Photo courtesy of Barbara Rich

Spring 2015
In This Issue

From the Executive Director


  This year has been busy! Our organization has finalized our name change to SACRAMENTO RIVER FORUM. All legal documents are filed and it's now our name! We retain our mission and with this simplified, and easier to say name, we emphasize our focus on working with the diverse interests on our river to seek solutions to complex issues and needs.

  The Forum staff has been on the road meeting with key stakeholders on many initiatives including attending multiple meetings regarding the analysis of long-term alternatives for the protection and function of the fish screens of the M&T/Llano Seco Refuge Pumping Plant, the Kopta Slough/Woodson Bridge stretch of the river, outreach and information on our Safe Harbor Program and much work on the Habitat Mapping/Economic Analysis Project - you can read more on one part to this project in this newsletter edition.

  As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome.


Jane Dolan 

Executive Director

August 27 (Williams)
October 29 (Corning)
December 10 (Williams)

Some of the PARC meeting attendees
from the last meeting.

Landowner Survey


  There are many aspects to the larger project called Habitat Mapping/Economic Analysis, which has been reported in prior newsletters. The Forum is conducting a mail survey of agricultural landowners within one mile of the river, to update and inform our ongoing effort to understand attitudes about restoration and agriculture.  We thank landowners for returning their surveys and for their thoughtful and confidential responses.         This survey is part of the broader effort of our Habitat Mapping and Economic Analysis Project aimed at reporting the landscape change on the upper Sacramento River corridor resulting from habitat restoration and to estimate the associated economic change.  We are about one year into the  two plus years of work. Our first technical report, an analysis of Department of Fish and Wildlife angler surveys by our CSU, Chico partners, will soon be posted on our website.  We plan to release additional technical reports every few months form now through January.  

 Please check here for more information:

New Advisory Board Members

 In addition to our new board member, we have two new advisory board members.  Jennifer Mata, Field Manager of BLM Redding Field Office, has joined the board.  She holds a B.S. in rangeland management and has a strong background in natural resource management and planning. 

  Paul Zedonis, is the Manager of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Environmental and Natural Resources Division for their Northern California Area Office.  He has a B.S. in biology and a M.S. in fisheries management and works out of the Bureau office at Shasta Dam.

  We welcome our two new advisory members and thank them for their commitment of time and energy to the Forum Advisory Board.  We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our advisory board members for their contributions.  Their work with the Forum Board of Directors has allowed a healthy and vital exchange of ideas, information and opportunities for landowners and agencies to get to know each other.  This partnership is invaluable to our work.

The Forum's CSU, Chico partners: Jason Schwenkler, Director Geographical Information Center; Ryan Miller, Lead Research Assistant, Geographical Information Center; Dr. Anita Chaudhry, CSU, Chico Associate Professor, Economics; Dr. Jake Brimlow, CSU Chico Assistant Professor, Agriculture; and Dr. Pete Tsournos, CSU Chico Professor, Economics. 

Challenges with multi-benefit projects


   At the March 2015 meeting of the Projects and Resources Committee (PARC) meeting, a panel representing three major projects along the Sacramento River gave interesting presentations and answered questions. The projects all have received much study and widespread public support. The panel gave an overview of each project with the purpose of addressing the following question: 


If multi-benefit projects offer such incredible benefits, why is it so challenging to bring them to implementation?


  The definition of a multi-benefit project varies among different organizations, but they essentially provide flood risk reduction while also benefitting the ecosystem, water quality, recreation and other aspects of the river system.  The Forum invited speakers to the PARC meeting that are involved with three multi-benefit projects:

  • Hamilton City Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project
  • Kopta Slough Flood Damage Reduction and Habitat Restoration Project 
  • Riparian Sanctuary/PCGID Fish Screen

   We'd like to thank Mark Cowan (USACE), Jose Puente (Hamilton City CSD and RD 2140), Aric Lester (DWR), Supervisor Burt Bundy (Tehama County), Michael Rogner (River Partners) and John Garner (Princeton-Codora-Glenn Irrigation District) for taking time to provide their perspectives on the challenges faced by multi-benefit projects.


  The identified challenges are:

  • The projects take a long time; twenty years is not unusual.
  • Flood projects are a challenge to fund through the federal government, especially for small communities with few economic resources.
  • The multi-benefit policy of the USACE is relatively new, with few projects having successfully utilized it.
  • Multi-benefit projects require a breadth of technical expertise.
  • Once federal funding is in place, implementing these projects needs to proceed expeditiously.
  • The potential and analysis of hydraulic change associated with multi-benefit projects can be challenging, especially if agencies look for assumption of liability from project proponents.
  • Multiple benefits requires the coordination of multiple agencies with different missions. With the distinct process and regulations of each agency, working together can be a challenge.
  • Using a multi-benefit project for mitigation can produce challenges from the extended time frame for the projects and the need to match mitigation timing to impact timing. 
   Any of these challenges on its own can derail or delay a project.  Combine them and it becomes clear why twenty years can typify the lifespan of a multi-benefit project.  The Forum's PARC will discuss these challenges further at its next meeting, with a brainstorming session devoted to exploring the challenges and their potential solutions.  
   For more information on the presentations to the PARC, you can access the March meeting notes and PowerPoints here: 

New Forum Board Member


  Supervisor Barbara LeVake has joined the Forum Board as the Sutter County public interest member, a vacancy created by former supervisor James Gallagher's election to the State Assembly.  Supervisor LeVake brings a wealth of experience, having served on the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency, Yuba-Sutter Farm Bureau, Western Growers Association and CA Women for Agriculture.  She has also served as the Executive Director of the Sacramento Valley Landowners Association, is a former member of the State Reclamation Board (now called the Central Valley Flood Protection Board) and as Sutter County Supervisor (1989 to 1992).  We are excited to have Supervisor LeVake's experience and knowledge on the Forum Board. 

Thank you for connecting with the Forum.  In our next issue, we will update you on more of our projects and programs.