Know your nonprofit: Yuba Watershed Institute |

Know your nonprofit: Yuba Watershed Institute

Contact information:

Facebook: YubaWatershedInstitute

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Founded: 1990

Purpose: The Yuba Watershed Institute is a citizen led non-profit based in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. We are focused on sustainable land management, habitat restoration, wildlife monitoring, and place-based education.

What is your mission statement?

The Yuba Watershed Institute (YWI) is a group of citizens concerned with the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of long-term biological diversity within the Yuba River watershed.

How many paid employees do you have?

One employee.

What is your nonprofit’s history?

YWI’s flagship project, known as the Inimim Forest, is nearly 2,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management lands intermingled with private property on the San Juan Ridge in Nevada County, a 30-mile long narrow ridge between the South and Middle Yuba rivers with an approximate population of 2,500 people.

Our long-term vision is a healthy, diverse forest that is home to both wild creatures and human beings and is ecologically and economically sustainable over centuries.

To this end, we are involved in research projects for the understanding and protection of our native flora and fauna, as well as for development of a forest-based human economy.

Background – The YWI and the Inimim Forest

In October 1990 members of the Yuba Watershed Institute signed a ground-breaking cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Land Management and the Timber Framers Guild providing for the joint management of 1,388 (now expanded to 1,813) acres of federal forest land on 10 parcels on the San Juan Ridge in western Nevada County. These lands are now known as the Inimim Forest. (Inimim is the Nisenan word for Ponderosa pine.)

Our agreement calls for the restoration of the Inimim Forest to an old-growth condition, management of its timber on an ecologically sustainable yield basis, and protection of wildlife, cultural, historical, recreational, educational and scenic values of this forest.

The community-drafted Inimim Forest Plan is the first of its kind in the United States.

Who is your primary audience?

Residents and concerned citizens from the headwaters of the Yuba Watershed to the sea.

List the biggest achievements in your nonprofit’s history:

Drafting and implementing the Inimim Forest Management Plan; publishing the book “The Nature of this Place,” a selection of articles drawn from our annual journals “Tree Rings”; and publishing a curriculum for school children, in conjunction with Sierra Streams Institute, based on “The Nature of this Place.”

List the biggest challenges you face:

Limited resources to continue our stewardship of the Inimim Forest, which includes invasive plant removal, sustainable logging and forestry, meadow restoration and wildlife monitoring.

The potential reopening of gold mining in and near the Inimim Forest, with potential negative impacts on wildlife, flora and water resources.

What is your No. 1 short-term goal for the next year?

Stop the mining!

What is your No. 1 long-term goal for the next three years?

Implementing a stewardship/forestry protocol as outlined in the GTR 220 document, which calls for a more “natural” kind of assessment and management plan for determining and maintaining the health and sustainability of a forest.

What are your major fundraisers and dates?

We offer a year-round series of educational outings and lectures. Those who are interested should check out our website for more information.

This year will be the 16th annual Fungus Foray and Wild Mushroom Exhibition. It’s a great community event. The foray is Dec. 21 at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center and the Wild Mushroom Expo is at the Miner’s Foundry on Dec. 22. Times will be announced.

What is the best way that a person interested in your organization could help?

Volunteer for work party days, our water monitoring program and participate in our educational events and outings.

Center for Nonprofit Leadership member:

Since September 2013.

Success story: How has your organization benefited the community?

For more than 20 years YWI has participated in and encouraged citizen-based science — the Fungus Foray being the longest and most prominent project. We have offered lectures, outings and events featuring some of the best scientists, authorities and experts in their fields.

YWI’s Inimim Forest Management Plan has stewarded public lands for the benefit of the community with fuel load reductions, restoration projects, selective timber thinning, protection of old-growth stands and wildlife-monitoring programs.

The Yuba Watershed Institute is a member of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership, which provides The Union’s with its Know Your Nonprofit feature. Learn more about The Center for Nonprofit Leadership at http://www.CNL CNL is on Face book ProfitLeadership and Twitter @NevCoNonprofits.

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