Sierra Valley Meadow Assessment

Sierra Valley is a special place and those who live here or visit would most likely agree. To most people; Sierra Valley looks the same as it did decades ago; but a closer look may reveal that?s not the case. The floor of this high mountain valley is roughly 120; 000 acres; with thousands of its acres being pristine irrigated meadows and home to an abundance of wildlife and amphibians. The meadows may be the most important part of the valley?s ecosystem; though many believe they are in trouble and not as healthy as they may look.
Some of the problems Sierra Valley meadows have include the following:
Our climate has changed -- there is less water.
In some parts of Sierra Valley; water that has historically been used to irrigate meadows is now being used to grow alfalfa.
Native grasses that once flourished have all but disappeared in some parts of the valley.
Meadows have been harvested for hay since the late 1800s without rest or much care for the soil.
Over-grazing meadows and riparian areas has led to some deterioration of the meadows.
Invasive species such as tall whitetop; quackgrass and foxtail are taking over native grasses and need to be controlled.
Hay production on meadows in the northeast part of the valley is way down from traditional yields.
Without functioning meadows; our watershed and the entire ecosystem is at risk in Sierra Valley.

Currently there are several groups and organizations studying mountain meadows in the Sierra Nevada mountain range with the goal of evaluating the health of the meadows. Additionally; these groups are making recommendations for meadow restoration. Sierra Valley RCD is another entity that is very concerned about meadow restoration. Sierra Valley RCD board members believe Sierra Valley has a very unique meadow ecosystem and that studies done elsewhere in the Sierra Nevada mountain range may or may not apply to our individual area. With that in mind; Sierra Valley RCD would like a study done based solely on the meadows in Sierra Valley. Over the years there have been studies done on meadows in our watershed; but many of those studies were done nearly 50 years ago. It is crucial that stakeholders in Sierra Valley have an up-to-date; scientific analysis of the meadows conducted as soon as possible so that stakeholders can form a long-term plan based on research so that the stewards of these meadows can have a better understanding of how to care for and manage them in a sustainable manner; on both private and public land. The Sierra Valley RCD believes there are capable people who know Sierra Valley and have conducted studies in Sierra Valley; such as UC Cooperative Extension and University Nevada; Reno. The above-mentioned research facilities would be contacted as potential participants in conducting a meadow assessment study.
Sponsoring Agency
Sierra Valley Resource Conservation District
Primary Contact
Rick Roberti
Contact Email
Project Number
Matching Funds
None listed
Total Cost
DAC Benefit
Supplemental Information
The objective of this project is for the Sierra Valley RCD and Sierra Valley landowners is to learn how to better manage meadows in the Valley with best management practices including (but not limited to): Pasture management, Irrigation strategies, Invasive weed and grass control, Fertilization, Aeration of soil, No-till seed drilling, Soil testing, Grass management, Forage testing, Water analysis, Wildlife habitat management, Fencing, Erosion control, and Wetland enhancement
DWR Resource Management Strategies
Agricultural land stewardship, Agricultural Water Use Efficiency, Conjunctive management, Conveyance - regional/local, Economic incentives, Ecosystem restoration, Flood management, Groundwater remediation/aquifer remediation, Land use planning and management, Matching water quality to water use, Outreach and engagement, Pollution prevention, Recharge area protection, Sediment management, Surface storage - regional/local, Wastewater/NPDES, Water and culture, Water transfers, Water-dependent recreation, Watershed management
Project Objectives
Address economic challenges of municipal service providers to serve customers, Address water resources and wastewater needs of DACs and Native Americans, Build communication and collaboration among water resources stakeholders, Coordinate management of recharge areas and protect groundwater, Effectively address climate change adaptation and/or mitigation in water resources management, Enhance public awareness and understanding of water management issues and needs, Improve coordination of land use and water resources planning, Improve efficiency and reliability of water supply and infrastructure, Maximize agricultural, environmental, and municipal water use efficiency, Protect, restore, and enhance the quality of surface and groundwater resources, Restore natural hydrologic functions, Work with counties/communities/groups to maintain capacity for water-related projects, Work with DWR to develop strategies and actions for the operation of SWP facilities
Project Status
Potential Benefits
Assist the region in adapting to effects of climate change, Disadvantaged Communities, Drought Preparedness, Generation or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. green technology)
Project Owner

To the owner of Sierra Valley Meadow Assessment

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