Delegates from a diverse group of stakeholders unanimously approved an Integrated Regional Water Management plan which Mount Shasta City Councilor Geoff Harkness called “a key that unlocks the door to funding sources.”

Delegates from a diverse group of stakeholders unanimously approved an Integrated Regional Water Management plan which Mount Shasta City Councilor Geoff Harkness called “a key that unlocks the door to funding sources.”

The only public comment at the brief Monday afternoon meeting was from Margie Graham, a staff environmental scientist with the Department of Water Resources, who thanked the delegates for their time and hard work developing the IRWM, which was years in the making.

Dunsmuir City Councilor Ed Steele, who has been working on the plan for more than two years, made a motion for adoption. Mark Miyoshi, a representative of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, seconded Steele’s motion, which was quickly approved by all the delegates present.

Now that the plan is approved, stakeholders are able to apply for state DWR funding which they were otherwise not eligible to obtain. Graham said she anticipates funding to be available in the spring of 2014, and each of the groups is preparing projects so when money becomes available, they’ll be prepared.

Each of the stakeholders in the Regional Water Management group signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which was formalized in September, explained Harkness, who conducted the meeting.

“The ultimate purpose (of the IRWM) is to develop projects that address watershed goals and objectives identified by stakeholders in the region, while maximizing the use of limited financial resources,” said River Exchange Administrative Director Robin Singler.

Harkness emphasized the group has no authority to take rights from any entity, and only serves as an advisory panel for water resource related issues in the Upper Sac Region – one of 46 recognized IRWM planning regions in the state.

The County of Siskiyou declined to participate in the group.

Harkness added that the community is welcome to participate in any of the group’s meetings in the future.

Priority goals addressed in the plan, according to the River Exchange, include the need to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in local communities.

The City of Dunsmuir has asked that the plan support the city’s efforts to replace old and failing water lines.

The City of Mount Shasta proposes to improve its wastewater treatment plant to respond to water quality requirements for the Upper Sacramento River.

The McCloud Community Services District has participated in the process with the objective of obtaining grant funds to improve its water delivery system.

Other proposed projects address objectives to evaluate and better understand watersheds and groundwater resources in the area and to expand watershed education.

Delegates that attended the meeting hosted by the Mount Shasta City Council included: Robert Blankenship from Trout Unlimited, Phil Detrich from the River Exchange, Wayne Grigsby from the McCloud Community Services District, Lynne Butler from the McCloud Watershed Council, Meadow Fitton from Cal Trout, Janie Painter from the Medicine Lake Citizens for Quality Environment, Michelle Bertichevsky from the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center, Jeff Kelley from the Modoc Nation, Kathleen Hitt from the Siskiyou Land Trust, Steele, Miyoshi and Harkness, who has served as Mount Shasta City’s delegate since Ted Marconi retired as city manager in August.

For more information on the IRWM grant program,

visit DWR’s webpage: www.water.ca.gov/irwm/grants/index.cfm

For information on this regional planning effort, contact Merle Anderson at the River Exchange at 530-235-2012 or at: mail@riverexchange.org.