1 | Sierra Nevada Program Overview

Sierra Nevada Program

Sierra Nevada Program Overview

Dale Fehr

The Sierra Nevada program works on multiple National Forests across the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California and in parts of Nevada. These mountains stretch over 400 miles long and range from 50 to 80 miles wide, covering an area of almost 15 million acres. Annual spring snowmelt from across Sierra Nevada watersheds provides fresh water to mountain residents and a portion of drinking water to 23 million people ranging from Southern California, across the California Central Valley, and to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Program Highlights

Big Jack East – Tahoe National Forest, Truckee Ranger District

The Big Jack East project is a collaborative effort between the Tahoe National Forest and NFF that will treat approximately 2,000 acres. Actions are designed to reduce fuel loadings and the risk of wildfire immediately south of the Town of Truckee and create conditions that would improve forest resiliency to fire, insects, disease, drought, and climate change.

The NFF is currently managing a diversity of projects in the Big Jack region. A major goal of our program is to continue implementing large-scale projects within this region to create a diverse network of completed forest and watershed health projects that contribute to a resilient landscape across the Truckee River watershed and within our Tahoe Headwaters Treasured Landscape.

North Yuba Landscape Project – Tahoe National Forest, Yuba River Ranger District

The Yuba project is a collaborative project between NFF, the Tahoe National Forest, the Yuba Water Agency, and Blue Forest Conservation that will treat approximately 6,000 acres on the Yuba River Ranger District. Treatments are proposed to enhance watershed health by improving forest health and resilience to changing climatic conditions, reducing surface and ladder fuels to a level that would allow safe fire suppression, and improving wildlife habitat.

The Yuba project is the first application of Blue Forest Conservation's Forest Resilience Bond (FRB). Through the FRB, investors provide loans to the FRB investment vehicle, which in turn provides upfront funds to the NFF to implement and manage projects on the ground. BFC is also taking the lead on analyzing the water supply impacts from NFF's restoration work. Compared to the five years of forest evapotranspiration in the Yuba Project area prior to the implementation of restoration activities, forest evapotranspiration decreased in the restoration areas by 197 acre-feet in 2019 and by 276 acre-feet in 2020. This analysis helps demonstrate the water supply benefits from forest restoration treatments.

Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership – Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

The forests, lakes, and alpine peaks of Lake Tahoe’s west shore make it one of America’s iconic landscapes. The region as a whole is home to 54,000 residents and attracts over 6.4 million annual visitors. Wildfire, drought, and insects and disease epidemics—pressures that are amplified by climate change—threaten forests, watersheds, and communities across the Lake Tahoe West landscape.

The goal of Lake Tahoe West is to restore the resilience of the west shore's forests, watersheds, recreational opportunities, and communities to such threats. The planning area includes approximately 59,000 acres of federal, state, local, and private lands. Lake Tahoe West is a multi-stakeholder collaborative initiative convened by California Tahoe Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin.

Management Unit, California State Parks, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team, and National Forest Foundation.


Matt Millar, Sierra Nevada Program Director, at [email protected]