In 2003, Placer County Planning secured CALFED funding to facilitate and support the development of an Ecosystem Restoration Plan (ERP) for the Pleasant Grove/Curry Creek (PG/CC) watershed to identify strategies to preserve and restore valuable natural resources that can be implemented as planned development occurs. The ERP is intended to address several important aspects of ecosystem function: water quality, sediment load, floodplain management, and habitat restoration, and provide a framework in which the factors that affect landscape ecological functions at a watershed scale in the PG/CC basin are considered in land use decisions in the watershed.
The watershed encompasses portions of the Cities of Roseville and Rocklin and is bordered by the Auburn Ravine/Coon Creek watershed to the north, and the Dry Creek watershed to the south. Curry Creek is a tributary of Pleasant Grove Creek, and both streams flow into the Pleasant Grove Canal, which empties into the Cross Canal and thence into the Sacramento River. The watershed is approximately 24 percent urbanized, with the remainder in agriculture, rural residential and natural habitat.
The CRMP process is intended to synthesize data from a variety of planning efforts into an integrated plan. The CRMP emphasizes four equally weighted aspects: Water quality, sediment load, floodplain management, and habitat restoration, while integrating recreational opportunities and water supply needs. The CRMP:
- Assessed the current status of environmental and human resources in the watersheds;
- Integrates trends in land use and development with watershed planning;
- Assessed environmental and human needs, opportunities and objectives;
- Identified potential conflicts and alternative approaches to meeting needs and resolving conflict;
- Evaluated, at a general level, the approaches to conflict resolution, with an emphasis on finding alternatives that meet long-term environmental needs while accommodating planned economic development;
- Identified and prioritized specific projects aimed at achieving measurable water quality improvement and strategies for protection and enhancement of the environment in conjunction with planned economic growth;
- Defined the projected environmental and economic benefits and costs of each proposed restoration project or strategy, and identify the parties to whom benefits will accrue;
- Developed implementation plans for the proposed projects, including an analysis of potential local and non-local funding sources;
- Developed a comprehensive monitoring program for the watershed with a focus on indicators of ecological integrity and health; and,
- Developed a schedule and general budget for implementation.
Portions of Pleasant Grove Creek support a relatively healthy riparian corridor. In some cases the creek contains a largely intact floodplain. It has varied habitat values, with large expanses of open space and urban development side by side. The Pleasant Grove watershed also contains a significant amount of high and low quality vernal pool grassland communities. As it flows through unincorporated Placer County, and the Cities of Rocklin and Roseville, accompanying vegetation is characterized as remnant riparian, riparian scrub, and landscaping. The watershed contains some of the most sought after real estate in a region experiencing intense development pressure.
In contrast, Curry Creek is a smaller stream with very little in the way of riparian habitat. In many cases, Curry Creek only exists as a denuded incised channel in an agricultural field. Its watershed is predominately agriculture, but is expected to be subject to significant changes due to general plan designations allowing for significant urban and suburban land uses. Curry Creek was included in the study area boundaries for a couple of reasons: 1) It is the most southerly portion of the Cross Canal drainage to the Sacramento River and in order to study the entire Cross Canal watershed, it needed to be included and 2), there is an opportunity to conduct a pro-active planning effort because disturbances to the watershed have been chiefly limited to agricultural land modifications.
Curry Creek has been designated for significant urban development in its upper reaches and property owners have shown a significant interest in urban development throughout the balance of the watershed. By developing objectives and strategies for implementation now, we can seek to insure that develop in the future is consistent with those objectives.
The first two chapters of the Pleasant Grove/Curry Creek ERP include an executive summary and an introduction to the Plan background, vision, goals and objectives. Chapter 3 provides a generalized assessment of the existing condition of the watershed. It addresses land use, infrastructure, population, hydrology, habitat for key resources, and potential restoration sites. The fourth chapter discusses how the likely future development scenario in the watershed will affect population, hydrology, and habitat for key resources based on anticipated changes in land use and the associated resource impacts. Chapter 5 provides an explanation of the main planning principles that were adopted in development of the subsequent ERP strategies and project contained in Chapter 6. Implementation recommendations for the ERP are the focus of Chapter 7.