As wildfires become a greater and greater concern with each passing year, the Truckee Donner Land Trust is excited and grateful to be awarded $783,760 by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy for critical forestry work on its properties.
Two grants – one totaling $364,510 for forestry work at Royal Gorge on Donner Summit, and another for $419,250 for work at Webber Lake – will allow the Land Trust to undertake significant forest health projects that will not only improve the local ecology on its protected lands, but also improve resiliency and help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.
“We’re extremely grateful that the Sierra Nevada Conservancy chose to fund our projects,” said Brita Tryggvi, chair of the Land Trust Stewardship Committee. “We take the stewardship of our lands seriously, and work hard to maintain forest health so that these beautiful places stay pristine for generations to come.”
The forestry project at Royal Gorge would thin the forest primarily around Serene Lakes. Serene Lakes has roughly 600 lots, making this project important for wildland-urban interface wildfire management.
Historic fire suppression has led to overstocking of trees and declining forest health. This project will thin nearly 200 acres. Beyond wildfire risk management, the project will also benefit the North Fork of the American and South Yuba River, as the headwaters of each originate in the Royal Gorge area.
The second project will thin 185 acres of forest surrounding Webber Lake and Coppins Meadow, eliminating encroaching lodgepole pines in the meadow, and thinning overly dense, wildfire-prone thickets in the area. With the Webber Lake Campground open to the public, fire mitigation is key, and reducing pine encroachment on the meadow will improve meadow habitat and function for water quality and storage.
Both projects will take place from 2019 to 2021. This work builds on numerous other forest health projects completed across Land Trust properties in the past. These grants are among a total of $26 million awarded by Sierra Nevada Conservancy across the Sierra for wildfire, forest health and watershed restoration.
“Building resilience in the Sierra Nevada is our primary focus, and the funding authorized by our board demonstrates the SNC’s commitment to increasing the pace and scale of restoration across the region,” said Angela Avery, executive officer for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. “We’re proud to be supporting these projects and the partners who will be implementing them on the ground.”