Among the numerous projects on Ruby Habitat Foundation’s docket is the revitalization and sustenance of the regional agricultural lands and the riparian area adjacent to an eleven mile long braid of the Ruby River, commonly known as Clear Creek. While only about 2 miles of this 11 mile braid of the Ruby River run through the ranch’s property, we believe its restoration, in its entirety, is good for the entire valley and we are spearheading the effort to give it a full restore.
A 2012, NRCS assessment of the Lower Ruby River, commissioned by the Ruby Valley Conservation District, included an assessment of Clear Creek. The findings were eye opening to the landowners and water users in the region. Forty seven percent (47%) of the Clear Creek channel was given a NRCS Riparian Assessment rating of Not Sustainable. The entire balance of the stream was rated as Sustainable-at-Risk. Water quantity and water quality are the primary resource concerns in the assessment and the project area. An independently monitored, minimum flow agreement among the water users, through a Memorandum of Understanding will be the basis for addressing water quantity issues. With proper funding, a wide range of integrated agricultural land management and riparian improvements will be implemented over a 5 year period to address the water quality issues that are primarily related to sediment and temperature. Channel modification and stabilization projects combined with extensive vegetation improvement and management practices will be developed to achieve that end. Projects to improve irrigation efficiency will be constructed. Improved fisheries and wildlife habitat will be the secondary benefits of the project. Success will be obvious in increased flows, cooler temperatures and the reduction of turbidity levels in the stream. A regular monitoring protocol will be developed by the cooperating partners and carried out by the lead partner. Ruby Habitat Foundation has the resources available to provide ongoing oversight.
We are actively pursuing funding for this project in the form of grants as well as donations. The cost is to be determined once some grant money has been secured, but rough estimates start around $3 million and go up, depending on the type of work necessary.