2022 Letter from the Executive Officer

Feb 2, 2023 | SNC Updates

side profile of woman smiling wearing sunglasses and a scarf around her neck
SNC’s Executive Officer, Angela Avery.

As we enter a new year, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s (SNC) mission to protect, restore, and revitalize California’s Sierra Nevada-Cascade region is more important than ever. Much of the Sierra-Cascade got a break from fire and smoke, but not from risk, as climate change and associated extreme weather and wildfire risks pose ongoing threats to our landscapes and our communities.

The challenges are real, but we strive to meet them head-on.

Learn more about a remarkable year for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and California’s Sierra-Cascade region.

Read our 2022 Annual Report

Historic funding awarded amidst even greater demand

Over the past year, staff worked hard to distribute an SNC-record $34 million in Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP) grants to forest and community resilience, land conservation, and recreation access projects. I’m proud of the fact that we have funded nearly 50 worthy projects across California’s Sierra-Cascade, including seven in the 2 million acres of Trinity, Siskiyou, and Shasta counties that we welcomed to our service area.

Our WIP-capacity work, made possible by the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program, supported project design and environmental review for critical collaborative efforts across the Sierra-Cascade. These investments are creating and priming project pipelines and supporting all of the stages in the life of a forest resilience project, for which funding is often scarce.

Even so, for every project or partner we funded, there were many good projects that we were unable to fund. The SNC received over $150 million in grant requests in 2022, demonstrating that our regional partners are ready to implement important on-the-ground work now.

New and updated programs align regional needs, state goals

In 2022, we adjusted how we work to improve the ways we serve our region and the state, expanding tribal relationships, and taking critical steps to embed equity across each of our programs. These are efforts SNC plans to build on in 2023.

On the programmatic side, we updated grant guidelinesforest health to respond to the needs of large landscapes damaged by recent high-severity fires and both land conservation and recreation and tourism in order to more closely align with California’s 30×30 and Outdoors for All initiatives.

We also launched a Landscape Investment Strategy that includes a new Landscape Grant Pilot Program that, for the first time, looks to pool state and federal funding for large-scale restoration initiatives in order to match risk-reduction efforts to the geographic scale of wildfire behavior.

a woman and man sit outside among a crown with mountains in the background
SNC Executive Officer Angela Avery and California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot listen as Danny Manning of the Greenville Rancheria Fire Department sings an opening prayer at the May 2021 ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new sawmill at the Indian Valley Wood Utilization Campus. The SNC-supported sawmill will help Greenville rebuild, recover after it was largely destroyed by the Dixie Fire.

A remarkable year; a focus on the future

What we have accomplished over the last year reinforces my belief in our collective ability to solve big problems.

While California works to continue addressing the forest-health and wildfire crises statewide, the SNC and our dedicated team will remain focused on effectively and efficiently supporting the stewards of California’s Sierra-Cascade. The past year shows that determination, innovation, and teamwork can yield great benefits for the land, those who call it home, and all who depend on it for water, clean air, or access to its many splendors.

All of us here at the SNC remain committed to protecting, restoring, and revitalizing California’s Sierra-Cascade. We look forward to working with all of you to keep the important forward momentum of 2022 going in 2023.

Learn more about a remarkable year for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and California’s Sierra-Cascade region.

Read our 2022 Annual Report