Foster Meadow Habitat Restoration
The headwaters of the Middle Fork Cosumnes River lie in Foster Meadow, situated in the Sierra Nevada at a mean elevation of 6,800 ft. A small and diverse meadow ecosystem, Foster Meadow was identified and prioritized as a restoration project by the Amador Ranger District (ARD) of the El Dorado National Forest (ENF) collaboratively with the Amador Calaveras Consensus Group (ACCG). The 27-acre project area includes degraded reaches of the river to be restored, and functional reaches to conserve.
The natural hydrology of the meadow has been altered by over 100 years of channel modifications, and intensive livestock use and road building have degraded the soils and vegetation. As a result, water quality has decreased and wildlife habitats are limited. The site also contains an old culvert upstream of the meadow, which is a barrier to fish passage.
This project will restore Foster Meadow’s natural hydrology by reintroducing native soils and meadow plants that resist erosion and promote rainfall infiltration. Additionally, the project will implement habitat diversity and varying water depths through creation of islands, peninsulas, and off-channel and in-forest habitat, as well as habitat connectivity through grade correction for seamless transition from meadow to the existing channel downstream.
Project stakeholders aim to remove barriers to aquatic organism passage in this reach of the Middle Fork Cosumnes River, provide improved water quality and timing of flows, and enhance aquatic and terrestrial habitats onsite and downstream.
* Project restores natural hydrologic conditions to facilitate improved capture and infiltration of surface water and groundwater recharge