Wetherell Ranch, Inc.
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summer......

Summer has arrived! 

 

Time to start irrigating those pastures!   Then the clipping starts to keep it at the ideal height.   Oh and that manure we have been storing in the new tank all winter,  time to start putting  all those natural nutrients back into the soil.

 

And don't forget to take Granny to lunch once in awhile ;)

 

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the tank......

Built by McLennan Contractors, LLC and completed in 2007,  A round, earth quake proof, concrete, one million gallon holding capacity tank added additional holding capacity for our waste.  Allowing us to store it throughout the winter and then apply it in the summer when the soil is warmest and the nutrients will be best absorbed. 

 

Working together with NRCS, Federal, State and  local agencies we set a precedent for waste handling systems in the State of California. The first ever built in the State, engineered to Federal and State guidelines for construction and approved by all permitting agencies.  The "Wetherell Tank" is now approved for use on Dairies throughout the State.

  

 

We contacted NRCS for assistance in Federal and State regulations.  Working closely with Mark Meisner and Andrea Souther we began a project that took three years to complete.

 

We started doing our research on different styles of waste management by visiting Dairies in Humboldt County that were using earthen lagoons.  We took two tours to Tillamook County, Oregon, with soil and climate similar to ours where they where using round cement tanks.  With the Internet we were able to find statistics on systems from all over the world.

 

After thoroughly researching both systems we chose the concrete tank because it would have less of an environmental impact on our Dairy.   Finding the lagoons to be less cost effective for the future, the loss of pasture would have been double and with the history and chance of failure of the lagoon the risk would have been too great.

 

Being in such an environmentally sensitive area we worked closely with and were approved by all of the following agencies regarding their permitting and requirements for construction.....

 

 

 

California Coastal Commission

Del Norte County Planning Department

Natural Resource Conservation Services

 

  

 

 

Rich loves a challenge and with three times the amount of permitting time, five times the cost of getting an earthen lagoon and every permitting agency on speed dial we now have "The Tank".

 

        

     

             

 

         

 

 

 

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This Cara Cara showed up in Fort Dick pastures a few years back.  He has never left and has been seen on numerous occasions offering  scraps of gophers to a certain raven.  Must be something in the eyes!

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fish habitat enhancement......

Completed in 2004, the Fish Habitat Enhancement project came from an idea to restore a historic fish habitat on the lower Smith River and fill a breach that threatened the integrity of the river bar.  The Smith River is known for fishing yet major flooding in the late 50's and early 60's caused the river channel to change and fill in these historic resting pools.  Since then locals have sadly watched the salmon population dwindle.

 

Creating a deep pool by excavating gravel restored a historic resting area for migrating salmonids.  This pool located at a strategic area of the river also increased habitat diversity that benefited migrating adult salmonids and young coho salmon.  The gravel was then used to repair and stabilize the river bar.

 

Frank Galea from Galea Wildlife Consulting has monitored the project from the beginning.  Permitting was completed with the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service,  the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the County of  Del Norte.   Richard B. Davis Co. surveyed the site and Hemmingsen Construction Company excavated the gravel using a method approved with the least amount of impact on the environment.

 

Numbers of salmonids have gradually increased and local fishing guides have documented large numbers of fish are now resting in the pool before heading upstream to spawn.  Stabilization of the bar has held, and lately we have had a few sunbathers taking advantage of it.

 

The final monitoring observation of the Fish Habitat Enhancement Project is;

 

 "This project demonstrates that gravel extraction to increase salmonid habitat diversity is a viable option in the lower Smith River."

  

        

                      

 

         

 

 

 

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A Herd of Roosevelt Elk sunathing on the river bar adjacent to the Fish Habitat Enhancement Project.

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