Busy Field Season Demonstrates TSF’s Strategic Plan in Action

The Sierra Fund’s Platform for Action, released in February 2017, outlines our strategic plan to restore ecosystem and community resiliency in the Sierra Nevada. The goal of our Ecosystem Resiliency Program is to assess and restore forest, meadow and aquatic ecosystems impacted by the Gold Rush.

Three summer fieldwork projects demonstrate how TSF is putting our strategic plan into action.

Inventorying legacy hydraulic mine features in the Tahoe National Forest
The goal of this project is to create an inventory of hydraulic mines and their features, including debris control dams, on Forest Service lands in the Yuba and Bear watersheds. The largest number of hydraulic and hard rock gold mines in California’s headwaters occur on Forest Service lands (CDOC, 2000). In order to improve water quality and reduce sediment and mercury loading to downstream reservoirs and the Bay-Delta, TSF is working with the Tahoe National Forest and others to implement a Headwater Mercury Source Reduction Strategy for remediating mines in an impactful and comprehensive format.

Collecting temperature data to determine where fish holding habitat exists in the Yuba River
Temperature monitoring devices are being installed in each arm of the Yuba River above Englebright Dam to evaluate the presence and location of suitable holding habitat for anadromous fish species. This information will fill critical data gaps and inform management activities around volitional fish passage on the Yuba River.

Monitoring to measure the impacts of meadow restoration at Clover Valley
Surface and subsurface water monitoring equipment was installed at Clover Valley Ranch to quantify the hydrologic response to restoration at this 3,000 acre meadow. Preliminary surveys indicate that with restoration, the meadow will likely provide excellent habitat for fish, birds and mammals. Over 150 years of intense grazing has resulted in stream incision and eroding banks. A low-impact grazing management plan with cattle exclusion from the creek will follow restoration activities.

These three projects are examples of how The Sierra Fund implements our programs to restore ecosystem resiliency to watersheds impacted by mining, dams and grazing. We use strategic pilot projects to fill data gaps and inform management practices that can be replicated across the Sierra and beyond. We couldn’t do our work without our partners and project advisors.

Stay tuned for project pages coming to our website soon at www.sierrafund.org.