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WATERMAN CREEK LOG DAM REMOVAL PROJECT In 2008, San Mateo Co. Farm Bureau (Farm Bureau) was approached by RedTree Properties, a timberland property owner in the Redwood forested area in San Mateo County to work with them to remove a 100 year old, 12 foot high Log Dam in Waterman Creek, a tributary to Pescadero Creek in San Mateo County. This dam has been a complete barrier to steelhead migration for a century. Removal or reduction of this dam would provide access to over a 1 ½ miles of spawning habitat to this threatened fish. Stream restoration projects are typically expensive and difficult to permit. RedTree Property and their timber manager (active participants in the Pescadero/Butano Agricultural Watershed Working Group) asked Farm Bureau to help. . Waterman Dam prior to Phase One This project proposed a staged reduction of dam height over a two to three year period. A crew of three journeymen loggers, using chainsaws with carbon chains cut through the 24” diameter logs which comprise the dam. A choker cable is attached to the logs which are slid up to the landing area near a D-7 which is parked outside of the riparian area. It is expected that the stream will discharge some of the upstream bed load into the sediment “starved” bedrock pools below. This “low tech” construction approach to stream restoration is novel to San Mateo County. The suggested project management and administration is also a change to the standard protocol. This project is administered and managed by the Farm Bureau through our Conservation and Water Quality Program. The construction and in-field construction management is done by the timber manager and operators working with RedTree Properties. This proposal is also attractive because the cost of this dam removal, using these methods, is extremely cost effective. After discussion with the Calif Dept of Fish and Game and NOAA Fisheries, a grant proposal was written by Farm Bureau which was accepted and funded by American Rivers, a non profit corporation partner of the NOAA Restoration Center. The local Native Sons of the Golden West Parlor (Pebble Beach #230) from Pescadero joined as a partner, offering a cash “match” from their “steelhead fund” to help with up-front permit costs. Staff members from several agencies cooperated in this project and are monitoring the site as the dam is reduced in height and the upstream trapped sediment is “metering out”. All of the necessary permits were acquired and Phase One of the project commenced in October 2008. During this phase, the top 4.5’ of the dam was removed. Waterman Dam after Phase One. Phase Two occurred in October 2009 (on schedule) and reduced the height of the dam another 3 ½ feet. The project will be monitored over the Winter and Spring of 2010. A final phase may occur in October 2010 if warranted. This collaboration of Farm Bureau, landowner and State and Federal Agencies has been a great success. It has achieved the goals of the landowner (active forest management/timber harvest together with a land and water conservation ethic) while assisting State and Federal Agencies recover steelhead populations on the San Mateo Co. Coast. This “co-management” success can be used as a model for future projects. Special thanks to RedTree Properties, Matt Bissell Forestry, Amrak Logging, NOAA Restoration Center, Calif Dept of Fish and Game, Calif Regional Water Quality Control Bd (SF Bay Region), NSGW #230 and American Rivers.
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