Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) donated 4,491 acres at the McArthur Swamp to the Fall River Resource Conservation District (RCD), followed immediately by the RCD’s donation of a permanent conservation easement to Ducks Unlimited (DU). This newly protected acreage at McArthur Swamp is located just north of the town of McArthur, in eastern Shasta County. The property is located within the ancestral territory of the Ahjumawi Band of the Pit River Tribe. In addition, it contains important agricultural lands and provides significant habitat and public recreational values. Through the conservation easement, DU and the RCD are ensuring the permanent protection of open space, plant and wildlife habitat, agricultural uses, outdoor recreation by the general public, and historic and cultural values. The protected land provides essential food, breeding grounds, wintering habitat, and nesting cover for birdlife. The property also provides opportunities for public recreation including hunting, wildlife viewing and bird watching.
Guided by Range Manager Julie Allen, the Fall River RCD Board and Staff toured some of the pastures at the McArthur Swamp, observing first hand the condition of the infrastructure. The management team has already implemented the first phase of a noxious weed abatement program. At the monthly board meeting following the tour, the board prioritized infrastructure needs. First on the list will be to upgrade the cattle watering system with the installation of larger and more water troughs.
A variety of noxious weeds have proven to be problematic on McArthur Swamp as they outcompete native grasses and reduce grazing value. While these include several species of thistle, the most prevalent and agriculturally significant noxious weed currently found within the Swamp is Perennial Pepperweed (Lipedium latifolium).
Perennial Pepperweed utilizes significant amounts of ground water and nutrients allowing it to out compete native vegetation. Perennial Pepperweed is able to spread easily by seed and root fragments, quickly creating its own monoculture. As such, Perennial Pepperweed has no agricultural or grazing value.
For the 2018 season, Fall River RCD contracted with Basin Fertilizer in order to focus on Pepperweed control on McArthur Swamp. This year’s focus was to hit areas on the swamp with the highest Pepperweed densities, these areas were primarily found on the Northern and Eastern areas of the swamp; totaling 420 acres treated this season. Fall River RCD and Basin Fertilizer will later evaluate areas treated this year to determine any necessary revisions needed in the future abatement approach. Fall River RCD will continue to combat noxious weeds on McArthur Swamp in an effort to restore native vegetation and improve grazing conditions.