NEVADA CITY, Calif., August 28, 2023 — The Yuba Watershed Institute (YWI) invites community members to a public meeting discussing the Little Deer Creek Landscape Resilience Project. This collaborative initiative aims to enhance forest health and reduce wildfire risks in the lower Banner Mountain area, and involves the following key partners: U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT), Sierra Streams Institute (SSI), and private landowners.

 The D.S. Canal, which bisects the project area running through the BLM property, supplies irrigation water to over 900 Nevada Irrigation District customers.
The D.S. Canal, which bisects the project area running through the BLM property, supplies irrigation water to over 900 Nevada Irrigation District customers.

“This project is crucial for both ecological resilience and community safety. We aim to substantially reduce the risk of high-severity wildfires by targeting the removal of understory and ladder fuels,” said Chris Friedel, Executive Director at the YWI.

About the Project

The Little Deer Creek Landscape Resilience Project will focus on approximately 200 acres of both BLM and private lands, which include essential community resources like Nevada Irrigation District’s Cascade and DS Canals, BYLT’s Woodpecker Preserve, a water treatment and water storage facility for the City of Nevada City, the Cascade Canal and Orene Weatherall Trails, and the Nevada County Sportsmen Club archery range.

Little Deer Creek Project map

The aim is to enhance the forest’s resilience to wildfires, droughts, and bark beetle infestations, while also improving safety for nearby residents and firefighting personnel.

High-Stakes in a Changing Climate

The project area currently faces an escalated risk of high-severity wildfires and subsequent effects, including loss of mature tree cover and soil destabilization. These factors adversely impact water quality and elevate the risk to densely populated centers in Nevada City and Grass Valley.

The heightened wildfire risk, combined with the close proximity of densely populated areas in Nevada City, Grass Valley, and along Banner Lava Cap Road, amplifies the potential for property damage and poses a serious threat to public safety.

The Meeting

The public meeting is scheduled for September 6, from 7 to 9 pm, at the Seaman’s Lodge in Pioneer Park (427 Nimrod St, Nevada City, CA 95959). Draft plans will be presented, and representatives from the YWI, BLM, BYLT, and SSI will be available for a Q&A session.

Project Methodology and Next Steps

Proposed treatments include mechanical mastication, hand cutting and chipping, pile burning, and lop and scatter techniques. The focus will be on the removal of smaller trees and shrubs (10 inches diameter or less) as well as larger dead or dying hazard trees.

The planning for this groundbreaking project is in its final stages, and the YWI is actively seeking funding for its full implementation.

About the Yuba Watershed Institute

The YWI is a non-profit organization that works to protect and restore the natural resources of the Yuba River watershed through community education and land stewardship. The YWI helps to manage over 3,000 acres of federal land in Nevada County in partnership with the BLM.  For more information, please visit