Mountain meadows occur in relatively flat areas where sediment and water accumulates. Meadows habitats are highly diverse, sequester carbon, and often provide habitat for sensitive or threatened species. Meadows store and filter water, releasing cool water slowly into the summer months when California needs it the most. However, most meadows in the Sierra Nevada have been degraded by past human land use activities. Meadows that have degraded due to issues like grazing, climate change, lack of fire, timber harvesting, road and trail building are more susceptible to channel erosion and a lowered groundwater table. Because meadows are of both hydrological and ecological importance, SYRCL has taken on the task of assessing and restoring meadows in the Yuba watershed.
SYRCL has completed restoration implementation in partnership with the Tahoe National Forest on Loney Meadow, Deer Meadow and Beartrap Meadow. Currently, SYRCL and the Tahoe National Forest are actively working to restore Van Norden Meadow, and are in the early planning and monitoring phase for three meadows in the North Yuba Basin included in our Haskell Peak Meadows Project. These meadows all range in size, degree of degradation, and restoration need. Over the last decade, SYRCL has worked closely with the US Forest Service and researchers to understand and improve the Yuba watershed’s meadow ecosystems through meadow assessments and restoration projects focused on revitalization of stream and wetland habitats. Additionally, we continue to monitor the success of our projects by gathering data that provides insight into how restoration efforts are benefitting ecosystem function in meadows.
Meadow Restoration Projects
SYRCL receives support for our Yuba Headwaters Meadow Restoration Program from the following:
California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Earthwatch, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Tahoe National Forest, National Forest Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, California Department of Water Resources through The Cosumnes, American, Bear, Yuba Integrated Regional Water Management Project (CABY), Nevada County RAC, and Wildlife Conservation Board.
SYRCL is pleased to be working with many partners on our meadow restoration work, including:
Tahoe National Forest, Nevada County, Sierra County, UC Davis, UC Merced, University of Nevada-Reno, Stillwater Sciences, California Trout, Sierra Meadows Partnership, Balance Hydrologics, Truckee Donner Land Trust, California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project (CHIRP), CABY, Gateway Mountain Center, Point Blue Conservation Science, Sonoma State, Plumas Corps, and Stantec.
Thank you to all of our partners, funders, and the volunteers who help make this program a success!
River Science Program Manager
(530) 265-5961 ext. 224