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Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program Memorandum of Understanding

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The United States Forest Service Region 5 (USFS), and the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), signed this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work in partnership to implement the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP) and the California Headwaters Partnership (CHP). Together these efforts will further identify and refine the scope, scale and cost of ecological restoration in the Sierra Nevada Region.

The WIP is a coordinated, integrated, collaborative program to restore the health of California’s primary Sierra Nevada watershed through increased investment and needed policy changes.  It builds upon the broad consensus that more must be done to restore Sierra Nevada forests and watersheds. The pace and scale of science-based ecological restoration needs to dramatically increase in order to stem the tide of large, uncharacteristic wildfires and further degradation of these ecosystems in the face of a changing climate.

The CHP is one of seven regions in the United States named as Resilient Lands and Waters as called for in the President’s Priority Agenda for Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources. Of the seven regions named, the CHP is the only region that has joint federal and state leads, namely the USFS and CNRA, respectively.

Although the CHP designation encompasses all headwaters to the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, the majority of these lands are within the WIP region and Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) territory. The process used to identify and quantify restoration needs for the WIP will be extended by the USFS to forests outside the WIP region and the results of these combined efforts will inform the CHP.

The activities taken under the WIP and the CHP will benefit wildfire management, mitigation investments, restoration efforts, water and air quality, carbon storage, fish and wildlife, and community resilience.