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!