Implementing On-Farm Water Conservation Projects in the Navarro to Address Critical Low Flows

The Navarro River watershed, which encompasses approximately 210,000 acres, is sparsely populated with rural communities, and hosts annual runs of endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout. Changes in water availability due to climate change, historic logging operations, and expanded agricultural operations have shortened the season of surface flow in streams. To provide relief from critically low summer base flows and water shortages in the Navarro River watershed, the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD) identified sites where significant water savings could be realized by installing or upgrading equipment on local farms, specifically:

  • Installing a 39,000-gallon rainwater storage tank on a small vegetable market garden/farm
  • Upgrading a failing irrigation system and retrofitting sprinkler heads on 13 acres of organic apple orchard
  • Installing a 63,000 gallon off stream water storage tank on a small vegetable market garden/farm
  • Conducting a series of workshops and tours to highlight agricultural producer best management practices

The projects collectively conserve approximately 7 acre-feet of water per year in the Navarro River and help maintain flow connectivity in Mill Creek, tributary to the Navarro River, a high priority Coho Salmon stream.

This project was made possible by Prop 84 funding through the Department of Water Resources. The grant was administered in partnership through the County of Humboldt. Natural Resources Conservation Resource (NRCS) provided technical support and matching funds through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).