Update: Van Norden Meadow Restoration Project

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Nevada County Releases Draft IS/MND CEQA Document for Van Norden Meadow Restoration Project

On April 1st, 2022, Nevada County, as a lead agency, released the Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Document for the Van Norden Meadow Restoration and Recreation Project, which is a project collaboration between the South Yuba River Citizens League and the Tahoe National Forest.

“The project is critical to restore and preserve high elevation wetland habitat in the Sierra Nevada” said Alecia Weisman, SYRCL’s River Science Project Manager. “The proposed restoration will also help to create resilience in this threatened habitat in the face of drought, wildfire, and climate change.”

The Van Norden Meadow Restoration and Recreation Project will be implemented on the 485-acre meadow, which is located at the headwaters of the South Yuba River. Van Norden is one of the largest meadows on the west side of the Northern Sierra and is critical for water storage, water quality, wildlife habitat, and forest resiliency. Meadows like Van Norden are also important carbon sinks, a key resource in the fight against climate change.

The Draft IS/MND CEQA document provides a description of the project’s purpose and need as well as the actions proposed to address those needs. The 30-day public comment period is now open, through which people can submit written public comments by May 2, 2022. Comments may be submitted via mail to: Kyle Smith, Associate Planner, Nevada County Planning Department, 950 Maidu Avenue Suite 170, Nevada City, CA 95959 – or via email: Kyle.smith@co.nevada.ca.us.

“We are incredibly excited to move forward with this important project” said Rachel Hutchinson, Eastside Watershed Program Manager/Acting Sierraville District Ranger at Tahoe National Forest. “We have been working with SYRCL and other partners to monitor baseline conditions and develop plans to restore the meadow and provide recreation opportunities since 2013. Our project plans have been informed by the latest scientific information as well as public input. We look forward to receiving more public input through the Environmental Review Process.”

Getting to this step in the process was made possible with the help of the following grants and partners: The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Truckee Donner Land Trust, The Tahoe National Forest, The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s California Climate Investments, Placer County Tourism Master Plan grant program, and The Martis Fund—a collaborative project of Martis Camp landowners, DMB/Highlands Group (the developers of Martis Camp), Mountain Area Preservation (MAP), and Sierra Watch. Cumulatively, this funding, totaling $3.4 million, serves as cost-share to facilitate the securement of final grant funding needed for the project.

The Van Norden Meadow Restoration project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

Completing the CEQA document is a significant step, keeping the project on track for implementation in summer of 2022. Stay tuned for news on attainment of final grant funds needed to support implementation of Phase 1 of the restoration project this summer and future volunteer opportunities.

More information about the project is available HERE

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