Watershed Based Plan development for the Trinidad Rancheria

Trinidad Bay, Humboldt County, California
Trinidad Bay, Humboldt County, California

PWA analyzed available water quality data, conducted a nonpoint source pollution assessment, and developed a Watershed Based Plan to identify and prioritize management actions aimed at protecting and enhancing water quality on the Trinidad Rancheria.

Trinidad Rancheria
Trinidad, California

The Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria (“Trinidad Rancheria”) is a federally recognized Tribe with trust lands spread across three small coastal watersheds in Humboldt County, California. The Rancheria maintains that preserving the environment is integral to preserving the cultural heritage and quality of life for the Tribe, and is therefore dedicated to scientifically sound environmental protection within its landholdings and adjacent marine waters. For this reason, the Trinidad Rancheria, in collaboration with Pacific Watershed Associates, developed a Watershed Based Plan using guidelines set forth by the U.S. Environmental Program (USEPA). The Trinidad Rancheria Watershed Based Plan is an evaluation of the existing conditions of the Trinidad Rancheria’s trust lands in these three watersheds and adjacent coastal bluff zone, and determination of new management strategies and project goals following the 9 key elements of the Clean Water Act Section 319 Program.

In order to develop a comprehensive planning document capable of supporting future management needs, PWA:

  • Evaluated existing water quality data
  • Conducted a non-point source pollution assessment
  • Mapped and characterized the stream channel network
  • Delineated and characterized contributing drainage areas and outfalls
  • Developed prioritized treatments and associated cost estimates to protect and enhance water quality
  • Created a GIS data library and provided training to increase the Rancheria's technical capacity
  • Provided recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the Rancheria's water quality monitoring program

Trinidad Rancheria's Watershed Based Plan was certified by the EPA in October 2011 and efforts are currently underway to implement the plan’s action items. Development of a Watershed Based Plan should improve the Tribe's ability to compete for grant funding to support implementation projects that enhance water quality both on Tribal land as well as in the adjacent coastal waters.

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