On October 18-19th, California State Senators John Laird and Brian Dahle co-hosted a great two-day tour of the Sierra that showcased ways the state legislature can support building more resilient forests and help communities recover from wildfire. The Sierra Fund organized the event with Sierra Institute, Sierra Forest Legacy, American River Conservancy, and Sierra Nevada Conservancy.
The tour featured the Feather River watershed and shared:
- the importance of Sierra watersheds and forests to California;
- the severity, and massive scale, of recent fires along with approaches that decrease fire severity to better protect communities;
- the importance of integrated projects that address fuel load and support cultural or prescribed burning, creating markets for small diameter fuels waste, hydraulic mine restoration, meadow restoration, and/or other nature-based watershed restoration;
- the power of tribal led workforces and forest guardianship efforts.
The tour highlighted specific state budget or future resource bond asks and how these related to Sierra Nevada forest health needs. The power of this tour was in experiencing the vibrant and inspirational Sierra– and contrasting this beauty with devastation from massive high-severity fire-scarred landscapes and communities. The Sierra Fund looks forward to building on this tour to advance improved forest stewardship.