SRT has known for some time that Kaweah Oaks Preserve's topography makes it a natural site for water storage, and it's location between the Kaweah Dam and downstream farmers also makes it a great site to park water. Now that this winter has provided a lot of rain, we'll be able to do just that thanks to a new partnership with Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District.
KDWCD needs somewhere to put water as Kaweah Lake and the Friant-Kern Canal are full. KOP can be that place with only a little bit of work. So soon you will see KDWCD earth movers and other equipment near the Fitness Trail and up to the Sycamore Trail, working with naturally occurring landscape features to create a place for water to stay for a few months.
We hope the water storage will not only help the district and nearby farmers, but also will recharge KOP's groundwater levels, which have been dropping with the drought along with other changes to the natural hydrology of the Preserve due to flood control projects and agricultural needs. That will help keep trees and other native species alive and healthy. That's why we see this project as a win for everyone.
Eventually, KDWCD could create more water storage locations at KOP, requiring some changes to the western edge of the preserve. But for now the changes will be minimal. In fact, they look quite natural, inspiring herons, grebes and ducks to come visit the new ponds.