Sierra Nevada Forest and Community Initiative

The Sierra Nevada Forest and Community Initiative Video provides an overview of the Sierra Nevada Forest and Community Initiative (SNFCI), which was established in 2009 and endorsed by all 22 Boards of Supervisors for the counties included in the SNC Region, as well as almost one hundred individuals, organizations, tribal entities, and government agencies.

The SNFCI has provided a strong foundation for our Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP). You can find more detailed information about the history of SNFCI and some of the work we continue to do through the initiative on this page, as well as through exploring more information about our SNFCI Regional Coordinating Council.

On December 4, 2014, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy Board approved the SNFCI Action Plan. This plan was created in collaboration with the SNFCI Council and will serve as a roadmap for restoring forest health in the Sierra Nevada Region.

Plane dropping retardant on fire. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Cook-Fisher.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Cook-Fisher


Sierra Nevada forests are one of the primary sources for California’s rich biodiversity, the source of most of California’s water and a premier recreational destination for people around the world. However, large, damaging wildfires threaten this resource and put at risk the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) Region’s many contributions to all of California. Overgrown forests in much of the Sierra increases California’s risk for catastrophic wildfires that can result in serious statewide consequences. While periodic fire is part of a healthy ecosystem, the current condition of many of our forests makes these beneficial fires less likely and when the larger, more intense fires occur, these positive benefits are not realized. Sierra Nevada forests and watersheds are a savings account the State of California relies on for a variety of needs critical to life. We need thoughtful management, active collaboration and continued investment to ensure that this important Region will remain a jewel in the crown of the state’s treasured natural resources, beautiful natural wonders, and important community-sustaining working landscapes.

Willow Creek Field Trip


The Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) and its many partners have charted the course for bringing our forests, economies and communities back into healthy balance. The SNC is a local state agency deeply connected to the region, its communities and their needs. The SNC’s strong track record of successful conflict resolution makes it perfect for the role of convener and mediator in the resolution of controversial issues. The agency represents the entire region and can work with areas across the range and adapt and replicate programs effectively. The SNFCI solution entails:


The SNC has harnessed the power of collaboration to empower stakeholders and land managers to shape forest management and move beyond traditional ideologies and conflicts. This has led to reduced lawsuits and appeals and restoration activities occurring with broad support amongst a variety of stakeholders. By utilizing a coordinated and integrated approach, long-term environmental, economic and social well-being can be improved in the Sierra. The SNC has also been instrumental in moving forward the development of a Conservation Strategy for the Pacific Fisher in the Southern Sierra, a species which has been at the center of much of the litigation and controversy around forest management in the southern Sierra Nevada.

Integrated forest management through an all-lands approach:

This approach fosters cross-pollination among local, State, Federal, and Native American interests and/or jurisdictions in an effort to solidify an all-lands strategy which envelopes the triple-bottom line factors of environment, economic, and community in forest management and restoration.

Promoting Triple Bottom Line Solutions:

The fate of local communities and economies are inextricably intertwined with those of forested lands, though that has been traditionally difficult to define, measure and design. The SNC is working to move this idea from the conceptual to the concrete, in the form of diversified forest-based economic activity that will stabilize the local economy and reduce forest management costs and local job training and innovative agreements to ensure that local businesses will be able to more effectively partner with the Forest Service to benefit the local economy.

Providing resources to support collaboration building and project planning:

SNFCI plays a critical role in putting successful projects on the ground, and adequate resources must be provided to lay that foundation in areas with a long history of controversy in forest management. While a great deal of progress has been made in some areas of the region, others still need to have this vital ground laying work supported. If the SNC had not invested the resources they have, numerous small businesses may have folded, and will in the future without continued funding and support.

In summary, while progress has been made in the region, there is the need for continued and increased support and broader stakeholder engagement to implement the solutions that will return the Sierra Nevada to a state of environmental, economic and community health, and prosperity.

Person at work in Terra Bella Mill


The Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s Proposition 84 Grant Program has awarded over $50 million in funds to a wide variety of projects, many of which supported efforts that reduced the risk of large damaging wildfires that threaten communities, water reliability, and quality for Californians, and at the same time, created much needed jobs.
These video links include examples of some projects:

American River Shaded Fuelbreak
Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions


Alex Vance
Watershed Improvement Coordinator

4988 11th Street, Suite A 
P.O. Box 372  
MariposaCA 95338   
Office Phone(209) 742-0482    

The SNC leads, supports or participates in a wide range of local and regional collaborations striving to achieve the triple bottom line of environmental, social, and economic health in our Sierra forests and the communities to which they are connected.

Interactive map of forest collaboration in the sierra nevada

To visit our interactive map of forest collaboration in the Sierra Nevada, click on the map above.