February 2006 Watershed Highlight of the Month
Cache Creek Conservancy
California Watershed Network (CWN) is pleased to announce that the Watershed Highlight for February 2006 goes to the Cache Creek Conservancy in honor of Jan Lowrey, past Executive Director of the Cache Creek Conservancy in Woodland, California. We at CWN, as well as the California watershed community, are deeply saddened by Jan’s sudden death on 1/21/06, at the age of 57. This dedication honors and recognizes the tremendous efforts by Jan and the Cache Creek Conservancy’s valuable contributions to watershed management.
The following are just a few highlights of Jan’s and the Cache Creek Conservancy’s accomplishments. We hope that these creative and innovative efforts inspire others in California’s watershed community.
With Jan’s lead, the Cache Creek Conservancy restored a 40-acre abandoned mine pit in Yolo County into a flourishing wetland system. The 40-acre wetland site is now a key component of the 130-acre property now known as the Cache Creek Nature Preserve. The preserve includes restored wetlands, interpretive kiosks, a “tending and gathering garden,” nature trails, and observation platforms.
Jan Lowrey at work.
Jan also led numerous invasive species removal projects along Cache Creek. In an effort to tackle the tamarisk and Arundo donax problem in the watershed, the Cache Creek Conservancy, with grants from CALFED and Wildlife Conservation Board, removed and controlled these invasive species along a 12 mile stretch of the creek. Jan was also instrumental in working with the USDA in an effort to establish biological control of tamarisk using leaf feeding beetles.
Jan also solicited UC Davis graduate students and members of the Native American community to develop the Tending and Gathering Garden. This natural resource gallery hosts plants native to the local watershed that have been used traditionally for basketry, fiber, food, and medicine. Native American cultural practitioners have access to this secure resource for teaching, cultural interpretation, and public outreach. The garden is also used to examine traditional indigenous fire management practices.
The Cache Creek Conservancy derives funding from a voluntary $0.05 per ton contribution based on tonnage of gravel sold and is paid by various aggregate producers on Cache Creek. To date, the voluntary contribution has been agreed to by Granite Construction, Rinker Materials, Syar Industries, and Teichert Aggregates.
Environmental Education: Jan also spearheaded a creative and effective environmental education program that offers an extremely diverse and rewarding educational experience for students grades K-12, as well as field trips for University level classes.
One of Jan’s best talents was the ability to build partnerships. Being a 4th generation farmer along Cache Creek, Jan could not only “talk the talk” with local landowners, but continuously impressed decision-makers at all levels – from County Boards of Supervisors to State politicians. Assembly Member Lois Wolk, D-Davis, remembered Jan as being “truly committed to open space and agricultural preservation in Yolo County.”
For more information about the Cache Creek Conservancy please visit their website at www.cachecreekconservancy.org.