WOLF CREEK COMMUNITY ALLIANCE

Grass Valley - A creek runs through It

aka Wolf Creek Community Alliance (WCCA)   |   Grass Valley, CA   |  http://www.wolfcreekalliance.org/

Mission

WCCA exists to: 1) preserve and protect Wolf Creek and its watershed for the benefit of present and future generations; 2) engender community stewardship of the creek and its watershed; 3) restore the creek to a condition of optimal health and integrity; 4) monitor the physical, chemical, and biological condition of the creek; 5) thrive as an organization and thereby have a long-lasting presence and beneficial impact in the watershed. Our goals are to improve water quality on a watershed basis, protect/restore watershed and aquatic ecosystems by increasing community awareness and understanding of water quality problems in the Wolf Creek watershed, and promote programs and projects to protect and restore the watershed.

Ruling year info

2004

President, Board of Directors

Jonathan B Keehn

Main address

PO Box 477

Grass Valley, CA 95945 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

71-0949200

NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Wolf Creek is a major tributary to the Bear River. It is 25 miles long, and its watershed encompasses 78 square miles. Because of the elevation, sun exposure, and variety of soils, the watershed once supported very productive and diverse ecosystems prior to the gold rush. Today, its interacting landscapes and creek systems carry a variety of pollutants, including toxic drainage from old mines and harmful bacteria. The people and the watershed served by Wolf Creek and its tributaries, long threatened by water and soil contamination from 19th century mining and industry, are now under even more pressure from 21st century urbanization - deforestation, loss of wetlands, impermeable surfaces, erosion, increased water usage, pollution, and climate change. The urban and mining-waste effluents that enter Wolf Creek and its tributaries affect downstream farmers who use irrigation water that comes from Wolf Creek. The watershed is the source of much of the human impact on the Bear River.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Outreach and Education

WCCA volunteers staff booths at local events and organize public meetings on watershed topics, produce maps, display materials, videos, and handouts. WCCA coordinates the annual Know Your Watershed educational event, co-hosted by 30+ watershed organizations throughout the Bear, Yuba, and American River watersheds, with activities designed for all ages to have fun while learning about watersheds. By actively reaching out to our community with factual information about problems in the watershed, and by partnering with other local organizations on restoration and preservation, we hope to engender long term commitment to watershed stewardship in our community.

Population(s) Served
Adults

WCCA volunteers regularly monitor the condition of Wolf Creek to observe and record biological and other physical indicators of creek and riparian health, including testing for harmful bacteria and heavy metals from past mining. This activity is hands-on, conducted in the field at various outdoor locations, and provides the opportunity to learn about aquatic ecology, water chemistry, and the physical processes of streams. This long-term program is supported by donors and occasional small grants/subcontracts.

Population(s) Served
Adults

WCCA volunteers watch the City and County Development Review and Planning agendas for projects likely to impact Wolf Creek, and attend planning meetings in order to advocate for best practices in construction and landscaping - erosion and sediment control, creek setbacks and easements, riparian buffer zones, wetlands protection, storm water catchment, permeable surfaces, water conservation, wildlife habitat and trails.

Population(s) Served
Adults

WCCA volunteers work on restoration projects according their individual level of skill, help to plant native and remove invasive non-native plants on public lands. WCCA volunteers work in conjunction with the Fire Safe Council's Scotch Broom Challenge in early Spring, and with the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) during its annual River Clean-Up. We are actively seeking funding for several planned restoration projects.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Gold was discovered in what is now Grass Valley in 1848. The mining that took place here until the last mines closed in 1957 released enormous amounts of toxic heavy metals that contaminated stream sediments from above Grass Valley to the San Francisco Bay. Some of these contaminants are still present at high levels in Wolf Creek and its tributaries. Urbanization has led to deforestation, erosion, impermeable surfaces, increased water usage, pollution, and artificial flows.
WCCA is working on a science-based disturbance inventory and assessment of current conditions in the Wolf Creek watershed, including legacy mining impacts and abandoned mine sites, land use and land cover, ecological conditions and hydrology, in order to: 1) identify critical problem areas for human health and environmental integrity; and 2) prioritize future restoration projects for revitalizing our highly impacted watershed. This program is funded by a grant from the Bella Vista Foundation.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Within the Wolf Creek watershed, human population and land uses vary widely so that the streams range from highly degraded and urbanized to relatively wild. Many plant and animal species that were once present in the watershed are now classified sensitive or endangered.
Healthy creeks contribute to a safe drinking water supply. Clean, free-flowing creeks provide green spaces and natural recreation areas away from noise and traffic. Ninety percent of wildlife in urban areas depend on creeks and adjacent vegetation for survival. Flowing water and stream side vegetation help moderate air quality and temperature.

WCCA is focused on protecting and restoring Wolf Creek and its watershed to a condition of optimal health and integrity for the benefit of present and future generations. Our objectives are to improve water quality on a watershed-wide basis by understanding water quality problems in the watershed, and to actively participate in programs and projects to restore and protect the watershed and its aquatic ecosystems.

Maintaining a strong water monitoring program and the water quality data it provides over time is an essential component of our efforts to protect and restore Wolf Creek and our ability to enlist the cooperation of local and regional resource managers. WCCA volunteers will continue to conduct regular monitoring for basic water quality parameters at sentinel sites. The regular presence of WCCA volunteers at specific sites along the creek helps to identify land-use practices that negatively impact Wolf Creek, and informs our efforts to identify and better focus on areas of highest concern for watershed and human health. We will continue to seek funding to expand the water quality monitoring program and for restoration projects from a variety of sources. WCCA volunteers will continue to lead stewardship events, and continue to publicly advocate for low impact creek-friendly development. By actively reaching out to our community with factual information about problems in the watershed, and by partnering with other local organizations on restoration and preservation, we hope to change an old mindset and engender long term commitment to watershed stewardship by city and county officials as well as property owners, and begin to reverse decades of neglect and abuse of Wolf Creek.

WCCA is a small volunteer-run grassroots non-profit with big plans, and funding is always an issue. However, the leadership is strong. The WCCA Board of Directors is staffed by dedicated and energetic volunteers, all of whom are invested in our community and active in local civic affairs.

WCCA has 50+ skilled and active volunteers who give generously of their time monitoring water quality and stream corridors, working on restoration and stewardship projects, working with schools and watershed partners, conducting public meetings and outreach events, bringing watershed advocacy to City and County planning meetings, serving on the Board of Directors and Advisory Board, fundraising, managing grants and contracts, maintaining the website and photo gallery, providing technical and administrative assistance..

*Water quality monitoring: Since 2005, WCCA volunteers have been monitoring water quality at sentinel sites on Wolf Creek and some of its tributaries including, when funded, laboratory testing for harmful bacteria, heavy metals from mining, the collection and classification of aquatic insects - key indicators of stream health - and stream corridor assessments. The collected scientific data helps to identify and address problems, disturbances, and contamination affecting the health of the watershed and that of all of its human and wild inhabitants. By the end of 2019, the WCCA water quality data will be transferred to a new, interactive database shared with two regional watershed organizations whose volunteers monitor water quality in the neighboring Yuba River and Deer Creek watersheds.

*Outreach: WCCA works to increase community understanding of problems in the watershed by tabling at local events, conducting public meetings on watershed topics, producing brochures, display materials, videos, maps, handouts, and an informative website. We have established relationships with teachers at local schools whose students are learning about local area ecology and developing watershed awareness. With the success of the 2018 Know Your Watershed event, 30 participant groups have signed on for the second annual Know Your Watershed event in April 2019.

*Restoration and stewardship: WCCA volunteers have done extensive GIS mapping of the Wolf Creek watershed, and were the driving force that led to the adoption of Grass Valley’s first riparian set-back regulations. Volunteers attend City and County Planning Commission meetings in order to advocate for regulatory controls, enforcement, and best management practices in construction and landscaping - erosion and sediment control, creek setbacks and easements, riparian buffer zones, wetlands protection, storm water catchment, permeable surfaces, water conservation, wildlife habitat, and trails. By early 2020, WCCA will have completed a 2-year project “Wolf Creek Watershed Disturbance Inventory, Assessment, and Restoration Plan”. In 2020, Phase II of the Peabody Creek Restoration Project will be completed with American Rivers and the City of Grass Valley as lead agencies. This project includes redirecting a Wolf Creek tributary into its historical stream bed, restoring 1.5 acres of wetland habitat, and improving storm water management to decrease flooding.

*Trails: WCCA volunteers were instrumental in the development of the Wolf Creek Parkway conceptual plan for a connecting system of walkable and bike-able trails along Wolf Creek through Grass Valley, and are working with the Bear Yuba Land Trust and the City of Grass Valley to advance those plans. In 2020, Phase I of the Wolf Creek Trail will be completed with the City of Grass Valley as lead agency. This project is for a 1.5 mile multi-use ADA public access trail on the downstream reach of Wolf Creek.

Financials

WOLF CREEK COMMUNITY ALLIANCE

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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WOLF CREEK COMMUNITY ALLIANCE

Board of directors
as of 7/12/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jonathan Keehn

Keehn Construction

Term: 2004 -

Jonathan Keehn

Keehn Construction - Owner, Manager

Gordon Baker

Cornerstone Realty - Realtor

Jane Pelton

University research grants administrator, retired

Donald Pelton

University network engineer, retired

David Brownstein

software developer (Advisory Board)

Lisa Lackey

GIS Services - Owner Manager (Advisory Bd)

Mike Pasner

Indian Springs Organic Farm Owner Manager (Advisory Board)

Dale Peterson

Caltrans Engineer, retired (Advisory Board)

Rick Sanger

Park Ranger, retired (Advisory Board)

Geri Stout

Adjunct Prof of Biology, Sierra College (Advisory Board)

Jason Giuliani

Professor of Chemistry, Sierra College (Advisory Board)

Denise Bellas

Sustainable Product Consultant

Bob Branstrom

Wolf Creek Co-Housing (Advisory Board)

Barbara Schmitt

Biologist

Lynn Campbell

Biologist

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/28/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

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Sexual orientation

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Disability

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