Success Stories - Cow Creek Partnerships - Bar Eleven Ranch
Cow Creek Partnerships - Bar Eleven Ranch, Millville
This story is courtesy of the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition. To learn more visit www.carangeland.org.
Several deep gullies in areas near Clover Creek needed to be repaired to prevent further erosion and protect water quality.
Bar Eleven Ranch encompasses more than 2,000 picturesque acres of grazeable oak woodlands and irrigated pasture in the Cow Creek Watershed in Shasta County. Clover Creek, a tributary to Cow Creek, runs through the middle of the ranch and provides a source for irrigation water.
Good stewardship is a core value at the Bar Eleven, a family-run cow-calf operation, and ranch owner Tim DeAtley is both observant and tireless in his efforts to improve the land.
In 2006, the Bar Eleven property had several natural resource concerns, including areas suffering from sheet and rill erosion, deep gullies, and severe streambank erosion along Clover Creek. DeAtley wanted to address these problems and also wanted to improve other aspects of the ranch. His conservation goals included fencing to keep cattle out of the riparian areas and improve grazing management, establishing new stock water facilities, improving water use efficiency and water quality.
Knowing that tackling all of these projects alone would be difficult, DeAtley turned to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for assistance. He had worked with NRCS before, getting conservation planning and cost-share assistance for projects on another property near Fall River Mills and was pleased with the results.
DeAtley’s conservation plan provided the road map for implementation of practices to address natural resource concerns.
NRCS conducted a resource inventory and worked with DeAtley to develop a conservation plan for the entire property. DeAtley also applied for cost-share assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to implement his plan.
To address serious erosion and sloughing of the streambank along Clover Creek, 880 feet of the streambank was reshaped and armored with large rocks harvested from other areas of the ranch. Rock stream barbs were installed to buttress the structure and divert water away from the streambank. An erosion control blanket was installed above the rock and perennial grasses planted to stabilize the slope and minimize sedimentation. Deep gullies were also eliminated using rock and fill.
The completed stream restoration project will help to prevent the loss of land, maintain channel capacity, reduce sedimentation, and improve habitat for fish and other wildlife. It was a complex job that required engineering expertise and heavy equipment. EQIP provided 50 percent of the cost for the project. Another 40 percent of the cost was provided by Western Shasta Resource Conservation District through a grant from the Bay Delta Ecosystem Restoration Program. DeAtley said that the cost-sharing made the project affordable.
Other practices that DeAtley has implemented with EQIP cost-sharing include brush clearing, nutrient management, pre-scribed grazing, riparian fencing, and erosion control in heavy use areas.
A tailwater recovery system was installed, consisting of an impoundment pond, pipelines, and pumping equipment. The system will store and transport irrigation water for reuse, saving water and improving water quality.
"The technical and cost-share assistance has been critical," said DeAtley. "I couldn’t have implemented all of these measures in such a short time on my own."
DeAtley serves as a director of the Cow Creek Watershed Management Group, an organization comprised of private citizens who own land or reside within the watershed and volunteer their time to improve water quality and other resource conditions there. Ongoing conservation work at the Bar Eleven is in harmony with the group’s goal of maintaining and enhancing the water quality, fisheries, and wildlife of the watershed.
"Most ranchers are good land stewards," said DeAtley. "It just makes good business sense. I think that many city folks would be very surprised to find out how much ranchers really do to care for the land."
DeAtley has more practices planned, and these will be implemented soon, including a roof runoff structure to reduce pollution and minimize erosion, a solar pump and watering facility for cattle, and pasture and hay planting with long-term perennial species. Also, when implemented, a planned fish passage at the diversion dam on Clover Creek, will open up an additional 10 miles of spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead.
"We love this land and know it better than anyone else," said DeAtley. "We want to manage it in a way that will ensure its sustainability for the next generation."
The Natural Resources Conservation Service provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people
conserve, maintain, and improve our natural resources and environment.
An Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer