Dr. Luke Hunt, American Rivers Director of Headwaters Conservation
The deeply-eroded channel through Indian Valley (Alpine County) was filled in 2012 using the plug and pond technique to reconnect the channel to the historic floodplain. After restoration, the previously-intermittent stream has flowed continuously, despite California's historic drought.
Stream gauges above and below the meadow show that the meadow reduces high spring flows and increases low summer flows. Gauges also show incredibly intense thunderstorms corroborated by timelapse photos and rapid rates of sedimentation. We will present flow and groundwater data, evaluate the Replenish model that Coca-Cola prepared when funding this project and discuss how Indian Valley restoration fits expectations within the California Water Action Plan.
Follow up from the Q&A after the webinar:
Q: What is the cost of restoration per acre-ft of increased groundwater storage?
A: For 19 projects in the Tahoe basin and northward, the median cost was $4,500 per acre-foot of increased groundwater storage. The 2nd and 3rd quartiles were $2,500 and $8,500, respectively. These estimates are based on sometimes incomplete cost data and modeled groundwater responses, so take this as an order-of-magnitude estimate. We’re working to refine this estimate.