THE SACRAMENTO RIVER WATERSHED PROJECT:
Preservation Education Regeneration
The Sacramento River Watershed Project is a comprehensive project that was designed and planned as part of our overall environmentally focused and ecologically sustainable mission, strategic plan and objectives.
The Water Protector Tour 2020-2021 (W.P.T. 2020-2021) is a major project under the Sacramento River Watershed Project umbrella and is inextricably linked with our mission and goals. W.P.T. 2020-2021 is a grass roots movement comprised of a coalition of individuals, organizations, members of indigenous communities and decision makers on a local and regional level. All of the participants are and have been committed to protecting the health and security of the Sacramento River basin watershed. This includes the following counties of Siskiyou, Shasta, Plumas, Butte, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento (including the Delta) and the East Bay.
We aim to work in solidarity and move this work forward by building bridges with these diverse groups and communities who have identified regional issues concerning water safety and security and work collaboratively to develop local and statewide strategies to implement innovative solutions.
The Sacramento River is the largest river and watershed system in California. The 27,000–square mile basin drains the eastern slopes of the Coast Range, Mount Shasta, the western slopes of the Southern-most region of the Cascades, and the northern portion of the Sierra Nevada. The Sacramento River carries 31% of the state’s total surface water runoff. Primary tributaries to the Sacramento River are the Pit, Feather, and American Rivers.
The Sacramento River Basin provides drinking water for residents of northern and southern California, supplies farmers with the lifeblood of California’s agricultural industry, and is a vital organ for hundreds of wildlife species, including four separate runs of Chinook salmon. It is also home to more than 2.8 million northern Californians.
Indigenous tribal people have been some of the most affected groups regarding water issues. The Indigenous communities are the first water protectors. They have been on the frontlines of the struggle for justice and the human right to water for centuries. Tribes like the Winnemem Wintu have had their sacred Salmon Run directly threatened to the point of near extinction by the warmer waters of the Sacramento River as a result of the most recent five-year drought and other complications. The threat of the raising of the Shasta Dam, poses an even greater group of issues which would result in the drowning of most of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe’s last remaining sacred sites and traditional homelands, decimate endangered salmon and violate the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by flooding the McCloud River.
Many other California Tribes face similar fates due to the threats posed by government, corporate privatization, encroachment on aquifers, encroachment on their rivers, lakes and streams by development, pollution of their waterways, bad politics and/or inaction by local and state governments, and more.
State and local jurisdictions’ have responsibility for protection of the health and welfare of citizens, but in many areas regarding this, they have failed miserably. This is not a local land use planning issue. This is an issue of survival of our people and our whole ecosystem.
From the mountains, to the valley, to the small towns and cities, it is the place where we live, work, eat, drink and play. All, or mostly all of the watershed is threatened by a number of issues that are currently harming and/or threatening, and may permanently destroy the sensitive areas involved – from damming of rivers, leaching of heavy metals, the use of pesticides and herbicides, pharmaceuticals, plastics and micro plastics, privatization by corporate entities, mass water bottling operations by global corporations, and mismanagement practices.
Mercury toxicity is another harmful contaminant to the Watershed and arises from erosion and atmospheric dust, but also as a result of old cinnabar ore (mercury sulfide) mines that were used during the time of the gold rush. All of these threats and harms can cause irreparable damage to riparian habitats, aquatic life and domestic supply.
The identified dozen or more issues that affect our water resources also include things that come from our own personal uses and habits. As a result, this led us to think about and provide practical and non-political solutions that anyone can implement, along with being able to provide some “experts” in the areas of those issues, if requested. These identified issues range from environmental toxins like body care products and household cleaners, to hazardous landscaping practices, and outdated herbicides, and pest control, and more. We also research and examine issues like privatization and mismanagement of our natural resources (i.e.; land and water, etc.), the effects of climate change on our environment (locally and globally) whether it be natural cycles or human made, along with other affecting issues. This year alone there was a large decline in the Sierra snowpack which will profoundly affect the majority of California and its access to clean water in general.
The Sacramento River Watershed Project and Water Protector Tour is a non-hierarchical grassroots movement. There is no one person or organization being paid or glorified to do this work. We believe that it is necessary for individuals to “Be the change you want to see in the world,” and to stand up and become an active part of creating a new healthy and sustainable paradigm in our region and on planet earth.
We offer many simple ways for regular citizens to get involved, whether that be on a personal nature or as a more involved citizen advocate or activist. We always encourage people to do their own due diligence, along with implementing ideas through action, getting their hands dirty (in soil, etc.), informing and encouraging friends to use alternative solutions and available products, attending events, and more. Some of the things we offer are advisorship and consultants who are knowledgeable and experienced regarding individuals or groups pertaining to water-related issues and concerns— everything from water testing and filters, to groundwater regeneration, to Permaculture, and agricultural solutions. We believe in and encourage others to work together with us and become advocates for all of us and our children.