC and the Forest Service is really exciting. The SRC is motivated and the Forest Service has been an outstanding partner.”

This funding will be used to implement critically important watershed infrastructure improvements that benefit nearly thirty miles of stream and associated roads and trails in the Smith River National Recreation Area (NRA). The project will benefit fish, wildlife, sensitive plants, and enhance water quality — while also improving recreation access across the NRA.

2019 Coastal Cleanup Effort a Success

After years of organizing successful river cleanups, SRA added coastal beaches and riparian areas to their cleanup program, joining one of the world’s largest annual cleanup efforts for beaches, coastal wetlands and public recreation areas.

SRA co-hosted most successful Del Norte event so far – the 2019 Coastal Cleanup with several hundred participants and several tons of trash recovered. This outcome was possible thanks to many community partners — including businesses, agencies, and individuals coming together with tools, food, and time. A new partnership with Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Nation added more than forty volunteers and over a ton of trash to the tally with their cleanup effort near the town of Smith River. Finally, we acknowledge the more than 700 student volunteers from the Del Norte Unified School District!

Funds for this program comes from the California Coastal Commission’s Whale Tail® License Plate (an official “specialty” license plate) program, and (2) donations to the “Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund,” which is one of the “tax check-off” funds listed on the California state tax form. Additional event sponsors include: Crescent City Ace Hardware, Kokotat, Rumiano Cheese Company, Elk Valley Rancheria, Home Depot, Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Nation, Take a Bite Out of Blight, the Trash Dogs, Rural Human Services. Hambro/WSG and the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority.

For more than a decade the Smith River Alliance (SRA) has led stewardship activities across the Smith River National Recreation Area and along the coast. SRA recognizes that the work to cleanup public lands is essential to human health and the health of the planet.

Elk Creek Restoration Feasibility Study

Smith River Alliance (SRA) is pleased to announce the Elk Creek Restoration Feasibility Study, funded by the CA Coastal Conservancy and the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife. The study will include a collaborative process with watershed stakeholders, including lead partners City of Crescent City, Elk Valley Rancheria and Del Norte County, to identify and prioritize restoration projects aimed at increasing the coastal resilience of Crescent City to sea level rise and enhancing coastal wetland habitats. Improvement to public access will also be evaluated. Identified projects will yield multiple benefits for wildlife, water quality, and the community.

A technical advisory committee (TAC) of key stakeholders will guide project review and ranking. SRA has recruited Stillwater Sciences to conduct various hydrologic and biological surveys and support the project effort. The stakeholder engagement of the TAC combined with the data from the surveys will ensure identified restoration projects will meet the long-term goals for the Elk Creek watershed and the community.

For more information please contact:
Dylan Caldwell, Dylan@stillwatersci.com
Grant Werschkull, grant@smithriveralliance.org

Help us Protect the Smith

"Protecting land and water, restoring habitat, and stewarding the Smith River for future generations."
Photo: Thomas Dunklin