Upper Dotta Meadow

Near Quincy, CA

PROJECT PARTNER: Plumas Corporation
PROJECT TYPE: Natural Hydrologic Restoration


In partnership with the nonprofit Plumas Corporation, BEF’s Water Restoration Certificate program is providing funding that will help restore water within a 253-acre critically dewatered meadow ecosystem in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. The project is located in the upper Feather River Basin, the keystone watershed for California’s State Water Project.

The project area was once a vibrant wetland meadow ecosystem with healthy streams and rich wildlife habitat containing robust trout populations and diverse bird species. However, historical land use practices and water diversion created a dewatered meadow ecosystem. Retained water is no longer adequate to maintain stream levels and support habitat for trout, birds and other wildlife.

BEF’s support of this project allowed the Plumas Corporation to partner with a local rancher and the US Forest Service to undertake a comprehensive restoration project that is projected to retain and restore to the dry meadow ecosystem up to 185 million gallons of water per year. The retention of this water in the meadow soils is critical to enhance stream flows, improve water quality and restore native wetland plant communities. The project also includes an agreement with stream landowners to cease diverting water from the stream and to fence cattle out of the fragile riparian and wetland areas of the meadow.

Scientific evidence derived from similar past restoration projects also indicates that the restoration of the Dotta meadow ecosystem will sequester carbon. The Dotta Meadow project is on track to monitor increases in carbon stocks and will estimate how much additional carbon is sequestered by this project. As a result, WRCs from this project will provide both carbon reduction and water restoration benefits.

The project was initiated in 2013, and monitoring is currently in place to measure and showcase positive impacts on trout, water quality, vegetative recovery, bird species diversity and carbon sequestration.

The photos included in the project gallery showcase the results from a project similar to, and within geographic proximity to the Dotta Meadow project funded by BEF. The results displayed in these photos reflect the expected outcome of the Dotta Meadow project.

*This resource has been reviewed and found to meet the BEF Flow Program Certification Criteria for Evaluating Proposals to Secure Environmental Flows by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.