Keystone Initiative: Northern California Volcanic Aquifers and Headwaters

Assessing how Mt. Shasta Region’s Springs Systems Fuel California’s Water Supply Even During Extreme Drought

Northern California’s snow-capped Cascade mountains—Mount Shasta, Medicine Lake Volcano, and Mount Lassen—recharge geographically extensive volcanic aquifers which store and release large quantities of groundwater year round to the north state’s rivers. In addition to sustaining refuge habitat for cold-water aquatic species these spring-fed rivers supply water for municipal, agricultural, industrial and ecological needs throughout the State and provide ecological and economic resilience during drought and projected climate change.

Despite their importance to the state’s economy and ecosystems, these aquifers have never been systematically studied, leaving many as-yet unanswered questions, including ‘how much water do they take in and store annually before emerging as springs and rivers downstream’, and ‘what is the recharge rate and residence of these aquifers’. CalTrout is working towards development of a white paper to highlight the role of California Cascade Aquifers in the state’s water supply; the need for further study and monitoring of these aquifers; and most importantly, the necessity of effective, science-driven policy to ensure sustainable management of this groundwater source in the face of climate change.

More about the Keystone Initiative

Mount Shasta-Cascade Spring Systems and Source Waters Projects

Mount Shasta / Klamath Region News

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California Trout, Inc.

California Trout, Inc.