Streams are one of the most important natural resources in Placer County. They area part of our natural heritage, convey water, provide habitat for salmon and steelhead, serve as critical wildlife corridors, and provide many opportunities for recreation. Hidden Falls Regional Park traversing Coon Creek, the Truckee River and the American River are among the county’s most attractive natural resources and most used recreational areas.
Placer County Watersheds
Placer County is made up of fourteen different major watersheds. Each watershed drains to the stream or river that gives the watershed its name: Auburn Ravine, Coon Creek, Dry Creek, American River, Bear River, Truckee River, Pleasant Grove, Curry Creek, and others. Each is as diverse as the communities that occupy them.
Watershed-based planning provides the framework to coordinate environmental planning in Placer County. Watershed planning also provides a unique opportunity for local government cooperation in that watersheds exist irrespective of city and county boundaries. Placer County plans to develop a Watershed Management Plan for each of its drainage basins. (Primary Watersheds map)
What is a Watershed Management Plan?
A watershed management plan is a document that guides efforts to control pollution, manage stormwater, and protect and improve local streams and the uplands that surround them. A watershed management plan is also the written expression of the collaborative agreement among government, other local stakeholders, and citizens that is developed during the planning process.
Placer County has been involved in the development of a number of comprehensive watershed management plans. These watershed plans guide the County and other stakeholders in protecting, managing, and improving environmental resources and habitat.
Along with government, local citizens and stakeholders are active participants in watershed planning. Prior to, during, and following the development of each watershed plan, public meetings are held to share information with citizens and to ask for public input and comments.
Local stakeholders help establish priorities for each watershed. Watershed-specific steering committees, whose members represent environmental interests, the business and development communities, civic groups, and watershed residents, as well as local government, review data about their watershed, guide the creation of the watershed plan, and review the document as it develops.
Interested citizens and stakeholder groups can also participate in implementation of identified plan priorities in each watershed plan, turning the plans into positive action for the benefit of our local water resources.
Watershed Restoration Projects
Watershed planning and restoration includes all of the activities related to preserving, protecting and restoring the streams, wetlands, forests and other natural resources within a watershed.
The Natural Resources Division is managing a number of grants that are affiliated with the implementation of the Placer Legacy Program and watershed restoration projects. The majority of the funding applies to watershed-based planning efforts associated with CALFED Bay-Delta Program (to restore the ecological health and improve water management for beneficial uses in the Bay-Delta System) or Proposition 204 (The Safe, Clean Water, Supply Act of 1996).
Placer County has two Greenway plans under development, one in the Dry Creek watershed in south Placer County, the second along the Truckee River in the Sierras. Greenways are corridors of linear open space established for wildlife habitat and open space conservation and/or recreation.
Greenways may be held on public land, voluntarily retained on private land or conserved through public-private partnerships.
The plans signal the start of a multi-year effort to create new public recreational opportunities, increase the mobility of cyclists, walkers, and joggers, and enrich the lives of Placer’s residents and visitors.
Creek Crossing Signage
Placer County is lucky to have a number of healthy streams and rivers. Unfortunately, many of these waterways remain nameless to most people. The Creek Crossing Signage Project is an effort to identify area streams and rivers and their unique features.
By knowing the names of the streams we drive across everyday in our communities, citizens of, and visitors to, Placer County will gain a greater sense of stewardship for these special features of our landscape.
Blue-and-white metal signs have been placed throughout western Placer County. A similar effort is currently underway in the east County.