Monitoring for Groundwater and Surface Water in the Haskell Peak Meadows Project

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Kyle McNeil, Ecohydrologist for the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), Wrenn Cleary, SYRCL’s AmeriCorps Monitoring Coordinator, and Jessica Nguyen were recently out monitoring for groundwater and surface water at Freeman and West Church Meadows in the Haskell Peak Meadows project in the upper North Yuba headwaters area. 

Currently, SYRCL, in partnership with the Tahoe National Forest, is wrapping up the planning phase and moving toward restoration implementation on 229 acres of meadow habitat within five high priority meadows in the North Yuba Watershed: Haskell Headwaters Fen, Chapman Saddle Meadow, West Church Meadow, Freeman Meadow, and Bear trap Meadow. 

These sub-alpine environments support headwater streams and contain highly valuable meadow and fen habitats; thus, it is especially important to promote resiliency of these environments with restoration actions.  

The objective of our restoration efforts in these five meadows is to reconnect stream channels with their floodplain which will slow surface water flows and promote water storage. Our restoration efforts will support the following ecosystem benefits: 

  1. increased groundwater recharge, 
  1. increased stream flows later into the summer, 
  1. increased capacity for long-term carbon storage and 
  1. increased habitat for aquatic species. 

SYRCL and the TNF are in the final stages of the planning phase of this project and are looking forward to implementation in late summer of 2023. The planning phase included the development of watershed assessments and restoration designs, permitting, and baseline monitoring. Baseline monitoring as part of a long-term monitoring plan is an important part of the greater restoration project because it will allow SYRCL and partners to document the effects of restoration actions based on reliable data. 

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