Construction is wrapping up for the Salmon Creek Dairy Water Conservation Project on the Westview Jersey’s Organic Dairy operated by Richard and Marilyn Hughes in the Salmon Creek Watershed. This water conservation project will transition the dairy summertime water source from a shallow creekside well to a rain water roof-catchment pond. When all is done, the project will harvest winter rainwater caught from the roofs of five structures with sufficient capacity to store the entire summer demand for the organic dairy operation. Implementation of this project addresses the impacts of one of the largest individual water diversions on the mainstem of Salmon Creek. It prevents the extraction of approximately 1,408,000 gallons of water from the stream during the critical summer/fall dry season.
Dairies can be both significant water users and integral contributors to the agriculture-based economy and natural resources of their surrounding communities. This project further advances the RCD’s expanding water conservation program, working to provide immediate benefits to riparian systems while advancing technologies to prepare its communities for less predictable rainfall patterns in the long run.
To the fish of Salmon Creek, this project is a small step toward survival. In the summer, surface water is scarce, especially in the Salmon Creek Watershed. Typically dry summer seasons have been extending; this fall, Salmon Creek is still disconnected due to prolonged drought conditions. This project will leave approximately 7,000 gallons of water for fish in Salmon Creek each summer day.
By itself, 7,000 gallons per day will not have a large impact on streamflow, as it equates to about .01 cfs. However, the Hughes project has been designed and implemented in conjunction with multiple other water conservation projects throughout the Bodega Valley, including the 235,000-gallon Gilardi Ranch rainwater catchment project, seven residential and small-agricultural rainwater catchment projects, and seven additional rainwater projects implemented over the past year.
Our contractors on this project include Prunuske Chatham, Inc. (rain water catchment system design and specifications), RGH Consultants (rain water catchment system geotechnical investigation), and Schaefer Engineers (pond construction and rainwater catchment system installation). This project uses state funds from California Department of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Restoration Grant Program, the California State Coastal Conservancy, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the California Department of Water Resources. Special thanks to our partners at the North Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council for their support on this project!