Advocacy for the Sierra

The Sierra Fund has built a reputation in Sacramento as a regional and technical expert that strives to increase the visibility of and provide a voice for the Sierra Nevada in key legislative processes through education and outreach activities. The Sierra Fund coordinates with Sierra partners to build awareness among state and regional leaders of the unique contributions and needs of the headwater region through activities such as educational and advocacy events in the State Capital and participation in coalitions and networks of advocates working on policies aligned with The Sierra Fund’s mission. 

“The work The Sierra Fund does,  bringing together science-driven public policy and focusing on local scale that can then be scaled to the entire Sierra is incredibly valuable.”

Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary, CalEPA
Speaker at The Sierra Fund annual luncheon in Sacramento

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Understanding what happened to the Sierra Nevada is key to designing solutions that address the root cause of the issues.  Awareness of the Gold Rush’s impacts on this state’s largest watershed is fundamental to building the public’s political will to address the state’s oldest environmental and ethical problem – mining’s toxic legacy. The Sierra Fund works with local, state, federal and tribal governmental leaders to bring this unique understanding, of how the 19th century extractive era has precipitated today’s problems, to the design of solutions that will be effective and long lasting.

The Sierra Fund has successfully advocated to inform and improve the development and implementation of legislative policies that impact the Sierra.  The Sierra Fund served as Chair of the campaign to pass Proposition 50 (2004) and sponsored the legislation that established the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (2005). From 2012-2016 The Sierra Fund worked with the Brown administration to draft and pass legislation completely reforming surface mining in the state. The Sierra Fund successfully advocated to include funds in the 2017/2018 state budget for Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park ($8 million) and the Nevada Irrigation District Combie Reservoir Sediment and Mercury Abatement project ($6 million). The Sierra Fund is regularly invited to testify as technical and policy experts on legislation impacting the Sierra Nevada that is before the California State Legislature. 

Our Vision for Advocacy in the Sierra

The Sierra Fund’s vision is to engage residents from everywhere in the state to first understand the importance of restoring community and ecosystem resiliency in the state’s largest headwater and then to take action as needed when key legislation and budget actions impact the Sierra.

The Sierra Fund serves as the voice of the Sierra Nevada before local, state, federal or tribal government decision makers. Educating key decision makers and legislators on the issues of the Sierra Nevada fosters a shared sense of purpose and belonging. Generating awareness about the need to improve the resilience of the headwaters of the state, and the role that they play in providing critical resources for all Californians, incentivizes actions with benefit to ecosystems and communities from the Sierra to the sea.