Science, policy of 'California Cascade Aquifers' to be discussed

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
This figure shows the contribution of spring-sourced water as a percentage of Shasta Reservoir storage during three drought periods. The contribution of volcanic aquifer springs to California's water supply will be discussed by geochemist Lee Davisson in his presentation, “An overview of California Cascade Aquifers – Current Knowledge and Research Needs” during the Water Talks presentation scheduled for April 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum.

California’s Cascade region is home to volcanic aquifers around Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lassen, and Medicine Lake Volcano – unique groundwater resources not usually considered in water policy discussions.

These high-elevation source waters provide inflows to the Sacramento River and statewide water supply, but much is still unknown.

What does science tell us about the status of groundwater around Mount Shasta? What are research and monitoring priorities? How does the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act apply to volcanic aquifers?

California Trout invites the public to hear answers to these questions and more from an expert panel during an educational Water Talks presentation, “California Cascade Aquifers – Science and Policy.” The talk is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum. It is free and open to everyone. There will be time for questions after the presentations.

“California Cascade Aquifers – Science and Policy” will feature presentations by:

• Lee Davisson, CA professional geologist and president of ML Davisson & Associates on “An overview of California Cascade Aquifers – Current knowledge and research needs”

• Paul Horton, professional hydrogeologist and consultant for The Source Group, on “Water Balance in Mount Shasta’s groundwater”

• Bill Ehorn, hydrogeologist and regional planning branch chief for California Department of Water Resources on “SGMA and Volcanic Aquifers.”

Lee Davisson is a geochemist who has contributed to many studies on water resources around Mt. Shasta, Medicine Lake, and Lassen volcanoes.

“I will review the unique hydrogeology of the California Cascade Region and discuss the statewide significance of these groundwater resources including the need for more studies and monitoring,” he states in a press release.

Paul Horton has nearly 20 years of experience evaluating the abundant spring water sources on and around Mount Shasta. He says, “My presentation will draw from my research in the area to discuss water balance in Mount Shasta’s groundwater – what we know and how we can find out more. I will also discuss my thoughts on the impacts of drought on groundwater in this region.”

The final presentation

will approach California Cascade Aquifers from a policy perspective:

“Implementation of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is underway, however it does not currently apply to volcanic aquifers such as those in the California Cascade region,” said Bill Ehorn, of the CA Department of Water Resources Northern Region Office. “I will present an update on SGMA implementation, a discussion of the status of volcanic aquifers, and what steps could be taken for these aquifers to be considered by SGMA in the future.”

Water Talks are an ongoing series of informational and educational presentations where local and regional experts sharing their knowledge with the public on a range of water-related topics. Water Talks is a project of California Trout. California Trout is a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving complex resource issues while balancing the needs of wild fish and people.

For more information contact Water Talks program coordinator Phoenix Lawhon Isler at