Meadow Stewards Group formed for Hope Valley Restoration Project


On May 6th a large group of passionate citizens from both California and Nevada came out to Hope Valley Meadow for a volunteer orientation.  American Rivers and local partners are leading an effort to rehabilitate this iconic meadow that lies in a high Sierra watershed that feeds both states.  The Alpine Watershed Group and Friends of Hope Valley helped recruit and coordinate this Meadow Stewards group, and were looking for volunteers interested in helping with water quality monitoring, streamflow monitoring, and photo monitoring in Hope Valley. 

As a result of numerous historical land uses such as logging, grazing, and mining, as well as ongoing recreational impacts, the stream channel in large portions of the meadow is incised and downcutting.  This has caused the channel to act as a drain, reducing the amount of water that is able to spread out and saturate the meadow during higher flow events.  As a result, there has been a decrease in groundwater storage, riparian canopy cover, and wet meadow vegetation. In addition, streambanks are unstable which has increased erosion and turbidity in the water, and has reduced the overall quality of aquatic habitat for meadow fish and wildlife.

The day turned out to be a great success – we had approximately 25 people of all ages show up, and we spent a few beautiful hours walking along the West Fork Carson River talking about the project, discussing specific issues the group saw in the meadow along the way, and what they could potentially be involved in. Interest was high, and everyone signed up for future activities.  In fact, folks were so ready to get their hands dirty that we scheduled our first volunteer action day for June 2nd, where we’ll be teaching the group how to measure and monitor streamflow and also install the last of our streamflow monitoring infrastructure.

This effort is a perfect progression and application of some previous work American Rivers recently completed.  Earlier this year, with help from numerous partners, we completed a handbook [PDF] describing and guiding the use of citizen volunteers for meadow assessment, monitoring, and restoration.  This handbook can be used and applied throughout the Sierra and any other mountainous region with high elevation meadows.

If you would like to learn more about the project visit our Hope Valley Restoration page, and if you are interested in volunteering in the field, please contact the Alpine Watershed Group or Friends of Hope Valley to learn more:  [email protected] or [email protected]