Sierra Nevada Conservancy awards $3.1 million for projects that reduce tree mortality and protect watershed health
(AUBURN, Calif.) – Today the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) Governing Board approved $3.1 million in grants for ten projects that will decrease wildfire risk, lessen tree mortality, and restore forest and watershed health in the Sierra Nevada region. Funding for these projects comes from Proposition 1, The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014. This is the fifth set of awards made under the SNC’s Proposition 1 grant program.
In addition to meeting the requirements of Proposition 1, the projects awarded support the goals and objectives of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program, a large‑scale restoration program designed to address ecosystem health in the Sierra Nevada. This program is being coordinated by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service, and is working to increase the pace and scale of restoration across the Sierra by increasing funding, addressing policy barriers, and increasing infrastructure needed to support restoration.
Sierra Nevada forests are facing a variety of challenges, and the need to increase the pace and scale of restoration across the Sierra Nevada region is more urgent than ever. According to the U.S. Forest Service, 102 million trees have died statewide since 2010. Ninety-five percent of those dead trees are in the Sierra Nevada region.
“Sierra forests are the source of more than sixty percent of California’s developed water supply, but these forests have experienced rapid and significant change,” says Jim Branham, Executive Officer for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. “The grants that were awarded by our board today are great examples of the kind of work we need to be encouraging across the entire Sierra to protect the source of California’s water.”
“It is important that we invest in projects like these through the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program because they help make our forests more resilient to insects, drought, large, damaging wildfires, and disease,” says Randy Moore, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester.
Upper Feather River watershed projects approved for funding include:
Plumas County – Genesee Valley Watershed Improvement Project, $74,576
This grant to the Plumas Audubon Society will complete wildlife and botanical surveys, a cultural resource inventory, and soils and hydrological analyses that will support the completion of environmental documentation on 618 acres on the Plumas National Forest and 221 acres on the privately owned Heart K Ranch. The work completed under this grant will support the next phase of forest thinning and underburning, which will incorporate Traditional Ecological Knowledge recommendations from the local Maidu people. Both properties are identified as priority project areas in the recently completed Genesee Valley Wildfire Restoration Plan. The project location is within Genesee Valley on Indian Creek, a significant tributary to the north fork of the Feather River.
Plumas County – Tásmam Kojóm Restoration Management Plan, $73,312
This grant to the Maidu Summit Consortium and Conservancy will help complete an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to support future implementation of the Tásmam Kojóm Land Management Plan on Tásmam Kojóm, a 2,326-acre parcel that includes a meadow, streams, springs, and overstocked mixed conifer forest, and is a culturally important place to the Mountain Maidu.
To date, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy has funded 32 Proposition 1 projects totaling $9,881,830 that support the restoration goals of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program.