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Sierra Nevada Conservancy awards grants to forest health, land conservation projects

Submitted to The Union

A day after a diverse panel of experts discussed a path to address significant challenges facing the Sierra Nevada amidst a changing climate, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy Governing Board approved $13,555,224 in grants to 27 different projects focused on forest health, land conservation, and community resilience throughout the vital 25-million-acre region.

“Achieving resilience in the Sierra Nevada requires a full suite of approaches, from conservation to active forest management to community development,” said Angela Avery, executive officer with the SNC. “The projects funded by our board today represent that full suite of approaches and the holistic nature of the work in our region being carried out under the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program.”

Seventeen of the projects restore and maintain forest health and are funded from Propositions 1 and 68. Seven of the projects establish conservation easements on strategic lands, while three others help local communities become more economically vibrant and safer from natural disasters, such as wildfire. These 10 projects are funded from Proposition 68.

The funding authorized by the board comes just a day after the SNC hosted its 2020 Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP) Summit featuring the California Natural Resources Agency’s Speaker Series. Titled “Stewarding the Sierra Nevada Amidst a Changing Climate,” the one-hour speaker series event focused on the impacts that Sierra Nevada forests, water, wildlife, and communities are experiencing as the region’s climate changes. This enlightening discussion led by Secretary Wade Crowfoot was followed by the introduction of a science-based framework developed by partners involved with the Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative to successfully lead Sierra Nevada forests and communities to resilience. The initiative is a collaborative effort, supported by the SNC, that is effectively increasing pace and scale of restoration across Lake Tahoe and the Central Sierra.

“The TCSI is charting a path to resilient forests and communities based on sound science and strong collaboration,” added Avery. “Our region is experiencing real impacts from a changing climate, and the TCSI represents one of several promising models being developed in the region to guide restoration work.”

In addition to discussing WIP grant funding, the board also authorized funding for tree planting in high-severity burn zones from the 2007 Moonlight Fire. Under the Plumas National Forest Good Neighbor Agreement, the extra work will help restore forestland that was converted into shrubland. For more information on any of the above projects, the WIP, and the TCSI, visit the SNC website at http://www.sierranevada.ca.gov.

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy is a state agency whose mission is to improve the environmental, economic, and social wellbeing of the 25-million-acre Sierra Nevada Region. The SNC leads the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP), a large-scale restoration program designed to restore the health of California’s primary watershed and create resilient Sierra Nevada communities.

Source: Sierra Nevada Conservancy


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