MARKLEEVILLE, Calif. September 8, 2016 – Today the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) Governing Board approved over $2 million in grants for projects that will reduce wildfire risk 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 fourth set of awards made under the SNC’s Proposition 1 grant program.
“Sierra watersheds continue to face many challenges,” says Jim Branham, Executive Officer for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. “These projects can help protect our watersheds from large, damaging wildfires, insects, and disease, and make them more resilient to a changing climate.”
The projects approved for funding include:
- Calaveras County – Pumpkin Hollow Restoration Project, $500,000
This grant to the Upper Mokelumne River Watershed Authority will complete aspen, forest, and meadow restoration, and the construction of a shaded fuel break on 971 acres. The project area is a part of the Hemlock Landscape Restoration Project and the even larger Cornerstone Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration project. The restoration treatments are designed to improve watershed conditions within the headwaters of the Mokelumne and Stanislaus Rivers.
- Nevada County – Webber Lake Little Truckee River Headwaters Timber Management Plan, $70,000
This grant to the Truckee Donner Land Trust will complete a Nonindustrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP) that will guide long-term management of overstocked and diseased forest conditions on 3,000 acres of lake, meadow, and forest habitat in the headwaters of the Little Truckee River.
- Plumas County – Bucks Lake Project, $464,025
This grant to the Plumas County Fire Safe Council will thin overgrown forest conditions on 342.5 acres located in the Plumas National Forest in order to protect the North Fork Feather Watershed from large, damaging wildfires. This project will complete the last phase of the 1,511 acre Bucks Lake Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project, and will contribute to a large scale effort by the Plumas National Forest to increase resiliency to high-intensity wildfires.
- Butte County – Butte Forest Thin – Doe Mill Ridge Watershed Project, $494,697
This grant to the Sacramento River Watershed Program will use forest thinning and low intensity prescribed fire to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire, control invasive species, restore habitat, and demonstrate the linkages between management of upstream areas and the impacts on downstream water availability and quality. The project is located on 227.5 acres of public land managed by the BLM between Little Chico Creek and Butte Creek within the Sacramento River watershed.
- Tuolumne County – Beaver Creek Watershed Improvement Project, $500,000
This grant to the Save the Redwoods League will treat 336 acres adjacent to the Calaveras Big Trees State Park (CBTSP) to protect Beaver Creek, which drains to the North Fork Stanislaus River and eventually to New Melones Lake. The treatment includes thinning overgrown forests, and the creation of two fuel breaks that will link open fields and buffer the South Grove of the CBTSP.
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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 seeks to increase the pace and scale of restoration across the Sierra by increasing funding, addressing policy barriers, and increasing infrastructure needed to support restoration.
“The projects awarded today are a great example of the on-the-ground work we are accomplishing through the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program,” says Randy Moore, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester.
To date, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy has funded 17 Proposition 1 projects totaling $4,698,280 that support the restoration goals of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program.
About the Sierra Nevada Conservancy
Created in 2004, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) is a state agency whose mission is to improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada Region. The SNC has awarded over $50 million in grants for projects to protect and enhance the health of California’s primary watersheds by improving forest health, remediating mercury contamination from abandoned mines, protecting critical natural resources, and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire. Funding for these projects came from Proposition 84 passed by voters in 2006 and Proposition 1 passed by voters in 2014.
The Sierra Nevada Region spans 25 million acres, encompasses all or part of 22 counties, and runs from the Oregon border on the north to Kern County on the south. The Region is the origin of more than 60 percent of California’s developed water supply.