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Yesterday, United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore announced the North Yuba River watershed as one of the 10 initial landscapes funded for the U.S. Forest Service’s 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy implementation.
Launched earlier this year, the strategy outlines the need to treat up to an additional 20 million acres on national forest lands and up to an additional 30 million acres of other federal, state, Tribal, private and family lands over the next decade. The approximately 313,000-acre North Yuba landscape will receive significant federal investment beginning this year as part of the strategy.
The North Yuba Forest Partnership (NYFP) was formed in 2019 to improve and protect the health of the forests and communities in the North Yuba River watershed. NYFP members appreciate Secretary Vilsack and Chief Moore’s leadership and look forward to making a difference in the North Yuba.
“We are thrilled that the North Yuba landscape has been selected as an early priority area to implement the strategy,” said Matt Millar, National Forest Foundation’s Sierra Nevada program senior manager. “With this national support, the partnership’s effective methods to increase the resilience of our forests, economies and communities can become a model for the nation.”
The partnership is using the latest science to integrate multiple stakeholder priorities into projects with the objective of accomplishing forest restoration and wildfire risk reduction at a landscape scale. Planned activities include meadow restoration, ecological thinning of forest density and prescribed fire.
“With this support from the federal government and each partner’s unique resources, we can advance work on the ground sooner and at an unprecedented landscape scale,” said Melinda Booth, executive director at South Yuba River Citizens League.
The North Yuba landscape stretches from New Bullards Bar Reservoir in Yuba County up to the Sierra Crest along Highway 49 in Sierra County. The anticipated resilience work builds upon and scales up previously successful and innovative efforts in the North Yuba River watershed, including the utilization of a groundbreaking, public-private financing tool called the Forest Resilience Bond (FRB).
"We are excited to continue working alongside our partners at the Forest Service and the NYFP to deploy FRB’s that will leverage this historic federal funding with private investment to increase the pace and scale of forest restoration across the West," said Zach Knight, CEO of Blue Forest Conservation.
By mitigating the risk of high-intensity wildfire and restoring forest health, the NYFP will protect a variety of vital resources, including wildlife habitat, water supply, opportunities for recreation, as well as multiple communities.
“We thank Secretary Vilsack and Chief Moore for joining forces with us to move forward with this important work, which will protect our communities and water supplies by reducing the risk of high-intensity wildfires,” said Willie Whittlesey, Yuba Water Agency’s general manager.
“The North Yuba Forest Partnership is the type of large-scale, collaborative work we need across California, to adapt to the intensifying impacts of wildfires, drought and climate change,” said Dan Porter, forest strategy lead with The Nature Conservancy.
Founded in 2019, members of the NYFP include Blue Forest Conservation, the National Forest Foundation, the Tahoe National Forest, Yuba Water Agency, the South Yuba River Citizens League, Sierra County, the Camptonville Community Partnership, Nevada City Rancheria, and The Nature Conservancy.
For more information about the North Yuba landscape and the North Yuba Forest Partnership, please visit yubaforest.org.