What is a healthy forest supposed to look like?
Prior to the Gold Rush, fire was a critical part of a healthy ecosystem in the Yuba watershed. Forests had large, widely spaced trees intermixed with patches of vegetation that served as vibrant habitat for wildlife. Today, many forests have a high density of smaller trees due to fire suppression and historic land management practices — and this has increased the threat of high-severity wildfire. As the climate changes, the likelihood of catastrophic wildfire in our watershed continues to grow, endangering our water security and the land and communities so dear to us. A healthy forest would alleviate those dangers, increase water supply, and reduce risk of soil loss and reservoir sedimentation. This makes restoration actions and adaptive land management in the Yuba River watershed more important than ever before.
What is SYRCL doing to help our Yuba forests?
In 2019, SYRCL received support from the California Department of Conservation and Yuba Water Agency to hire two watershed coordinators who are working to bring together the community to protect and restore the Yuba River watershed through large-scale, collaborative, and science-based forest health projects. Thanks to that support, SYRCL has initiated a Forest Health program dedicated to working at the landscape scale with an emphasis on collaboration. SYRCL is organizing the Yuba Watershed Forest Collaborative (YWFC) and a founding partner of the North Yuba Forest Partnership (NYFP). The forest health projects developed through these collaborative efforts will restore the forest’s resilience to wildfire, pests, and diseases, improve wildlife habitat, increase the flow of water reaching our river and meadows, contribute to a sustainable forest products industry, and benefit the people who live and play in the watershed. You can’t have a healthy watershed without a healthy forest.
What can I do to help?
Please consider signing our action letter to Congressmen LaMalfa and McClintock. The Yuba forests need science-based policies and strong government leadership and support in order for Forest Health projects to be successfully implemented. There is a lot of work to be done, and SYRCL needs the whole community to unite to protect the Yuba River watershed on this important issue. Also consider becoming a dues paying SYRCL member. The Yuba forests are counting on you, and so are we.
This action will be ongoing throughout the Wild & Scenic Film Festival January 16-20, 2020. If you are attending the Festival, look out for SYRCL volunteers at our Environmental Action Tables at every venue before each film session. For more general information, visit our SYRCL Forest Health main page and check out our North Yuba Forest Partnership work as well.