Increasing meadow carbon sequestration through restoration
CalTrout is working to develop new strategies for restoring functional meadow systems to increase meadow carbon sequestration throughout the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade region. We are currently coordinating a state-level technical group of experts to enhance and improve meadow restoration strategies and carbon sequestration measurement methodologies.
The State Water Action Plan identifies meadow restoration as an important water management strategy and recently committed $25 million to restore Delta wetlands and Sierra Nevada meadows as a strategy for building ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change. Additionally, NFWF and partners, including CalTrout, released the Keystone Sierra Nevada Meadow Restoration Business Plan in 2010, which outlines statewide existing conditions, threats, and restoration objectives.
According to the plan, over-grazing in the late 1800s through the 1930s and road-building, mining, logging, urbanization and catastrophic wildlife over the last 150 years have resulted in widespread deterioration of meadows throughout the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades. Of the more than 300,000 acres of meadow distributed across the 20 million acres of the Sierra Nevada, between 130,000 and 200,000 acres (40-60%) of meadows may be impacted by such degradation (NFWF Meadows Business Plan, 2010).
Restore hydrologic functionality to meadow systems throughout the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades as a way to increase meadow carbon sequestration rates, flow-reliability, groundwater recharge and storage, riparian cover and wetlands vegetation, and recovery of native fish populations. According to the NFWF Meadows Business Plan, meadows restoration in the Sierra Nevada could increase the amount of groundwater stored in and released from meadows by 50,000 to 500,000 acre feet annually.
What We Will Achieve in 2015-16
- Develop new strategies for restoring functional meadow systems and increasing meadow carbon sequestration throughout the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade region.
- Coordinate a state-level technical group of experts to enhance and improve meadow restoration strategies and carbon sequestration measurement methodologies: Sierra Meadows Research and Restoration Partnership (SMRRP).
- Apply new meadow restoration strategies in an effort to restore the Pine Creek Watershed and Eagle Lake trout populations.