The Sierra Fund is celebrating the victories we shared with our friends and allies in 2006, and preparing for even more successes for the Sierra Nevada in 2007.
Advocacy: Our advocacy program prioritized funding for the Sierra, and we spent hundreds of hours in the legislature advocating for increased investment in the region's natural resources. Some indicators of our success include:
* Full funding for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy proposed by the Governor and adopted by the legislature.
* Full funding for the Sierra Cascade Grant Program, resulting in a total of $27 million in grants, awarded in September 2006, which will protect important places around the Sierra, including many projects featured in The Sierra Fund's Sierra Nevada Sample Conservation Projects document.
* Successful passage of AB 84 (Leslie/Laird) establishing a specialty license plate program that can be used to provide ongoing funding for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.
* An effective Lobby Day that brought dozens of Sierra leaders to the State Capitol, in partnership with Sierra Nevada Alliance.
* Along with a huge coalition of environmental, labor, and business organizations, we supported passage of Proposition 84, making billions of dollars in bond funding available for natural resource investment, including $56 million for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and $36 million for the California Tahoe Conservancy.
Strategic Campaigns: We took on specific campaigns that highlighted important new areas of investment for the region:
* Collaboration with the new Sierra Nevada Conservancy as they developed their visionary five-year strategic plan reflecting hundreds of hours of public input that the Conservancy invited — outlining a thoughtful guide for implementing the agency’s broad mission.
* Launch of The Sierra Fund's new “Sierra Nevada Mining Toxics Initiative,” which has funded research and community outreach to understand and address the environmental and health problems associated with gold mining – arsenic, mercury, asbestos and other toxins – including a Tribal Symposium on Mercury with Sierra tribal leaders and environmental organizations.
* Launch of “Saving the Sierra: Voices of Conservation in Action” – a regional media project that uses public radio and community storytelling to document efforts by people reaching across divides to work with others to preserve Sierra history, culture, economy, and environment – for which The Sierra Fund serves as fiscal sponsor.
* Establishment of the Mammoth Lakes Trails Public Access – a new organization in the Mammoth Lakes basin working to ensure access to the public lands surrounding the town of Mammoth – for which The Sierra Fund has provided fiscal sponsorship and organizational development support.
Philanthropy: We distributed $250,000 in grants to organizations throughout the Sierra and elsewhere.
Thanks to all of you who have supported or participated in this important work. We look forward to even more successes in 2007.