CLOVIS – The Sierra National Forest and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have been awarded $3.3 million to implement the “Central Sierra Recovery and Restoration” Project through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership.
The funding is aimed at allowing the Forest Service and NRCS, along with state and local partners, to continue to improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public forests and grasslands connect to private lands.
“With this funding, our vision is to restore landscapes, reduce wildfire threats to communities and landowners, protect water quality and supply, and improve habitat for at-risk species, while working seamlessly across public and private lands,” said Curtis Tarver, assistant state conservationist for NRCS in California.
“This collaboration is helping local partners meet the growing challenges that come with protecting communities, watersheds, forests and woodlands from the devastating and costly impacts of wildfires and other threats, protecting water resources, and improving wildlife habitat,” said Dean Gould, Forest Supervisor for the Sierra National Forest.
The Central Sierra Recovery and Restoration Project encompasses the front country of the Sierra National Forest and adjacent private lands from the Merced River to the Kings River. The project area covers more than 400,000 acres of National Forest System lands as well as private ranches and timber lands, organizational camps, recreation residences, and twelve isolated communities and subdivisions — areas that provide habitat for many threatened, endangered, and at-risk species.
The Central Sierra Recovery and Restoration Project area has been heavily impacted by extended drought conditions and insect infestations that have caused extensive mortality of many tree species throughout the Sierra Nevada, says the Forest Service. Threats to this landscape include falling trees, potential for extreme wildfire intensity with associated risks to communities, loss of habitat for wildlife, and post-fire sedimentation into reservoirs resulting in degraded water quality and reduced water storage and availability.
Through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership, NRCS and the Forest Service plan to invest $32 million nationwide in fiscal year 2017, add 10 new projects and support 26 ongoing partnership projects. Partners are expected to bring an additional $30 million through financial and in-kind contributions over three years for implementing the 10 new projects.
For full project descriptions and information on completed and ongoing projects, visit the USDA Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership website.
Partners include: Sierra Nevada Conservancy, California Department of Water Resources, Highway 168 Fire Safe Council, Fresno County Office of Emergency Services and Public Works, Cal Fire, Mariposa County Fire Safe Council, Mariposa Biomass Workgroup, Mariposa Office of Emergency Services, Sierra Resource Conservation District (North Fork Biomass Facility), Coarsegold Resource Conservation District, Mariposa Resource Conservation District, Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council, Mariposa County Office of Emergency Services and Public Works, Pacific Gas & Electric Company Vegetation Management, Pacific Gas & Electric Company – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Hydro Division, Caltrans Divisions 6 & 10, Southern California Edison – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Hydro Division, Southern California Edison -Vegetation Management.
Total funding for 2017 projects is $3,370,911, with $1,571,567 going to the NRCS, and $1,799,344 to the Forest Service.