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.