The Yuba Watershed Institute (YWI) is hiring a Forest Health Project Manager to lead the implementation of the YWI’s forest health and watershed resilience projects in the Yuba River watershed. Please see the job announcement for more information.
Dear Friends of YWI,
We hope that this message finds you well, safe, and as healthy as possible. It has been a difficult few months, between the COVID-19 pandemic, related economic disruptions, and the recent protests resulting from the police violence and deeply entrenched racial injustice in this country. While our work on the ‘Inimim Forest sometimes feels far away from these disturbances, we are, in fact, all connected and affected by these larger events. Our thoughts are with everyone who is struggling in these times, and we are committed to doing our part to strengthen the health, resilience, and equity within our human and natural communities.
We’re writing to share a few updates on our recent work to increase the resilience of the ‘Inimim Forest and to improve the health of the broader Yuba watershed.
With the help of Mooretown Rancheria, MP Forestry, and Sierra Nevada Forestry Service, we have successfully implemented a 200-feet wide shaded fuel break on 55-acres of the ‘Inimim Forest. The project improves safety in the case of a wildfire by reducing understory fuels along key roads needed for ingress and egress. Approximately 1,350 yards of material were chipped and hauled to the former San Juan Mine site, to be used as part of a future restoration effort.
We have also been working with the Washington Ridge CAL FIRE crews on additional understory fuels reduction on the Bear Tree parcel, near Farrell Ravine Way. The treatment there has been hand cutting and piling small diameter material for future burning. The BLM burned some of last year’s piles on the Bear Tree and Shields Camp parcels this winter. We encourage you to visit those sites, to see how the forest looks before, during, and after these treatments. These two projects are funded by a grant from CAL FIRE.
With the help of local contractors John Jaynes, Michael DesTombe, and Don Prairie we felled about 15 acres of dead or dying hazard trees along Shields Camp, Lake City, Jackass Flats, Kadaheska, and Sumi Roads. Some of these trees were sold to the mill, some were left in place, and some were masticated to expedite decomposition. With droughts and beetle kills likely to recur in the coming years, we are experimenting with different methods of removing these hazardous trees in economical ways, and look forward to monitoring the ecological outcomes in the months and years ahead. This work was funded by a grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.
Just before the statewide shelter-in-place order, we co-hosted our first Women’s Land Stewardship and Chainsaw Workshop with Mud and Pearls. The event was a great success and we look forward to offering similar workshops in the future to empower women to be knowledgeable and active stewards of our ecological landscapes.
Looking forward, we are pleased to announce that in March we received three grants from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to support new and ongoing projects. Two of these grants will launch new planning projects at Round Mountain and Little Deer Creek, and the third one will support implementation of forest restoration treatments on 314 acres of the ‘Inimim Forest. We are delighted to receive additional funding support from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and look forward to working with community members and new partners, such as Sierra Streams Institute and the Bear Yuba Land Trust, to expand collaborative stewardship with the BLM and private landowners south of the South Fork of the Yuba River.
Thank you for your ongoing interest in and support of our work. Please reach out with questions or ideas about how we can work together going forward.
P.S. In case you missed it, our last edition of Tree Rings included some reflections on resilience and how to prepare for and respond to social and ecological disturbances. If you’re looking for some inspiration as we continue to weather the various disturbances of the day you can read the issue here.
The 29th edition of Tree Rings was published in the Fall of 2019. The theme of this edition was “Resilience.” Contributors share their research, artwork, poetry, and musings on this rich and timely topic.
Make sure your membership is current and you’ll automatically receive a printed copy of Tree Rings in the mail.
Download Tree Rings #29
Dear friends and supporters of the Yuba Watershed Institute (YWI),
Wildfires, power outages, and the rising cost or cancellation of homeowner’s insurance are making it more challenging to live in the Sierra Nevada region.
There is a question I hear a lot these days: what are proactive steps we can take to reduce fire risk in our neighborhoods? One answer has become clear. We have to learn how to live with fire, just as indigenous peoples have for thousands of years before Euro-American settlement of this area.
There are steps each of us can take, such as hardening our homes and maintaining the proper vegetation clearances around structures. There are also actions we must take that require cooperation on a neighborhood scale or larger. For example, it takes cooperation to:
- Maintain landscape-level fuel breaks that can slow fire behavior, allow for safe evacuation during a fire, and provide a safe place for fire personnel to attempt wildfire suppression;
- Reduce the risk of high-severity fire on public lands that border our neighborhoods;
- Protect the places we love to recreate by improving ecosystem resiliency to climate change, droughts, and bark beetle infestations;
- Reintroduce healthy fire to these landscapes using prescribed burning; and
- Preserve ecological values like wildlife habitat, clean water, and native plant diversity while reducing fire danger.
The YWI was founded 30 years ago to facilitate this kind of cooperation. In recent years, we’ve raised over $800,000 from state and private sources for planning and implementation of forest health and fire prevention projects on 1,200 acres of public lands on Nevada County’s San Juan Ridge.
And just this year, the YWI has begun working with neighborhood groups and Firewise Communities in other parts of Nevada County to replicate the success of our work on the San Juan Ridge.
We need your help to spread the vision of healthy forests supported by an active, engaged community of land stewards.
Please consider supporting this important work by starting or renewing your YWI membership today!
Join at www.yubawatershedinstitute.org/membership/
Your generous support will also help us provide other programs the community has grown to love, including:
- The annual Yuba Watershed Fungus Foray and Wild Mushroom Exposition;
- Our annual publication Tree Rings: The Journal of the Yuba Watershed Institute, where we bring you essays, artwork, and poetry on current watershed-related themes; and
- Popular educational field programs, volunteer events, and evening and weekend workshops.
We are grateful for your past support and hope that you will be inspired to help the YWI by contributing at an increased level. Thank you for your enduring dedication to preserving the biodiversity of the Yuba River watershed and beyond!
The Yuba Watershed Institute is excited to announce the speaker lineup for this year’s Fungus Foray on December 14-15, 2019.
- “Introduction to the Foray” and “Basic Forms of Fungi and Where to Find Them,” by Daniel Nicholson, local mycologist and naturalist.
- “Fungi of Vanuatu,” by Dr. Brian A. Perry, mycologist and professor.
- “Mushrooms that Glow in the Dark: Bioluminescent and Fluorescent Fungi,” by Alan Rockefeller, mushroom identification expert.
- “Wild Mushroom Cooking Demonstration,” by Chef Todd Spanier.
- “Fungi of The Andes Mountains,” by Damon Tighe, biologist and photographer.
- “Growing and Restoring with Fungi in the Landscape,” by Christopher Hodge, mushroom cultivator.
- “Sierra Mycoflora Project and What We Know of the Sierra Fungi,” by Daniel Nicholson, local mycologist and naturalist.
We’re also seeking volunteers for both days. Volunteers will help with one of the following tasks and receive free admission:
- Set Up
- Front Door
- Will Call
- Concessions and Merchandise Tables
- Soup Making
- Soup Serving
- Membership Table
- Kids Activities
- Break Down
To volunteer, please contact Beverly LaFae at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register, visit https://yubawatershedinstitute.org/register/.
We hope to see you there!