Placer Land Trust and CAL FIRE Protect Sierra Forest Lands at Yuba Gap – YubaNet
Placer Land Trust and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) are pleased to announce the permanent protection of the Sierra Nevada Forest Lands in the Upper American River near Lake Valley Reservoir, south of Interstate 80 at Yuba Gap.
“This 1,151 acres forest represents our second largest project to date,” said the executive director of Placer Land Trust. Jeff Darlington. “We are thrilled to work with CAL FIRE and other partners to ensure this magnificent forest – and the vast watershed it supports – is forever protected for public recreation, ecological health and climate resilience.”
The property was formerly owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). Through PG&E’s land conservation commitment in partnership with the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council, ownership was transferred to CAL FIRE. CAL FIRE will own and manage the property, and Placer Land Trust holds a conservation easement that permanently prohibits subdivision and limits development.
“PG&E is pleased to transfer this important Upper American River property to CAL FIRE as part of its State Forestry Program, which will be managed for the public good and forever protected by Placer Land Trust,” said Mike SchönherrPG&E Director of Power Generation Planning.
The property is the second in a three-phase project with multiple partners to create a 2,618-acre permanently protected demonstration state forest covering the Upper America and Bear River watersheds in Placer counties. and Nevada on both sides of Interstate 80 from Emigrant Gap to Cisco Grove. . The first phase was CAL FIRE’s recent acquisition of 267 acres between the South Yuba River and the Bear River below Lake Spaulding, permanently protected by a conservation easement held by the County-based Bear Yuba Land Trust. Nevada. The final phase will be the addition of 1,200 acres near the Bear River which are expected to be acquired from PG&E in early 2023.
“CAL FIRE is thrilled to have this permanently protected forest become one of 12 State Demonstration Forests owned and managed by CAL FIRE,” said Kevin Conway, manager of state forests. “State Demonstration Forests serve as ‘living laboratories’ where researchers, scientists, landowners and interested citizens can learn and experiment with a variety of forest management strategies, including forest health, timber and timber production, public recreation, watersheds and wildlife. forest fire protection, habitat restoration and climate adaptation strategies. Adding new forests like this creates additional opportunities for critical forest research and watershed restoration in an age of climate change, while providing new recreational opportunities for all Californians.
This 1,151 acre property contains the North Fork headwaters of the North Fork American River which contributes to the high quality drinking water in Placer County. Important wetlands and water resources are located on the property, including Sixmile Meadow, valued for its beauty as well as its ecosystem functions of water storage and filtering, flow regulation, carbon sequestration and provision of important wildlife habitat.
Funding to ensure the permanent protection of the property was provided to Placer Land Trust by the Stewardship Council.
“The Stewardship Council is delighted to help protect this land forever,” said Erin Healey, CEO of the Stewardship Council. “The mixed coniferous and deciduous forests and chaparral provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, from large mammals such as bears, deer, coyotes, to reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds and insects. The property also provides scenic and recreational value as it protects the forests surrounding the Lake Valley Reservoir, a popular outdoor recreation destination.
CAL FIRE State Demonstration Forests are managed for multiple-use purposes, and public recreation is a priority. Recreational activities on this property include fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, quiet enjoyment and nature study. The land will be managed under a Forest Management Plan which will be approved by the Forestry and Fire Protection Council; CAL FIRE Sacramento Resource Management will manage the property. CAL FIRE reserves the right to construct forest and fire management structures on less than 2% of the 1,151 acre property, such as a fire hall, fire lookouts or fire personnel barracks /forester working in the area.
The project helps achieve global, federal, and state goals to protect natural and working lands as nature-based solutions to climate change and expand public access to natural areas. To do its part locally, Placer Land Trust is working with willing landowners to protect at least 25,000 acres in Placer County by 2030.
“Protecting this land creates a lasting benefit for all living things – from native plants and animals to us humans, who enjoy clean water, healthy forests and outdoor recreation,” Darlington said. .