Modesto Rec Fest

Join us for a variety of FREE family-friendly recreation opportunities in Legion Park in and along the Tuolumne River!

Activities include:

  • Paddling
  • Bike Rides
  • Fun Runs
  • Orienteering
  • Nature Walks
  • Fishing
  • Kite Flying
  • Disc Golf
  • Community Restoration Project
  • and More!

Bring your bikes, kites, fishing poles, and/or canoes – or use ours – and join in the fun! All activities will have two options: a guided tour or training at a specific time and meeting place, as well as on-going self-guided options.  Details about each activity will be available at the registration table.

Snacks provided. Picnic lunches encouraged.

We need your help! If you would like to volunteer, please fill out this short form: https://goo.gl/forms/arMbuc0IzFQ6dkd13

Event entrance, parking, registration and general information will be located at 1200 Tioga Drive. For a parking map, please click here

CANCELLED – Tree Planting at Dos Rios Ranch

Our planting site is underwater! Due to recent storms, the tree planting at Dos Rios Ranch is cancelled. This is one of the challenges of floodplain restoration, and we appreciate your flexibility. We will host another tree planting event in March. Check our website and Facebook frequently for updates.

Join us Saturday February 23rd at our Dos Rios Ranch restoration site to plant trees along the Tuolumne River!

Bring gloves, shovels, water bottle if you have them – limited supplies will be available.

Community restoration work days such as this are a great opportunity for families to both contribute to this unique project while getting a “sneak peek” of what this property is going to look like when completed. It’s also a fun way for students and service groups to fulfill community service commitments.

Dos Rios Ranch is a spectacular property located at the confluence of the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers. Since 2006, we have been working with River Partners and habitat restoration specialists to engage community members in the restoration of this local gem. Thanks to volunteers like you, we have:

  • restored over 800 acres of this 2,100-acre property
  • collected tons of seeds and cuttings for future plantings
  • removed invasive species from the 600 acre “bowl” in the middle of the property
  • demolished old buildings to make room for more native habitat

When completed, this project will provide multiple benefits including improved outdoor recreational and educational opportunities, restored habitat for endangered fish an wildlife and improved flood control and groundwater recharge.

Location Details: The Dos Rios Ranch entrance is marked by a white fence and red gate. Signs will be posted at entrance as well as at Shiloh/Grayson and Shiloh/Paradise intersections.

Volunteers must complete a liability release form.  If you are under 18 and not accompanied by an adult please request the form in advance and bring it completed to the event.

 

So Long, Dennett Dam!

After nearly a decade of hard work by TRT staff and partners and immeasurable help from supporters, Dennett Dam was finally removed from the lower Tuolumne River in September of 2018. This defunct structure threatened the lives of swimmers, obstructed fish and wildlife passage, and rendered the area useless for recreation for any kind for over 60 years. Check out the video below for more information about the removal of the dam and how TRT is continuing to improve access to the river for local communities.

Groundwater recharge – solution for both farmers and fish

If every year were an average water year, the Tuolumne River could provide enough water to sustain a vibrant agricultural economy as well as a healthy river ecosystem. The problem is there are good years and bad years, and when a number of dry years line up we experience water shortages, often pitting economic interests against the environment.

This year we experienced the opposite, as torrential storms dumped near-record precipitation on the Tuolumne River watershed. The reservoirs filled quickly and, beginning in January, maximum allowable releases from Don Pedro Dam were required to prevent future flooding downstream.

More water in excess of flow requirements was released into the Tuolumne River than what the three water agencies operating on the Tuolumne – the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) – use in about two years.

While it’s likely there will always be a debate over how much water should flow down the river to protect fish and wildlife and maintain water quality, few would argue that there wasn’t a considerable excess of water this year.

So, what could be done to capture and store some of the excess water in wet years for future use during dry years?

The answer lies right under our feet.

Stanislaus County is blessed with excellent soils for groundwater recharge, and sits upon two large groundwater sub-basins – Modesto and Turlock, on either side of the river – with many times the storage capacity of Don Pedro Reservoir. While neither sub-basin is classified as over-drafted, there are concerns that pumping could increase as a result of higher in-stream flows required by the State Water Resources Control Board to help revive the San Francisco Bay-Delta and rivers that feed it. Over-pumping of the aquifer could reduce its reliability and possibly lead to land subsidence, threatening important infrastructure.

It would be prudent to explore potential new recharge opportunities to ensure the continued viability of groundwater pumping without causing harm to the aquifer. Such a program would help meet the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (passed in 2014) requirement that levels of pumping and recharge be in balance.

The Stanislaus and Tuolumne Rivers Groundwater Basin Association and Turlock Groundwater Basin Association have done a good job establishing Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, as required by SGMA. The next step is to create Groundwater Sustainability Plans. We are hopeful these plans will include active recharge programs during wet years, and look forward to engaging in the process.

The viability of recharge programs has already been demonstrated. For example, a 20-acre recharge basin managed by the Merced Irrigation District replenishes 25 acre-feet of groundwater per day. The State is eager to support similar projects, as funding for earthwork and infrastructure is available through the California Water Bond, which allocated $2.7 billion for water storage projects.

Another option is for the Irrigation Districts to partner with the SFPUC, which might be interested in establishing a groundwater bank similar to its water bank in Don Pedro Reservoir.

With further study and implementation of groundwater recharge, we could capture more water during wet years, improve in-stream river flows every year, and continue to support a prosperous agricultural economy during dry years.

Peter Drekmeier is Policy Director and Zarine Kakalia is a Summer Fellow with the Tuolumne River Trust.

 

This article appeared in the Modesto Bee. See the original post at http://www.modbee.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article168890667.html