Sierra Nevada meadow restoration: Improving water flows, flood attenuation and wildlife habitat in California (2009)

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The majority of California’s freshwater comes from the Sierra Nevada, falling in winter as a thick blanket of snow that slowly melts in spring, delivering enormous quantities of fresh, clean water to fill the state’s rivers and reservoirs in support of its cities, industry and agriculture. As the Earth’s climate warms up, more of this water will fall as rain rather than snow which will run off immediately in large winter pulses that will increase flooding and are likely to be beyond the storage capacity of the existing reservoir system. Meanwhile there will be much less snowmelt that recharges streams and helps keep a reliable water supply for people and wildlife in summer and autumn. These changes are a monumental challenge for the people, economy and environment of California. An innovative solution may help provide part of the solution to this problem: mountain meadow restoration and conservation.

This business plan maps out a 10 year programme to restore and conserve meadow habitat in the Sierra Nevada. This plan puts emphasis on the first 5 years, during which it focuses on implementation of strategies that will further build the economic and scientific rationale that meadow restoration and conservation is worth pursuing on a large scale as well as building the capacity and model projects to make future expanded efforts possible. Contingent on success in years 1-5 and expanded funding to all partners in this effort, Years 6-10 will focus on implementing work on a sufficient scale to ensure appropriate restoration and management of the majority of degraded Sierra meadows. This business plan will guide every aspect of the Foundation’s anticipated $10-15 million in grant-making associated with this landscape habitat feature over 10 years. Ultimately, the hope is that the strategies and activities described herein are adopted by the broader community of agencies and organisations working on similar goals and shared responsibility for the additional $200 million or more of investments identified as necessary to restore degraded meadows.
Language: English
Imprint: The Sierra Nevada Alliance,2009: 2009
Series: Report,