Federal, state and regional stakeholders host summit to discuss Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program to address water, air and climate in California
Sacramento, Calif. – The Sierra Nevada Region is the source of more than 60 percent of the state’s water supply. It provides drinking water for 23 million people and irrigation water to the nation’s most fertile agricultural land. Climate change, catastrophic forest fires, and ongoing drought are placing this important region at risk. The impacts to our forests, habitat, agriculture, public health, energy, and safety are far reaching.
On March 4, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, in partnership with the United States Forest Service (USFS), will launch the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP) in a half-day summit called “Save California: The Urgency to Restore Our Primary Watershed.” The agenda includes a stakeholder discussion to craft solutions that will restore the forests and watersheds of the Sierra Nevada and make them more resilient to changing climate stressors.
WHAT: The summit’s outcome will highlight multi-agency consensus on the strategies that will comprise the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program.
WHEN: Wednesday, March 4 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
WHERE: East End Complex – Across from State Capitol and Department of Health Care Services
1500 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95814
WHO: Presenters and discussion participants include:
· Jim Branham, executive officer, Sierra Nevada Conservancy
· Randy Moore, regional forester for the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service
· Barnie Gyant, deputy regional forester for natural resources for the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service
· Hugh Safford, Ph.D., Pacific Southwest Research Station, U.S. Forest Service
· Leland Tarnay, Ph.D., interagency smoke ecologist, Pacific Southwest Research Station, U.S. Forest Service & Yosemite National Park
· David Edelson, Sierra Nevada project director, The Nature Conservancy
· California Natural Resources Agency
· California Air Resources Board
· California Forestry Association (CFA)
· Sierra Business Council
· Association of California Water Agencies
· The Sierra Fund
· CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife
· Department of Conservation
· CA Dept. of Water Resources
Images of forest devastation, wildfires, dried meadows, before and after shots of the Sierra Nevada, etc.
About the Watershed Improvement Program
The Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP) is a coordinated, integrated, collaborative program to restore the health and resiliency of California’s primary watershed through increased investment and needed policy changes. The WIP builds upon the broad consensus that more must be done to restore Sierra Nevada forests and watersheds. The pace and scale of science-based ecological restoration needs to dramatically increase in order to stem the tide of large, uncharacteristic wildfires and further degradation of these ecosystems. This comprehensive effort is being organized and coordinated by the state’s Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the federal United States Forest Service, in close partnership with additional federal, state, and local agencies, and diverse stakeholders. For more information about the WIP please visit http://www.sierranevada.ca.gov/ wip.
About the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Governing Board
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.
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. Additional information can be found atwww.sierranevada.ca.gov.
About the Pacific Southwest Region of the United States Forest Service
Nearly half of the total 100 million acres in California is managed by the federal government. The Pacific Southwest Region of the US Forest Service manages 21 million acres of National Forest land in California and assists the State and Private forest landowners in California, Hawaii and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. Eighteen national forests are located in this region, in the North Coast, Cascade, and Sierra Nevada ranges and from Big Sur to the Mexican border in the south Coast range. Randy Moore has served as Pacific Southwest Regional Forester since October 2007. The Pacific Southwest Region is commonly referred to as Region 5 (R5).
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.