Wolf Creek Community Alliance
WCCA Programs and Projects
PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO VOLUNTEER FOR ANY OF THESE PROGRAMS, OR ARE AWARE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES THAT WOULD BENEFIT THEM.
Outreach and Education
Through our booths at local fairs and farmers' markets, and our public meetings on watershed health and functionality, we are able to reach many community members with information about the Wolf Creek watershed. We produce brochures, maps, display materials, and handouts that describe our projects and goals, and we maintain an informative website. We have established relationships with local and regional watershed groups, California State Parks, City of Grass Valley, Nevada Irrigation District, Nevada County Resource Conservation District, representatives of local indigenous tribes, Nevada County Fire Safe Council, and with teachers at local schools whose students are learning about local area ecology and developing watershed awareness. WCCA is a member of the Sierra Nevada Alliance.
Creek Monitoring and Stewardship
The Wolf Creek watershed is composed of interacting landscapes and creek systems that carry a variety of pollutants, including harmful bacteria, pesticide degradation products, and heavy metals. WCCA has a robust program (launched in 2005 with a grant from the Sierra Nevada Alliance) for regularly monitoring the physical and chemical conditions of Wolf Creek at selected sites in order to help us identify areas of concern for various pollutants and describe the watershed conditions which affect the health of the aquatic ecosystem. WCCA is allied with Sierra Streams Institute (SSI) and the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), who maintain similar water quality monitoring programs. Representatives of the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) oversee all of our monitoring quality assurance plans. The Nevada Irrigation District (NID) provides laboratory and storage facilities for the monitoring program.
In addition, our monitors walk a section of the Creek at their assigned sites twice yearly to observe and record biological and other indicators of creek and riparian area health, such as overhead canopy, nearby land use, erosion, and plant types. By monitoring both aquatic and terrestrial conditions at different locations we can learn more about the possible sources of contamination, and identify and prioritize viable restoration, preservation and education projects.
Low Impact Development, Creek-friendly Landscaping
WCCA volunteers attend City and County Planning Commission meetings in order to participate in discussions of construction projects affecting Wolf Creek. By advocating for enforcement of regulatory solutions, we assist City and County officials in planning for low impact development including erosion and sediment control, Creek setbacks and easements, riparian buffer zones, wetlands protection, storm water catchment, permeable surfaces, as well as wildlife habitat and trails.
WCCA volunteers promote best management practices in home and business landscaping, and demonstrate how these practices contribute to the health of the Creek. We have begun work on an Erosion and Sediment Control Field Guide for contractors working in Nevada County.
WCCA was the driving force that led to adoption of Grass Valley's first riparian set-back regulations, and the adoption by Grass Valley of the Wolf Creek Parkway plan for a non-motorized trail along portions of Wolf Creek.
Many of the WCCA volunteers involved in the creek monitoring and stewardship program are also involved with restoration projects. Their regular presence at specific sites along the creek helps to inform our proposals for restoration projects, and to identify land-use practices that negatively impact Wolf Creek. We have a long list of viable restoration projects for which we are seeking funding and partnerships with other environmental groups. We participate with Nevada County Fire Safe Council and other local environmental groups in removing Scotch Broom, and with SYRCL for annual river and stream clean up events.
We are collaborating with California State Parks Sierra District on plans to restore a meadow and creek on public land.
Watershed Assessment and Planning
We are seeking funding and partnerships for a formal assessment of conditions throughout the Wolf Creek watershed, to look at land use, land cover, and hydrology from historical and current perspectives (including abandoned mine sites and the proposed re-opening of the Idaho-Maryland Mine) in order to prioritize the focus of our preservation and restoration efforts throughout the watershed. The Wolf Creek watershed was heavily mined during the gold rush era; there are 337 known abandoned sites in the watershed plus tailings piles, placer diggings, acid mine drainage, and contaminated factory sites. We have established a working group with SSI to begin work on a watershed assessment for Wolf Creek. The Sierra Fund (TSF) is a close ally regarding the toxic legacy of historic mining and abandoned mines in our watershed.
We have performed extensive GIS mapping of the Wolf Creek watershed as part of our effort to understand the scope of the hazardous waste legacy left to us by historic gold mining and industry in the watershed and how this waste affects water quality and the ecological health of Wolf Creek.
For more information about watershed assessments, follow these links:
Abandoned Mine Assessment and Reclamation
This project seeks to understand the scope of the hazardous waste legacy left to us by historic gold mining in the Wolf Creek Watershed and how this waste affects water quality and the ecological health of the creek. With 74 known abandoned mines within the city limits of Grass Valley, and 337 known sites in the Wolf Creek Watershed, plus tailing piles, placer diggings, acid mine drainage, and maybe even hydraulic mining sites, we have a lot of material to work with!
Idaho-Maryland Mine Project
This group looks into how the re-opening of the Idaho Maryland mine would affect Wolf Creek, its tributaries, and the watershed.
Wolf Creek Parkway
Building a trail alongside the creek while restoring it at the same time it can provide enormous benefits to the community: it is a win-win proposition for which we can gain widespread community support.