North Yuba Forest Partnership awarded $34.8 million for forest restoration work in Yuba River watershed.
The North Yuba Forest Partnership is set to receive $34.8 million in federal funding to support the implementation of forest restoration treatments in the North Yuba River watershed. The treatments this funding will support, such as ecologically based thinning and prescribed fire, are designed to promote forest conditions that are more resilient, while reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire and restoring watershed health and native biodiversity.
The North Yuba Forest Partnership was formed in 2019 to improve and protect the health of the forests and communities in the North Yuba River watershed. Participating partners include South Yuba River Citizens League, Yuba Water Agency, U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Camptonville Community Partnership, Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe, National Forest Foundation, Sierra County, and Blue Forest Conservation.
The new federal funding supporting the North Yuba Forest Partnership’s restoration treatments was announced by the U.S. Forest Service in two separate releases last month.
On Apr. 12, United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore announced that the North Yuba River watershed is one of 10 landscapes that will be funded under the U.S. Forest Service’s new 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy implementation. 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 North Yuba landscape will receive significant federal investment as part of the first round of funding under the strategy. This funding will provide $6.8 million to treat 4,500 acres in 2022 and an expected $25 million in 2023-24 for the treatment of an additional 16,900 acres. These funds will be used towards increasing the pace and scale of projects that the North Yuba Forest Partnership has been working on since the memorandum of understanding was signed in 2019.
The 313,000-acre North Yuba landscape is one of the largest, contiguous “unburned” landscapes remaining in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The watershed is also an important water source for residential and agricultural areas surrounding Sacramento.
“The North Yuba Forest Partnership has made incredible progress and demonstrated a cohesive commitment to seeing this invaluable work come to fruition across the North Yuba River watershed. We partners are honored by these funds and this recognition, and we’re extremely proud of our continued efforts,” said Kat Perlman, Forest Conservation Program Manager at the South Yuba River Citizens League.
A second announcement by the U.S. Forest Service on Apr. 18 committed an additional $3 million for work in the North Yuba River watershed in 2022 as part of its Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program. These funds will also be used for implementation-ready projects.
“SYRCL is proud to be a part of this effort to plan and treat at an unprecedented pace and scale—working on an area an order of magnitude larger than other ‘large’ forest health projects in the state. Receiving this funding now is pivotal to addressing the high risk of catastrophic wildfire in this region to address forest and watershed health, community safety, and protecting our water supply,” stated Melinda Booth, Executive Director at the South Yuba River Citizens League.