Supervisors seek funding for Sierra Nevada Conservancy | TheUnion.com

Supervisors seek funding for Sierra Nevada Conservancy

Dave Moller
Senior Staff Writer

Five years after being established, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy is out of cash.

To keep money flowing into environmental and economic projects in the region – including wildfire prevention – the Nevada County Board Of Supervisors is lobbying area legislators to restore funding for the conservancy through a water bond measure being negotiated by the state Legislature.

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy was created in 2004 and funded with $50 million in 2007 through the passage of Prop. 84. Its mission is to provide strategic direction for fostering the environmental, economic and social well-being of the region.

“That money has run out,” said Supervisor Nate Beason, who spearheaded the effort for a letter sent last week to Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda, and state senators Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, and Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks.

Based in Auburn and covering 25 million acres in 22 counties, the conservancy has given out $20 million so far. About $1.9 million has gone to Nevada County projects, including $1 million to help purchase 2,700 acres along the Middle Yuba River to connect Bullards Bar Recreation Area to South Yuba River State Park.

Other Nevada County grants from the conservancy include $400,000 to complete a community fire break around Scotts Flat Reservoir to protect the Deer Creek watershed and the Grass Valley-Nevada City area from catastrophic fire.

Another $84,000 went to the South Yuba River Citizens League for its ongoing water quality monitoring program on the river watershed.

“We are the watershed, basically,” Beason said. “If we can reduce our fuel loads, we have less intense wildfires and less danger to the watershed.”

“It seems appropriate that the area that produces 65 percent of the state’s watershed be included in a water bond bill,” added conservancy Executive Officer Jim Branham. “The remainder of the money we have could last us two to three years.”

The conservancy is holding a Web-based symposium at various locations around the Sierra Thursday to take public comment on how to protect the Sierra Nevada’s watershed, ecology and economy.

A symposium for western Nevada County will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. today, at the Gold Miners Inn-Holiday Inn Express ballroom at 121 Bank St., Grass Valley.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call 477-4237.


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