Coon Creek Watershed Assessment
cbec and H.T. Harvey and Associates (HTH) are performing a multi-disciplinary assessment of the Coon Creek watershed to support the development of the Placer County Conservation Plan, assess anthropogenic disturbances, and develop and prioritize restoration and conservation measures.
As part of this project, cbec and HTH are characterizing hydrologic, geomorphic, water quality and ecological conditions in the 112 square mile watershed, starting at the headwaters near Auburn and continuing past the confluence of Coon Creek with the East Side Canal near the Feather River.
Given the large size of the watershed, cbec developed a spatially nested approach to characterize representative reaches given a diversity of topographic, land use and flow management settings. Conducting the field-based fluvial audit supplemented with additional reconnaissance has provided cbec with a powerful understanding of physical processes operating at both reach and basin scales. Statistical analyses of hydrologic data coupled with hydrologic modeling will facilitate an understanding of the impacts of flow management and land development on the watershed’s hydrologic regime.
To characterize water quality conditions, particularly those vital for salmonids, cbec is performing a spatially and temporally distributed water quality monitoring effort utilizing long-term temperature monitoring, extended water quality sonde deployment and detailed laboratory sample analysis.
To assess riparian and aquatic habitat, HTH is implementing a California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) program and providing a framework for the County to monitor changes through time. In addition, HTH is conducting surveys to identify fish passage barriers and determine the distribution and abundance of salmonids through the watershed.
These diverse analyses will be leveraged to develop multiple spatial data sets and to facilitate a layered GIS-analysis to assess the degree of anthropogenic disturbance and the potential for recovery of physical processes and ecosystem health. As an outcome of this project, the cbec and HTH team will provide the County with a prioritized grouping of restoration, conservation and management actions to facilitate improved ecological and physical health of the watershed.