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The Jackson Creek watershed in southern Douglas County is an important water reservoir as it spans over 102,000 acres in the Upper South Umpqua River Basin supplying over
223,734 people in its main tributaries of Detroit, Medford, Roseburg, and Klamath.

What people are talking about

A tier-1 watershed
Due to the basin's strong Mediterranean climate and according to the Umpqua National Forest they receive “about 35 to 60 inches of precipitation annually”(Umpqua National Forest, 1995). With over 3⁄4 of the precipitation occurring during the months of September to May. The Jackson Creek Basin stands out from others due to its unique geological structures, due to the Coastal Marine, Klamath Mountains, and the Western Cascades and High Cascades. According to reports by the Umpqua National Forest, their local plant species is “within the Sierran Steppe-Mixed Forest-Coniferous Forest-Alpine Meadow Province of the Mediterranean Division”(Umpqua National Forest, 1994). That means the watershed contains species of Western Hemlock and Mixed Evergreen Zones. The Watershed is not complete without the mention of its fish populations. According to the American Fisheries Society, the Jackson County watershed is a “tier-1” watershed for its local fish species: coho salmon, sea-run cutthroat trout, and spring chinook salmon. The Jackson Creek watershed was proposed for the commercial timber industry in the 1940s; the creek was a huge contributor to timber production, accounting for a large portion of the county's local economies. The Jackson Creek watershed has been historically and is currently affected by wildfires, beginning with Native American riverside fires to natural wildfires occurring due to climate change and droughts; the ecosystem, water levels, and water resources have been affected.

Wildfire impacts on water rights
In recent years, the Alameda fire has negatively impacted Jackson County, which destroyed over 2,428 structures. Residents noticed a severe impact on their water rights, and the city began water restrictions, meaning residents' water allowance was significantly cut. The local fire department was running out of water in the fire hydrants and needed to tap into residents' supply; this left many angry residents unable to use the water they had paid for. A local Medford resident stated, “Too much heat, too much wind, not enough water, not enough resources''(Darrow, 2020). The wildfires in Jackson Creek are affecting the water quality, ecosystem, and keystone species' health. The wildfires damage the watershed, which leads to higher erosion and flooding; this impacts water-supply resources, residents' water quality, and treatment facilities. Everyone in the county can be equally affected by wildfires as they are unpredictable and spread quickly.

Low levels in Jackson Creek
Emigrant Lake, a tributary of Jackson Creek, has reached a historic low, which is threatening the local salmon and steelhead habitats. The Medford Mail Tribune reports that “Ashland was experiencing the lowest water levels in their history, which dates back to the late 1950s and early 1960s”(Medford Mail Tribune, 2020). In Jackson County, 203,206 residents, which account for 100% of their population, are being affected by droughts. Per the National Integrated Drought Information System, Jackson County is at D2-Severe Drought: “ Pastures are brown; hay yields are down, and prices are up; producers are selling cattle; Fire risk increases; Marshes are drying up, little water is available for waterfowl and wildlife; bears are moving into urban areas”(NIDIS, 2023). Jackson County has been hit hard with drought due to the daunting approach of climate change. The droughts are killing key economic resources and are impacting residents' quality of life and water.

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