As California continues to shift to a warmer and more frequently burned landscape, functional watersheds will become critical to our future water resources. Mountain meadow health has been prioritized in the Sierra Nevada due to their connection to overall water quality and quantity in headwater systems. Improving the functionality of areas like English Meadow allow more water and sediment to remain within the floodplain and aquifer, rather than being carried downstream during peak flow periods in the spring.
NID recently finished working with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy on a project to improve the natural ability of English Meadow to store and release water in a more self-sustaining manner. Working with our partners, NID assessed existing conditions associated with peak and annual streamflow, water temperature, groundwater level, flora and fauna, forest condition, and archaeology.
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy provided a Watershed Improvement Grant to facilitate the development of a Forest Management Plan to guide fire fuels reduction, forest thinning and tree removal from the meadow and its immediate watershed. After planning and environmental compliance are completed, a restoration project to reduce forest density and to reconnect the Middle Yuba River to its floodplain in English Meadow will promote the accumulation of snow and rewetting of the floodplain, bringing water supply benefits and, as a healthy wet meadow, it will provide better habitat for many species of plants and animals.