From Watershed Health Seeds to Landscape-Scale Returns

Our forest health coordination and capacity building investments are showing returns.

Earlier this week, U.S. Forest Service announced awards for 10 landscape scale projects in the American west – two in California, and both supported by our Division of Land Resource Protection watershed coordinator grants.

Combined, the two projects – the Yuba Landscape Project and Stanislaus Landscape Project – total a planned 50,000 acres of treatment across more than 1 million acres of forest landscape – an $80 million investment.

North Yuba Landscape Project

A mountain autumn scenery along the North Yuba River.

Awarded $25.5 million, the North Yuba Landscape Project will work with the North Yuba Forest Partnership to transition up to 16,900 acres of watershed to a healthier and more climate-resilient state, reducing wildfire risk for the local community.

A watershed coordinator grant of just over $234,000 from Division of Land Resource Protection (DLRP) in 2019 helped make the large grant possible by allowing the South Yuba River Citizen’s League to hire a watershed coordinator to act as a lead for this partnership.

From the DLRP grant to the USDA, expected outcomes include “improved watershed resilience by protecting 260,000 acre-feet of water supply for 60,000 acres of productive farmland while also protecting water quality in the Sacramento Delta.”

Stanislaus Landscape Project

Stanislaus National Park during the summer.

Awarded $55 million, this project will target new methods from the Social and Ecological Resilience Across the Landscape (SERAL) Act for vegetation treatments that could help natural fireland adapt into a more robust ecosystem.

Another $235,000 watershed coordinator grant from DLRP in 2019 helped the Tuolumne River Trust to hire a project lead for SERAL. Tuolumne River Trust is part of the collaborative Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions (YSS), a collection of entities dedicated to achieving healthy forests and watersheds.

“These two projects are spearheaded by collaborative, multi-party partnerships,” said Director David Shabazian. “And while we could never want to take credit for their work, we are proud of the instrumental role our Forest Health Watershed Coordinator grants play in realizing these projects.”

Watershed Management – A Pillar of Our Work

These are just two of the eight forest health watershed coordinator grants awarded by DLRP in 2019 to build local capacity to improve the health of forests.

Watershed management is a pillar of the Department of Conservation, which supports stewardship of California’s watersheds to protect environmental and economic sustainability.

Follow Department of Conservation’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more on our role in managing California’s hazards, watersheds, and carbon while supporting the state’s economic development.

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