Sierra Nevada headwaters provide roughly 60% of California’s domestic water supplies, are home to the majority of California’s inland native trout species and are critical to supporting local and downstream economic livelihoods. However, Sierra Nevada headwater areas are also one of the most degraded regions throughout this vast landscape, threatening California’s way of life and precious biodiversity. California’s future and well-being depends on healthy headwaters, particularly given uncertainty associated with a changing climate.
With this keystone project CalTrout is working to restore hydrologic functionality to meadow systems and headwater habitats throughout the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades to increase overall ecological resilience and specifically, increase meadow carbon and other greenhouse gases sequestration rates, flow reliability, groundwater recharge and storage, riparian cover and wetlands vegetation, and recovery of native fish populations. A particular focus of this work has been driving the development of a Sierra-wide “Meadows Strategy” with the goal being to create alignment and leverage expertise and funding among state and federal agencies, academia, NGOs, practitioners and others. This effort is expected to serve as the foundation for increasing the pace and scale of meadow restoration throughout the region with a target of 30,000 acres by 2030.
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Fish photo, Jim Inman. Water photo,Wyatt Horsley. People photo, Jacob Katz.