Indian Valley Meadow Restoration project

This fall, to reduce the water footprint of their bottling plant east of San Francisco, Coca-Cola is teaming up with American Rivers, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the US Forest Service and others to restore the Indian Valley meadow on the Sierra Crest, in the headwaters of the Mokelumne River.  The Mokelumne River flows from Indian Valley meadow at 8,000 feet elevation and supplies clean water to people, fish and wildlife on its course to the bay.  Along the way, the river supports much of Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, including the region’s Coca-Cola bottling plant.

Restoration in Indian Valley will repair one mile of eroded stream channel and replenish 80 million gallons of groundwater to the meadow.   Each year this increased groundwater will slowly seep from the meadow, keeping the stream flowing longer and the water cooler.  Construction began last week and will be complete by the middle of October.  Beginning next spring, we expect the dry sagebrush to begin to die out and be replaced by wet meadow plants as the water table rises.  We will be monitoring the benefits closely, and I will report back.

I am especially excited about Indian Valley, because of the impact of the partners involved:

  • Over 50% of California’s water flows from US Forest Service lands, and in California, the agency’s top priority is ecological restoration
  • Coca-Cola’s conservation leadership sets a high bar, and their actions provide real gains for rivers
  • The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is the top foundation funding meadow restoration efforts, and has a long successful record working with American Rivers.

American Rivers is leading the project on the ground and managing the numerous partners involved:  Feather River Coordinated Resource Management is constructing the restoration; the Alpine Watershed Group is spearheading volunteer monitoring;  the Foothill Conservancy will reach out to ranchers and other meadow landowners in the watershed who may be interested in following in these footsteps; and the Institute for Bird Populations will continue long-term monitoring of migratory birds that rely on Indian Valley.

By 2020, Coca-Cola plans to return to nature and to communities an amount of water equal to what is used to produce their products– supply chain and all.  This is a huge pledge, as worldwide, we consume 1.5 billion servings of Coca-Cola products every day, and in every one, the first ingredient is water.

We are excited to be a partner in this great restoration project. Check out this album of photos, and look for more photos and updates coming soon!