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On March 21, 2019, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), in partnership with the Tahoe National Forest (TNF), the Camptonville Community Partnership (CCP), and Yuba Water Agency received competitive funding from the California Department of Conservation to lead a groundbreaking, collaborative forest health program in the Yuba River watershed.
The funding was matched 1:1 from Yuba Water Agency, totaling $470,000 to plan forest health projects and develop a forest product industry to address ecosystem resiliency and watershed health concerns in the Yuba River watershed. This funding complements additional recent investments in forest health from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC).
SYRCL Executive Director Melinda Booth said, “This is a tremendous win for SYRCL, but really for the Yuba River watershed. We hope this funding and increased collaboration will address longstanding concerns of high severity wildfire risk in our community, while promoting overall watershed health with diverse partnerships and stakeholders.”
This program will use Department of Conservation funding and matching funds from Yuba Water Agency to hire two Watershed Coordinators for up to four years to work on developing forest health projects and an economically viable and environmentally sustainable forest products industry in the Yuba River watershed. The Watershed Coordinators will work with partners and regional stakeholders to provide technical support and promote community engagement to successfully implement health forest projects in the Yuba River watershed. Their first project will be to plan and implement forest health projects in the North Yuba watershed.
This partnership will support the expansion of the Forest Resilience Bond, a public-private partnership designed to increase the pace and scale of forest health treatments, which launched as a pilot program in this watershed on the Tahoe National Forest in 2018. “The Yuba watershed is an incredibly important resource. I am excited to work with project partners to restore forest health in the Yuba watershed,” noted Tahoe National Forest Supervisor Eli Ilano.
SYRCL River Science Director Rachel Hutchinson also noted that, “This grant is the beginning of a new endeavor by SYRCL to support forest health work that will focus on increasing ecosystem and community resiliency. We are thankful to our regional partners and the Department of Conservation for providing us with funding to move this work forward.”