Llano Seco Flow Restoration
Stretching along the east bank of the Sacramento River, southwest of the city of Chico, Llano Seco Ranch consists of 18,434 acres of ranchlands, agricultural lands, wetlands and riparian habitats, and public lands.
Two large redwood siphons, canals and other structures create a water conveyance system that provides water to 2,700 acres of agricultural lands, supporting the production of wheat, rice, walnuts and a diversity of grain, row and tree crops. The system is also intended to deliver water to 4,500 acres of federal, state, and privately-owned wetlands on the ranch. However, the siphons, constructed in 1926, are severely degraded and no longer capable of delivering water reliably or efficiently.
Sampling conducted in 2014 indicated 40% water loss due to system degradation. Current losses are even higher. In the most recent year, the State Wildlife Area at the southern end of the conveyance system received none of the 30cfs of water deliveries allocated to support wetlands and provide critical wildlife habitat. This was due to complete failure of one of the siphons. Reviews suggest that without improvements, the system will likely fail further, resulting in the loss of water delivery capabilities to both the habitat and agricultural resources.
This project supports Ducks Unlimited in their partnership with a private landowner and seven agencies, to replace the siphons and conduct other major upgrades to increase efficiency and provide reliable water delivery. Additionally, this work will complete the joint National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)/California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) document and develop a proposal to secure additional funding to upgrade the water conveyance system.
* Project supports voluntary transactions to change, reduce or stop water use – either temporarily or permanently – to protect or restore water for environmental benefit