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Frequently Asked Questions

Following is a representative selection of attendee comments and questions from the September 2011 meetings in the Hat Creek, Alturas, Burney and Fall River Sub-Watersheds.

1. How did this planning process come about and who is responsible for it?

The Pit River Watershed Alliance, a group of over 20 stakeholders in the region, applied through the State’s IRWMP Region Acceptance Process (RAP) to have the “Upper Pit River Watershed Region” established. Once accepted, the Upper Pit region became eligible to apply to the IRWMP Grant Program. The Northeastern California Water Association (NECWA) agreed to serve as the Applicant. The planning proposal was accepted, and NECWA holds the signed contract and is responsible for making sure the project is in compliance with the contract. A governing body made up of a diverse mix of local stakeholders makes decisions about content of the plan. See #6, Regional Water Management Group (RWMG), below.

2. In a nutshell, what is the Plan process from here on out?

All IRWMPs in California use a process provided by the State.

  • First is development of the Regional Description, which the consultants have begun putting together using Watershed Assessments and other existing information.
  • Based on that information, water resource-related Issues and Conflicts are discussed and agreed upon.
  • The state provides Resource Management Strategies that may be used to address these issues; and local decisions are made as to which are appropriate for the region and its issues.
  • Next, Goals and Objectives for the region are identified and agreed upon.
  • Local Projects that could help resolve the Issues and meet the Goals and Objectives are identified throughout the process.

Once the list of Projects is prioritized and complete, the group could start an application to the State to fund those projects. This is a separate work product. Having the plan adopted will make the Upper Pit region eligible to get $6 million to $10 million for local projects through a competitive process; it would likely be at least two years before Projects could be funded through the State.

3. How long will Plan development take?

In some regions, it has taken two years to develop an IRWMP. The Upper Pit region has done a lot of work already (e.g., existing Watershed Assessments for all four sub-watersheds), so we’re looking at 12 to 18 months. The quickest would be 12 months, which might be desirable, depending on when the next round of Project Implementation funding occurs, which we hope to know soon. It would be nice to get funding into the region sooner rather than later, but the process will take as long as the local Management Group decides it should take.

4. How long is the plan good for?

The planning horizon is about 30 years. The Plan, in its final, adopted form will be used for about three to five years and then updated, with updates planned approximately every three to five years after that.

5. What authority does the IRWMP have regarding water rights?

The Plan has no authority relative to water rights.

6. What is the RWMG, the Regional Water Management Group?

The state IRWMP process calls for a local governing body called a Regional Water Management Group (RWMG or “Management Group”) to oversee plan development processes and content, including projects.

Initially, the Management Group will be members of the Pit River Watershed Alliance (PRWA), the diverse group that applied to the state for the planning grant. One of the first actions of this initial group will be to establish an ongoing Management Group for the plan development process. How that group should be formed and who should be on it will be a key topic of the October 27th IRWMP Regional Meetings, which are open to the public. At minimum, the governing group will include the PRWA signatories, and at least two organizations with statutory authority over water (as required by the State).

7. How will decisions be made and by whom?

The Regional Water Management Group (“Management Group”) will be the decision-making body for the IRWMP. One of their first decisions will be to determine their make up and how they will make decisions. There are several decision-making models that have proven successful in other IRWMPs across the state and could serve as a guide, such as consensus, simple majority, and two-thirds majority. Stakeholders, sub-regional watershed groups, Work Groups and Technical Advisory Committees, will often inform Management Group decisions.

8. How do Projects get identified and selected?

Potential Projects can brought forward by local stakeholders, suggested by consultants, or evolve from the planning process. The first step is to complete a one-page Step 1 Project Application; all Step 1 Applications will go to the Management Group. A variety of types of water-resources related projects can be considered. Most appropriate will be those that respond to identified issues. We’ll provide direct and personal outreach to organizations and agencies across the region to assist in developing projects or configuring existing projects to address identified issues.

Projects can be at various stages of readiness – conceptual, partially developed, and ready to go. Only projects that are “ready to go – often called “shovel ready” – can be included in the funding proposal to the state for implementation funds. However, the plan is continuously evolving with updates every three to five years, so it is important to get projects and project ideas in early.

The project team will work to integrate projects to make them more competitive for state funding. The Management Group will prioritize the projects and determine which should be included in the plan.

9. How can I participate?

Interested citizens are strongly encouraged to participate in the IRWM Plan Development Process. Here are a few ways to get involved:

  • Attend regional and sub-regional meetings
  • Volunteer to serve on a Work Group
  • Submit a Project idea


For additional information, contact:

~ Pam Giacomini   530-335-7016

~ Todd Sloat          530-336-5456

~ Stacey Hafen      530-233-8871