Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the USDA Forest Service have launched the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Project, or WIP. This video explores the program which is attempting to create a healthy and resilient Sierra Nevada region.

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Save California: The Urgency to Restore Our Primary Watershed

A Summit co-sponsored by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and United States Forest Service took place in early March in Sacramento, CA, to discuss developing a coordinated, collaborative program to restore the health of California's primary watershed.

Building on broad consensus within the scientific community, key presentations addressed the state of the Sierra Nevada's forests, the benefits the region provides to all of California, and the short and long-term impacts from its forests' wildfires.

Following the scientific panel, there was be a facilitated roundtable discussion to propose solutions to protect the Sierra Nevada region and to restore California's primary watershed.

The summit's outcome will highlight multi-agency consensus on the strategies that will comprise the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program.

The Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP) is a coordinated, integrated, collaborative program to restore the health of California's primary watershed through increased investment and needed policy changes.

This comprehensive effort is being organized and coordinated by the state's Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) and the federal United States Forest Service (USFS), in close partnership with additional federal, state, and local agencies, and diverse stakeholders.

Why do we need an improvement plan?

Sierra Nevada forests and watersheds are at a critical point. Failure to understand the urgency of the situation in the Sierra Nevada will have devastating impacts on California's economy and water supply. The potential for more megafires like the Rim Fire is high, and research demonstrates that, in many Sierra Nevada forests, there is a clear upward trend of larger, more intense fires.

A changing climate will only exacerbate the situation and have additional impacts on these watersheds.

A well-coordinated, comprehensive program that increases the pace and scale of restoration is essential to address the conditions that currently exist and are not going away.

The Sierra Nevada WIP will require significant efforts by many agencies, stakeholders and the public. The challenges to achieving the WIP's objectives are numerous, but at the same time the opportunity to build off of the consensus around the need act swiftly is substantial.

Our failure to seize this opportunity will have implications throughout California.