Fire, Water, Healthy Forests, and Communities Sierra Nevada Conservancy Issues Annual Report

Auburn, CA…The Sierra Nevada Conservancy today released its annual report for the recently concluded state fiscal year, providing an overview of what is needed to restore the Sierra to ecological health, and supply abundant clean water to some 23 million Californians.

“We hope the report will provide an understanding of just how important the Sierra Nevada is to the rest of California, while highlighting projects and activities that demonstrate and support the need for investment in upper watersheds,” said SNC Executive Officer Jim Branham. “This Annual Report and the recently released Proposition 84 Report — ‘Investing in California’s Watershed’ — will complement one another and provide examples of current on-the-ground success stories, as well as work that lies ahead.”

Highlights of the report include the following:

· Forest biomass-to-energy efforts, which assist in forest restoration, provide alternative energy and create jobs

· The Sierra Nevada Forest and Community Initiative, a collaborative approach to solving disagreements over forest management and environmental protection

· The impact from legacy Gold Rush era abandoned mines on California’s watersheds

· A special case study underway on the Mokelumne River watershed that calculates and quantifies the cost of watershed restoration, (fuels thinning and forest health work) compared to the cost associated with the effects of large fires

· An outline of the SNC’s $50 million Prop. 84 grant program for nearly 300 projects in the Sierra

“More than 60 percent of California’s developed water supply begins as snow and rain in the Sierra,” said Branham. Our forests help clean our air, provide recreation and wildlife habitat and produce wood products important to our state’s economy. Investing in the Sierra Nevada Region makes sense for all Californians, not just those of us living and working here.”

About the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Governing Board

Created in 2004, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) is a state agency whose mission is to improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada Region. The SNC, which receives no general fund tax dollars, has awarded over $52.1 million in grants for projects to protect and enhance the health of California’s watersheds by improving forest health, remediating mercury contamination from abandoned mines, protecting critical natural resources and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire. Funding for these projects comes from Proposition 84 passed by voters in 2006.

Six of the 13 SNC Governing Boardmembers are self-appointed, locally-elected county supervisors. The Board meets quarterly around the Sierra Nevada Region, which spans 25 million acres, encompasses all or part of 22 counties, and runs from the Oregon border on the north, to Kern County.