Page 5 - Sierra Meadows Strategy
P. 5

The Sierra Nevada Region is of great signi cance to the State of California because it occupies about 25% of California’s total land area and
is the source area for more than 60% of its developed water supply1. In addition, the
region contains a rich diversity of ecosystems, supporting 50% of California’s plant species and 60% of California’s animal species2,3.
Within the region, the Sierra Nevada’s meadows are hotspots in terms of the importance of biodiversity4,5,6. Their ecosystems play a vital role in supporting wildlife and plant diversity, providing habitat for all life history stages of many  sh and amphibian species, attenuating  oods, storing,  ltering, and releasing water, sequestering carbon, providing forage for livestock, and providing unique aesthetic and recreational value7-14. Healthy meadows add resiliency to the hydrologic and ecological processes that sustain California’s headwaters.
The Importance of Meadows
Current estimates indicate that meadows cover approximately 191,000 acres within the Sierra Nevada. Although this area makes up a relatively small fraction of the greater Sierra Nevada region, meadows’ unique hydrologic and ecological functions are recognized as being vital to watershed health and are valued for the ecosystem goods and services they provide15.
However, approximately 50%, or roughly 90,000 acres of these meadows are known or expected to be degraded, resulting in the loss of important goods and services16. Stresses such as climate change and development continue to threaten ecologically important meadows. Given the iconic nature of Sierra meadows and the critical importance of the Sierra Nevada to California water supply, many state and federal agencies have agreed
on the urgent need to increase the pace, scale and ef cacy of meadow restoration and protection. The Sierra Meadows Partnership was formed, in part, to address this critical need.
The Sierra Meadows Partnership
The Sierra Meadows Partnership (Partnership) was formed to foster expansion of and more effective collaboration among partners currently engaged in meadow conservation to increase the pace, scale and ef cacy of meadow restoration and protection in the Sierra for the bene t of people and ecosystems.
The shared vision of the Sierra Meadows Partnership is a greater Sierra Nevada region with healthy and resilient meadows that provide sustained goods and services to bene t  ora, fauna and people.
The composition of the Partnership thus far has included stakeholders from non-pro t and for-pro t natural resource organizations, public natural resource agencies, academia, and funding institutions. The Partnership remains open to new parties, including implementing groups, private land owners, industry, funding interests, and individuals interested in improving the ecological health of mountain meadows.
At Calistoga Meadows Workshop II, members of the Partnership collaborate to develop structure and content of the Strategy. Photo: M. Drew
A solid foundation of partnerships among private, state
and federal land managers, advocacy groups, restoration practitioners, land trusts, and research institutions exists, and these partnerships have been critical to realizing the restoration of approximately 10,000 acres of montane meadow to date17.
The Sierra Meadows Strategy
This Sierra Meadows Strategy (Strategy) aligns with the:
• State Water Action Plan which calls for 10,000 acres of meadows to be restored18;
• Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s Watershed Improvement Program Regional Strategy that supports meadow restoration since meadow health is critical to stream condition and downstream water quality19;
• National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Sierra Meadows Restoration Business Plan that calls for 20,000 acres of meadows restored20; and
• USDA Forest Service Region 5 Ecological Restoration Leadership Intent that calls for restoration of 50% of accessible degraded meadows in the next 15 -20 years21.

   3   4   5   6   7