Localizing California Waters 2016 Conference

November 1 – 4, 2016

All of us here at Rush Creek are excited about the upcoming Localizing California Water Conference, hosted just down the road at our sister property, the Evergreen Lodge. This progressive conference serves as a hands-on intensive for water conservation and reuse on both personal and commercial levels.

Newcomers to the water conservation scene and expert conservationists alike are invited to submerge themselves in 4 days jammed packed with seminars, workshops and panels featuring over 40 speakers. Take a look at the agenda online.

Space is limited but there are still a few seats available, with registration options ranging from $175 per day or $250 for a four-day pass. Both Rush Creek and the Evergreen are extending special lodging rates to conference attendees (see details below).

Best of all, between sessions you can enjoy all of the amenities at both lodges, including live music, yoga, therapeutic massage, hot tub stargazing, and a wealth of other opportunities for fun and relaxation. Plus, our friendly Recreation guides are here to help you make the most of your time with additional adventures in and around Yosemite.

The Inside Scoop from Megan

Thinking about the importance of Localizing California Waters takes me back to the first time I drove into Yosemite National Park just a few years ago. I was glued to the windows before I even entered the park! Coming from Florida, the drive along Highway 120 felt as if we were entering a whole new world as we worked our way up the mountain. We were easily fascinated by everything–the landscape, the granite peaks, the endless blue skies, the massive golden and green trees lining the way. It would be months after working and living in this dream world that I would learn that it was unusual to see so many golden trees outside of the Fall season. This colorful world I had entered was impacted by California’s drought, resulting in these majestic golden trees that are sprinkled amongst the Evergreen pine trees adorning the entrance to Yosemite.

As the effects of drought become more apparent throughout California, much like the growing number of golden pines lining the way to Yosemite, we must get creative with where we get our water and how we choose to use it. What to do, how to do it, and why bother – these are important concepts that merit our attention, especially if we aspire to create and run an environmentally-friendly and sustainable businesses and households.

The main source of water for most structures in our region are reservoirs that have been collecting water for ages. Here at Rush Creek Lodge and at the Evergreen we rely on well water that is pumped through over 700 feet of granite, so it’s critical to manage this resource in the smartest way possible.

Back in 2010, the owners of the Evergreen embarked on a great journey with Regina Hirsch and team at Sierra Watershed Progressive  to implement a comprehensive grey water system that recycles roughly 1.8 million gallons of water annually from guest cabins, staff housing and commercial laundry.

We’ve been fortunate to take what we learned at the Evergreen and implement it on a much larger scale when building Rush Creek Lodge’s system. Regina and her team put together a series of gravity fed irrigation and reuse systems that  allow us to recycle 3.8 million gallons of water annually, using zero energy to irrigate 95% of our landscape, and keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum.

Regina explains in greater detail in this video.

The Sierra Watershed Progressive’s dedicated crew has taken our 20 acres of hillside woods and turned it into not only a functional water reuse system, but also an artistry of local and native plants that represent our area and the Sierra Nevada beautifully. This stands as quite a feat, making it the largest known greywater system in California, and taking us one giant step forward in our efforts to alleviate the stresses of the drought.

Finding out how to use water responsibly and tackle the drought head-on is the cornerstone for the Localizing California Waters Conference. Meet water experts from diverse backgrounds covering stormwater, rainwater, greywater, blackwater, California Water Reuse Policy and watershed management – all integral parts of preserving this precious resource.

Some of these experts, like Olivia Wright of the Sierra Watershed Progressive, have helped us here at Rush Creek Lodge to implement systems, train employees and inform our guests on efforts of responsible water use.

“This conference will give you insight into permitting, actual builds and the rebates regarding modifying your home to conserve water. It’s also a great opportunity to get involved in developing ideas for policy regarding water conservation.”

Olivia Wright of Sierra Watershed Progressive

Now for the details:

The Localizing California Waters Conference is happening from November 1st through 4th here in the northwest Yosemite Gateway area. Conference registration is $250 for all four days; a single day pass is $175; and the Keynote Dinner and Awards Ceremony on November 3rd is $38.25 per person.  The seminars also serve as continuing education units; you can earn up to 20 credits. See the full agenda here.

As for hotel accommodations:

Both Rush Creek Lodge and Evergreen Lodge are excited to welcome conference attendees, and have set some rooms and cabins aside at special rates so you can relax and enjoy all the amenities between sessions. Just be sure to enter promo code LCW when you book online for either lodge: Rush Creek Lodge rooms start at $146.25 per night, and Evergreen Lodge Cabins start at $136.50 per night. Rates are double occupancy, do not include tax, and may not be combined with other discounts.

We hope to see you there, and we encourage you to help us spread the word about this meaningful work!

Megan Gerace, October 23, 2016