SQUAW VALLEY CA, 24 September 2009 – After years of planning, California Secretary of Natural Resources, Mike Chrisman yesterday announced the launch of a new environmental license plate campaign for the Sierra Nevada. Proceeds from sale of specialty Sierra Nevada plates will directly support projects that improve watershed health, reduce fire risk, protect working landscapes for landowners, and promote recreation in the Sierra Nevada.
“This is an opportunity for Californians to show their support for the Sierra Nevada, and at the same time help us fund meaningful projects to ensure that the Sierra continues to be a place where we all love to go to enjoy its beauty, clean air and water, and unique communities,” the secretary said. “Everyone loves the Sierra for their own reasons, and now we have a way of showing our support. I urge every Californian to consider making a pledge payment in support of the Sierra Nevada region.” Mr. Chrisman vowed to apply for a license plate for his farm truck.
“This license plate campaign will fund actual projects, not operating expenses,” said Jim Branham, Executive Officer of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. “Proceeds will directly fund the Conservancy’s efforts to protect and restore the majestic landscapes in the Sierra, which includes its rivers and streams, lakes, meadows and forests, farms and ranches, and rural towns and communities.”
Additionally, funds will allow the SNC to continue its work to protect watersheds, reduce the risk of natural disasters such as wildfire, and aid in the preservation of working landscapes, and so much more. To date the Conservancy has awarded some $20 million in projects within its region, which encompasses 25 million acres and parts of 22 counties from the Oregon border to the north down to eastern Kern County to the south.
The ceremony took place during a board meeting of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, held at Squaw Valley, marking the Conservancy’s five-year anniversary. Governor Schwarzenegger created the Conservancy on Sept. 23, 2004 when he signed bi-partisan legislation drafted by former Assemblymen John Laird (D) and Tim Leslie (R).
The new plate features a collage of mountains, streams, blue sky, and a bear, and can be purchased by visiting www.sierralicenseplate.org. 7,500 plates must be sold in one year before the DMV will issue plates. The clock on that one year deadline began yesterday.
“We are excited to finally launch this campaign, exactly five years after the Sierra Nevada Conservancy enabling legislation was signed,” stated Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, CEO of The Sierra Fund. “With our partners at other key Sierra organizations, we have supported this effort for years—from sponsoring and supporting passage of the legislation allowing the Conservancy to seek a license plate, to helping design the plate and materials for the Campaign, and now at last launching the final push.”
The Sierra Fund serves on the Steering Committee overseeing the marketing of this License Plate. Other Steering Committee organizational members include the Sierra Nevada Alliance, Sierra Cascade Land Trust Council, The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, Sierra Business Council, Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access, and Mammoth Lakes Tourism and Recreation. The Sierra Fund serves as the fiscal agent and trustee for the campaign and registrations.