In 2022, The Network for Landscape Conservation awarded the Yuba Forest Network the Catalyst Fund. This fund “strives to accelerate the pace and practice of landscape conservation and stewardship across the United States by making strategic investments in strengthening the collaborative capacity of place-based, community-grounded Landscape Conservation Partnerships.” A major component of the Catalyst Fund is peer learning.
Since being awarded this grant, SYRCL’s Forest Conservation Project Manager, Anne Marie Holt, has been meeting with other 2022 Catalyst Fund grantees monthly to discuss different methods of facilitating a landscape conservation network and how to create a more equitable environment within these organizations.
In May, the Network for Landscape Conservation hosted a three-day retreat at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico for Catalyst Fund grantees not just from 2022, but from 2021 and 2020 as well. The discussions at the conference primarily focused on how to be a collaborative leader and to increase the effectiveness of landscape conservation networks. During the retreat, the attendees traveled to the Jemez Pueblo to learn about landscape stewardship and how it can be based in justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles.
Moving forward, we hope to use these conversations and connections to strengthen the Yuba Forest Network and its provision of resources to increase landscape resiliency and restoration projects in the Yuba River Watershed.
The Yuba and Bear River watersheds in northern California extend over 1,900 square miles and are marked by a diverse array of forest types, meadows, rangeland, cropland, and iconic riparian areas. The landscape is bounded to the east by Sierra Nevada Mountains, to north by the Feather River watershed, and to the south by the American River; to the west, the uplands and foothills give way to Central Valley agriculture and grasslands. This is a fire-adapted ecosystem and historically experienced frequent fire, both naturally ignited and intentionally used as a management tool by Indigenous peoples for millennia—this is the ancestral homelands of the Nisenen Tribe and shares boundaries with the Mountain Maidu, Konkow, and Washoe Tribes as well. Over the last century, fire suppression, mining, and logging have dramatically changed the health and resilience of the forested landscape, leaving it vulnerable to growing climate-driven threats like wildfire, drought, and forest pests.
In this context, the Yuba Forest Network works to advance ecological and social benefits that build forest health and resilience at the landscape scale. The Catalyst Fund grant award will support dedicated coordination capacity for the Network, with a focus on the convening of quarterly partner meetings and the management of internal communications and partner outreach and engagement. This expanded coordination support will also allow the Network to conduct exploration and planning around three pilot priority projects. Through these investments, the Network will set the foundation that allows the shared capacity of its partners to align around a large-scale cohesive strategy to accelerate the pace and scale of forest resilience restoration across the two watersheds.
Did you enjoy this post?
Get new SYRCL articles delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our ENews.