TBWI Quarterly Reports
Fourteenth Quarter & Final Report (Drought Extension) TBWI/DOC Report: August 19, 2014 - November 18, 2014
Highlighted activities and accomplishments completed in Quarter 14 by the TBWI Team (including Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting):
- During Quarter 14, the TBWI and Watershed Coordinator Team succeeded in engaging the Kern County 6 Semitropic Water Storage District (SWSD) in a project involving a conservation easement to be held by the California Rangeland Trust (CRT) on a 400-acre SWSD groundwater storage parcel with alkali scrub habitat restoration/San Joaquin Valley kit fox habitat enhancement potential (@ $1.25M), and in subsequent submission of a funding application to the CVPCP-HRP. The goal is to protect an additional 10,000 acres in the Tulare Basin over the next ten years through similar projects. The Team advanced land use mapping composites to improve the immediate usefulness of these map layers as an interactive decision-making tool for policy development and land use/groundwater management planning decisions.
- The Team participated in the Watershed Connections Working Group, a multi-agency, intra-regional and inter-jurisdictional collaboration with a goal “to advance collaborative watershed planning and resource management in Tulare Basin based on sound science and mutually identified needs for regional economic and ecological sustainability.”
- The Team developed seven land use and natural resource management recommendations/guidelines, which they presented to county planners in Tulare, Kings, and Fresno Counties. They also developed and distributed a guidebook.
- The TBWP and TBWI Team leveraged $906,439.75 in new funds over the 3 ½ year grant period.
Thirteenth Quarter (Drought Extension) TBWI/DOC Report: May 19, 2014 - August 18, 2014
Highlighted activities and accomplishments completed in Quarter 13 by TBWI and partners:
- Organized and coordinated the Watershed Connections Workshop on June 10, 2014, which built upon objectives laid out in the first Watershed Connections meeting (February 2014), and succeeded in establishing the new Watershed Connections Working Group.
- Watershed Coordinator Dave Clendenen (WC1), with support from TBWI team, submitted a Letter of Inquiry to the California Water Foundation (CWF) to request support for the continuation of Dave’s efforts as Tulare Basin Watershed Coordinator for 36 months, upon the conclusion of the DOC Drought Extension Quarter 14 on November 18, 2014.
- Watershed Coordinator Kathy McLaughlin (WC2) assisted the BLM Atwell Island Project (AIP) Manager with groundwater funding and regional conservation strategy matters, helping to orchestrate public and private partnership for a 37,000-acre AIP land acquisition opportunity.
- WC2 worked with the Tulare County Resources Management Agency and Westside RCD to develop the Arroyo Pasajero Cooperative Watershed Grant, requesting $100,000 from the Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART Watershed Cooperative Program to develop the West Hills Resource Management Plan and restoration plan.
- WC2 and TBWI team advanced the Land Use and Natural Resources Integration (LUNRI) program, which will make recommendations to Kings, Tulare, and Fresno Counties about important multi-benefit natural resource conservation projects.
Twelvth Quarter/Year 3 TBWI/DOC Report: February 19, 2014 - May 18, 2014
Highlighted activities and accomplishments completed in Quarter 12 by TBWI and partners:
- To help with drought response within the Tulare Basin Watershed, the TBWI WC has assisted with the review of drought-related projects in preparation for submission for DWR Drought Implementation grant program through the IRWMs this summer.
- The TBWI advanced the work of its recently launched “Watershed Connections,” an effort to convene resource managers, stakeholders and researchers throughout the entire Tulare Basin hydrologic region, from the Sierra Nevada to the San Joaquin Valley floor. The objective of the first meeting held on February 25 was to initiate watershed-level planning and problem solving through a process based on sound science and social need.
- The WC assisted the WRCD with the submission of a Habitat Restoration grant under the provisions of CVPIA “b- 1- other” in October 2013. The vision for this project is a multi-agency partnership with private landowners that will span the upper watershed to the floor of the Southern San Joaquin Valley.
- The TBWI launched its Rural Communities Resource Center (RCRC) in early April. RCRC is an online tool that features news, grant opportunities, events, resources and other information for DACs and the nonprofits/agencies with whom they work. The development of this new section on the TBWI website was funded by Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
- TBWI team members have been working closely with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the Atwell Island Project (AIP) to build community support and interest in the 8,000-acre wetland and upland restoration site.
- The WC participated in the Southern Sierra Regional Water Management Group (SS RWMG) Coordinating Committee and Planning Committee meetings to guide the development of the SS RWMG IRWM plan.
- The WC participated in a panel discussion, with a focus on water and climate change resiliency, at the Dinkey Landscape Restoration Collaborative meeting on May 15 at the Sierra National Forest Supervisor’s office in Clovis.
- TBWI team members are coordinating with the San Joaquin Valley Greenprint and Tulare Basin counties to facilitate better integration of natural resource patterns and parameters into local land use planning.
Eleventh Quarter TBWI/DOC Report: November 19, 2013 - February 18, 2014
Highlighted activities and accomplishments completed in Quarter 11 by TBWI and partners:
- The Watershed Coordinator (WC) provided recommendation to DWR IRWM team to add scoring advantage to projects that provide ecosystem benefits in the Round 3 Implementation grant program.
- The WC took the lead in the preparation and submission of a $197,500 grant application to the BOR CVP Habitat Restoration (HR) Program for restoration of riparian habitat in the Arroyo Pasajero portion of western Fresno County in collaboration with the WRCD.
- The Assistant WC coordinated a meeting of upper and lower watershed managers for the Tulare Basin Watershed. The meeting took place after the reporting period, on February 25; meeting results will be detailed in the 12th quarter report.
- The TBWI team received a grant from the Fresno Regional Foundation to work with county planning officials to help them incorporate new, evolving, and more comprehensive natural resource management tools in their land use planning decisions, with the goal of creating more sustainable outcomes for people, wildlife, and our finite resources.
- The WC developed a Scope of Work (SOW) for the proposed Liberty Ranch Climate Adaptation Project and submitted it to DWR on January 23, 2014. The TBWP is in the process of developing local support and sponsorship for a feasibility study to explore and recommend phases for the project.
- The TBWI team worked with the BLM Project Manager for Atwell Island to increase visitor usage of the public lands in Alpaugh – the Atwell Island Project.
- The TBWI Communications/Outreach Specialist launched a major website upgrade to the Tulare Basin Wildlife Partners website: http://www.tularebasinwildlifepartners.org – in December, 2013. The site hosts a wealth of research and resources about Tulare Basin hydrology, species, habitats and unique planning efforts.
Tenth Quarter TBWI/DOC Report: August 19, 2013 - November 18, 2013
Highlighted activities and accomplishments completed in Quarter 10 by TBWI and partners:
- The Watershed Coordinator took the lead in the preparation and submission of a $197,500 grant application to the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) Central Valley Project Conservation Program (CVPCP) for restoration of riparian habitat in the Arroyo Pasajero portion of western Fresno County in collaboration with the Westside RCD.
- BOR added $200,000 in additional funding to the Pixley Conservation Project, funded through a CVPCP grant awarded in 2012, bringing the total amount of funding to $648,000.
- The fall TBWG meeting occurred at the Fresno County Council of Governments (COG) office on October 24. The participants focused on reviewing water, agriculture and habitat data and maps gathered/created by the UC Davis Information Center for the Environment (ICE) under Phase 1 of the San Joaquin Valley Greenprint (led by the Fresno COG).
- The WC continued scoping for the Liberty Ranch Climate Adaptation Project. The Watershed Coordinator is working with potential partners and funders to identify funding for a feasibility study.
- Began development of the “Rural Communities Resource Center” (RCRC), an online portal for disadvantaged communities (via www.tularebasinwatershed.org) that will feature funding opportunities, workshops, news/updates, project information/opportunities and more. TBWP expects to launch the online resource center in early 2014.
- TBWI team members coordinated a meeting with Alpaugh and Allensworth community members, Angiola Water District, Bureau of Land Management, Self-Help Enterprises, United Way of Tulare County and others to begin planning for a recreation and trail-building project that will connect the communities of Alpaugh, Allensworth and Atwell.
- WC attended the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) annual meeting and Watershed Coordinator Workshop in Napa (November 13-16); she delivered a short presentation on the partnership between the TBWI and Westside RCD.
Ninth Quarter TBWI/DOC Report: May 19, 2013 - August 18, 2013
Highlighted activities and accomplishments completed in Quarter 9 by TBWI and partners:
- The Watershed Coordinator (WC) began working on the “West Hills Conservation Project” in partnership with the Westside RCD and willing landowners. This project will enable the evaluation of capacity limitations of creeks and streams from the Sierra watershed and the West Hills onto the San Joaquin Valley floor -- limitations resulting from encroachment by development, invasive species, and sedimentation.
- Liberty Ranch Climate Adaptation Project scoping continued.
- Members of the TBWI Core Team have been active in the communities of Alpaugh and Allensworth: helped launch a community newsletter, participated in two Summer Night Lights events targeted at engaging youth in safe, fun summer activities in an effort to deter gang involvement.
- The TBWP received $5,000 in funding in June from Pacific Gas and Electric Company to develop a DAC-focused page on the TBWI website
- In the interest of promoting watershed activities and successes, the TBWI posted to its website a synopsis of projects submitted by the IRWM groups in the Tulare Basin for Round 2 Implementation Grant funding in March 2013.
- The WC participated in the Tulare Lake Region Design Team for California Water Plan. The next regional meeting is scheduled for October and will be centrally located in the Tulare Lake hydrologic region.
- The WC and Assistant WC participated in Regional Water Management Group (RWMG) Coordinating Committee and Planning Committee meetings to guide the development of the IRWM plan.
Year Two/Eighth Quarter TBWI/DOC Report: May 19, 2012 - May 18, 2013 (year 2) and February 19, 2013 - May 18, 2013 (8th Quarter)
Highlighted activities and accomplishments completed in Quarter 8 by TBWI and partners:
- Partnering with Angiola Water District and state and federal agencies on a project that would convert a large ranch on the former Tulare Lake bed to a storage basin to provide flood protection for local communities, water supply increases, climate change adaptation strategies, and wildlife habitat benefits.
- Partnering to develop modeling and engineering solutions to manage flood flows on the White River through the Allensworth Ecological Reserve (ER) and surrounding communities. The project will protect and aid in the recovery of upland threatened/endangered species including Tipton’s kangaroo rat, blunt-nosed leopard lizard and San Joaquin kit fox.
- Working with the Westside RCD, multiple state and federal agencies and private landowners on a pilot project along Salt Creek. See page one, “Bringing Partners Together on the Westside.”
- Participating on the Sierra Water Work Group (SWWG) and the planning of the next SWWG Summit, which is scheduled for June 11-13, 2013.
- Raising awareness about integrated resource management in the Tulare Basin through e-newsletters, op-eds in local papers, and presentations.
- Collaborating on Fresno County DAC focus group to conduct outreach and education on benefits of community water systems rather than individual wells and septic systems.
- Participating with the San Joaquin Valley Recovery Team to develop a GIS map that will evaluate the protection needs of core recovery areas and habitat linkages identified in the Recovery Plan.
- Assisting with project review for several Integrated Regional Water Management Groups in the Tulare Basin.
- Partnering with BLM and the California State Parks (Colonel Allensworth State Historical Park)to coordinate events and activities in Alpaugh and Allensworth that educate children and adults about the natural diversity of their unique region, and how to better steward those resources.
- Participating on the Steering Committee for the San Joaquin Valley Greenprint to provide input on its interactive mapping efforts with UC Davis Information Center for the Environment.
- Participating in the first meeting of the Sustainable Conservation San Joaquin Valley Strategic Team, comprised of leaders from the agricultural and conservation communities, as well as community leaders and policy makers interested in water and land use planning in the San Joaquin Valley.
Seventh Quarter TBWI/DOC Report: November 19, 2012 - February 18, 2013
Activities and accomplishments completed in Quarter 7 by TBWI and partners:
- Began scoping a flood management, water supply and waterfowl habitat conceptual project with potential to provide climate change adaptation benefits in the Tulare Lake Region.
- Submitted a propposal to the CDFW Director in December 2012 for development of modeling and engineering solutions to manage flood flows through the Allensworth Ecological Reserve (ER) and surrounding communities. The project will protect and aid in recovery of upland threatened/endangered species including Tipton’s kangaroo rat, blunt-nosed leopard lizard and San Joaquin kit fox.
- The WC reviewed a proposal with Fresno Irrigation District for long-term O&M of the Fancher and Big Dry Creeks and removal/control of invasive plants.
- TBWI team members coordinated the third in a series of Southwest Tulare County DAC Roundtables on water-related issues/projects (with co-organizers United Way, and Self-Help Enterprises).
- The TBWI team launched the first of an ongoing series of e-newsletters, which will be distributed approximately every two weeks in an effort to involve a broader and more diverse network of partners in watershed-based integrated resource management in the Tulare Basin.
- The WC reviewed three projects that will be submitted by the Southern Sierra IRWM for IRWM Round 2 implementation grant funding. Two projects involve meadow restoration on US Forest Service lands that will slow run off and increase groundwater recharge in the upper watershed.
Sixth Quarter TBWI/DOC Report: August 19, 2012 - November 18, 2012
Activities and accomplishments completed in Quarter 6 by TBWI and partners:
- In anticipation of the next round of IRWMP implementation grants (currently due March 2013), the TBWI stepped up project integration with several of the IRWMs including Kings Basin, Kern, Poso and Kaweah Basin.
- The Assistant WC reviewed the climate change portions of the existing IRWM plans to check for alignment to each other (when relevant) and conformity with DWR guidelines and recommendations
- The TBWI convened a second Southwest Tulare County Roundtable on September 5, 2012 in Alpaugh. The event included community leaders in Alpaugh, Allensworth, and Richgrove, as well as other interested parties (nonprofits and agency representatives), who share a commitment to improving quality of life in the disadvantaged communities of the southwest Tulare County.
- TBWI prepared a funding application ($885,100) to the Bureau of Reclamation CVP Conservation Program (CVPCP) to acquire approximately 270 acres of prime endangered species habitat for permanent protection. The lands will become part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
- The TBWI was appointed to a Valley-wide group organized by Sustainable Conservation to explore conservation opportunities in the arena of water and agriculture.
Fifth Quarter TBWI/DOC Report: May 19, 2012 - August 18, 2012
Activities and accomplishments completed in Quarter 5 by TBWI and partners:
- TBWI convened a successful Southwest Tulare County Roundtable on July 18, 2012 with the communities of Allensworth, Alpaugh and Richgrove to introduce concepts on developing multi-benefit water projects.
- TBWI participated in the Kings Basin IRWM plan update and assisted with the integration of landscape level conservation with water management strategies.
- The Southern Sierra RWMG received notification from DWR that its planning grant application, under Proposition 84 for development of their IRWMP, was recommended for partial funding.
- TBWI provided leadership to the TB IRWMG Climate Change Work Group and will lead that Work Group in developing a Tulare Basin-wide approach to climate change for use in project design by each of the seven IRWMs.
- The TBWI team met with the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to discuss starting the process of Safe Harbors at the local level rather than a taking a programmatic approach. TBWI subsequently identified two specific project areas for this purpose.
Fourth Quarter/Year End TBWI/DOC Report - February 19 - May 18, 2012; May 18, 2011 - May 18, 2012
The four priorities for this year were:
Benefits to the Watershed Accrued during the Annual Reporting period by TBWI and partners:
- Southern Sierra IRWM planning grant application submission.
- Development and integration of conservation, habitat and climate change project elements into the 7 Tulare Basin IRWMP/Regional Water Management Groups (RWMG) planning/implementation grant applications to DWR.
- Deer Creek Watershed and Southwestern Tulare County Disadvantaged Communities Integrated Resource Management
- Communication and Outreach implementation, serving as a catalyst for the integration of landscape level conservation with water management strategies to provide water supply reliability for agriculture, communities and habitat in the Tulare Basin.
Benefits to the Watershed Accrued during the Annual Reporting period by TBWI and partners:
- Improving the health of the upper watershed
- New Tulare Basin multi-benefit projects
- DAC water projects
- Modeling collaborative wetland restoration projects
- Raising awareness about IRM and its benefits in the Tulare Basin
- Increasing capacity for the TBWI
- Expanding TBWI network of partners for the TBWI.
- Collaborating for a healthy upper watershed
- Convening for climate change planning
- Increasing watershed awareness
- Developing Safe Harbor agreements
Third Quarter TBWI/DOC Report - November 19 - February 18, 2012
Activities and accomplishments completed in Quarter 3 by TBWI and partners:
- TBWP updated their conservation strategies and projects for use by the WC and for potential High Speed Rail mitigation in the Central Valley.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have initiated their Foothill Legacy Program with one of their two high priority areas in the Tulare Basin.
- Communication and Outreach – Significant activities are underway with the development of the TBWI website as the center piece.
Second Quarter DOC Report- August 23 - November 18, 2011
Activities and accomplishments completed in Quarter 2 by TBWI and partners
- Water was acquired for the Gragnani WRP lands (NRCS easement program) in the northwest Tulare Basin. A major goal of the watershed program is restoring vital wetlands. This WRP easement had been identified as a high priority by waterfowl interests and NRCS.
- Large land acquisition by The Nature Conservancy in Kern County enables a corridor from the Tehachapi Mountains into the Southern Sierra.
- Establishment of the Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (lands added to the Kern NWR).
First Quarter DOC Report - May 23 - August 23, 2011
Activities and accomplishments completed in first quarter:
- The majority of the Watershed Coordinator’s time was spent reaching out to the many partners, stakeholders, community leaders, agencies and organizations to provide an introduction to the Watershed Initiative and to ascertain levels of involvement or interest in watershed-based activities.
- The Coordinator attended meetings of six of the seven Tulare Basin Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) groups, spoke with the project manager for the seventh, and attended the monthly meetings of the Tulare Basin IRWM Coordination Group. The Coordinator followed up with key IRWM representatives on details on specific issues and projects.
- The Coordinator met with many of the organizations to discuss goals and objectives of the watershed initiatives and determine opportunities for collaboration.
- The Coordinator met with several disadvantaged communities -- most notably Stratford -- to discuss integration of water supply/waste water disposal needs with surrounding IRWM groups. Stratford is currently not included in an IRWM planning area.