The Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP) was launched in March 2015 to respond to the urgent need to increase forest and watershed restoration activity in the Sierra Nevada.

“We recognized that, if we wanted to protect and improve the wide variety of benefits that the Sierra Nevada Region provides, we needed to do business differently, and so we partnered with the U.S. Forest Service Region 5 to launch the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program.” Jim Branham, Executive Officer, Sierra Nevada Conservancy

This large-scale restoration program was formally launched under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Regional Forester Randy Moore in 2015, and is currently being organized and coordinated jointly by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) and the USFS.

Following the launch, the Watershed Improvement Program received support from 27 additional organizations and agencies, and the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program Regional Strategy was developed to guide the WIP's implementation.

Unfortunately, just six months after the Watershed Improvement Program was launched, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency as a result of the unprecedented level of tree die-off occurring across the state.

"Our job has gotten even more complex - we’re responding to an emergency in much of the southern Sierra, and working to protect still-green forests not yet affected by insects and disease in the north. These events intensify the already-high level of competition for financial and human resources, and wood products infrastructure across the Region. Innovative solutions are necessary and the progress that we are making across the Sierra Nevada Region is establishing a new path forward for the future." Randy Moore, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester

We’ve been working to increase the pace and scale of restoration in the Sierra Nevada on a number of fronts. View each of the breakouts below to learn more about the progress made to date.

“While a significant amount of progress has been made under the WIP, we still have a long way to go to make our forests and watersheds more resilient to future stressors. Over the next year we’ll be focusing on moving a number of investment, policy, and infrastructure objectives forward.” Jim Branham, Executive Officer, Sierra Nevada Conservancy

Next Steps

Efforts are underway to develop and implement a strategic investment plan to maximize benefits investment and resilience outcomes in the Sierra Nevada by integrating, leveraging, and harmonizing funding efforts of various state agencies.

Opportunities for two large landscape-scale environmental analysis processes for restoration activities will be explored and potentially implemented, one at the watershed scale on the Tahoe National Forest, and one at the forest scale on the Sierra National Forest. Combined, these efforts can inform future efforts of possible efficiencies, cost savings, and lessons learned.

For more information on the WIP and the Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative, visit:

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