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Sierra Nevada Forest and Community Initiative

  • A recent study commissioned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission estimates that damages from the 410-square-mile Rim fire on the natural environment and to property value could total between about $250 million and $1.8 billion. Researchers from Earth Economics found that between $100 million and $736 million was lost in environmental benefits, between $102 million and $797 million was lost in carbon storage, and fire-related private property value loss ranges from $49.7 million to $265 million. David Batker, executive director of Earth Economics, said researchers couldn’t or didn’t estimate some “values” from the ecosystem such as a fire’s impact on the water supply or the loss of health due to air quality damage. He said the estimates were “very, very conservative. The actual damage will be larger.”,0,446155.story#ixzz2pdtoIQVL --LA Times, December 27, 2013
  • On August 21, over 7,000 firefighters were battling a dozen major wildfires across California, that in total have charred over 100,000 acres.(California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's California Statewide Fire Summary, Wednesday, August 21, 2013)
  • As of mid-June in 2013, more than 51,000-acres have burned across California, 32,000 more acres than this time last year. Cal Fire has responded to 2,600 fires so far in 2013, a 75% increase from 2012. (Daniel Berlant, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, LA Times, June 17, 2013)
  • California has been experiencing lower-than-average rainfall for about eight years, which pushes up the dry season and raises the risk of wildfires. (NASA climatologist Bill Patzert, NBC news, June 2013).
  • 11 of the 20 largest fires in California history have happened in the past 10 years. (Daniel Berlant, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, NBC News, June 2013)
  • Nationally, in the last decade, the number of burned acreage has topped 9 million three times, said Randy Eardley, spokesman for the National Interagency Fire Center, which tracks all wildfires in America. Seven of the worst fire years in recorded history happened since 2000, he said. (NBC News, June 2013)

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Cook-Fisher
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Cook-Fisher

Sierra Nevada Forest and Community Initiative (SNFCI)

Sierra Nevada forests are one of the primary sources for California’s rich biodiversity, the source of most of California’s water and a premier recreational destination for people around the world. Large, damaging wildfires threaten this resource and put at risk the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) Region’s many contributions to all of California. Overgrown forests in much of the Sierra increases California’s risk for catastrophic wildfires that can result in serious statewide consequences. While periodic fire is part of a healthy ecosystem, the current condition of many of our forests makes these beneficial fires less likely and when the larger, more intense fires occur, these positive benefits are not realized. Sierra Nevada forests and watersheds are a savings account the State of California relies on for a variety of needs critical to life. We need thoughtful management, active collaboration and continued investment to ensure that this important Region will remain a jewel in the crown of the state’s treasured natural resources, beautiful natural wonders, and important community-sustaining working landscapes. The SNC is committed to identifying, supporting, and implementing actions that support the health and preservation of our forests. The video link below provides an overview of the Sierra Nevada Forest and Community Initiative (SNFCI).

Sierra Nevada Forest and Community Initiative Video

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy's Proposition 84 Grant Program has awarded over $50 million in funds to a wide variety of projects, many of which supported efforts that reduced the risk of large damaging wildfires that threaten communities, water reliability, and quality for Californians, and at the same time, created much needed jobs. The video links below include examples of some of these projects.

American River Shaded Fuelbreak
Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions


    • November 2013 - The Sierra National Forest was announced as one of the recipients of the annual Region 5 Regional Forester’s Honor Awards for the Whiskey Ridge Ecological Restoration Project.This award is given as a special tribute to those who demonstrated outstanding professionalism, customer service, and exemplary leadership in advancing the Forest Service mission.  The collaborative process and facilitation for this project was provided through a strong partnership with Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) staff and was an outgrowth of the Sustainable Forests and Communities Collaborative, also sponsored by the SNC.
    • September 2013 - $250,000 Wood Energy Team grant.The Sierra Nevada Conservancy is part of a collaborative which was recently awarded a $250,000 Wood Energy Team grant  from the US Forest Service. This funding will be used to enhance education and technical assistance to communities pursuing bioenergy facilities and to coordinate bioenergy activities state-wide.  The program will be managed by the  Watershed Training and Research Center under the guidance of the state-wide Biomass Working Group. This award was one  of only five that were awarded nationwide, and the only project awarded in California.

      For more good news about the work SNFCI is supporting, click here.

      The SNC leads, supports or participates in a wide range of local and regional collaborations striving to achieve the triple bottom line of environmental, social and economic health in our Sierra forests and the communities to which they are connected.