System Indicators

Measuring the environmental, economic, and social conditions in the Sierra Nevada

In order to know whether the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) is effectively carrying out its programs, and to track the human, resource, and environmental health and well-being of the Sierra Nevada, SNC developed a set of system indicators in collaboration with subject experts and other organizations.

Through a process of public outreach and consultation, 23 Indicators were approved by the SNC Governing Board in 2011.  Because of the complex interrelationship of many of these Indicators, it was realized that an understanding of the conditions in the Sierra Nevada would be better served through a series of themed reports that more clearly link the various Indicators.

These six reports establish a baseline for additional analysis over time, and Indicators will be updated periodically as the underlying data is able to be updated, providing an opportunity to observe trends over time.  We may also identify new sources of data in the future which will provide an opportunity to enhance this original analysis.

How the Region is measured

The SNC Region is comprised of all or part of 22 counties.  The SNC’s boundary was uniquely established by statute and does not correspond well to political or demographic boundaries that often govern how data are collected.  A major challenge in gathering system indicator data for the SNC Region is that so much information is reported in a way that does not align with the Region’s boundaries.

To the extent possible, data were obtained and developed at the highest resolution possible (often Census Blocks) that are available for Geographical Information System (GIS) processing.  However, some of the data are only available at county or other various regional levels.  In these instances, the challenge was to align the data as closely as possible with the SNC boundary without skewing the analysis by including misleading information from outside the Region.  [See Regional Definitions at the beginning of the Demographics and Economy report].

Reading and using the reports and Indicators

The six System Indicator reports are available below in PDF format for reading, printing, and downloading.  In addition, individual Indicator sections from the full reports are provided in small, convenient PDF files immediately below the full reports.  (Dates in parentheses provide the Indicator baseline data year.)

Please Note: The full Indicator reports are large PDF files that may take a while to load. For best performance, right-click and choose “Save Target as”. The PDF file will download to your computer and then you can open the local copy of the PDF document. View and print this document with Adobe Acrobat Reader (Acrobat Reader 7.0 or higher is recommended). Click here to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Full Indicator Reports and individual Indicator sections

Demographics and Economy (approved September 2011)

Click here to view the full Demographic and Economy report

Population and Components of Population Change (2010)
Demographics of Residents (2009)
Per Capita Gross Domestic Product (2009)
Median Household Income (2009)
Employment by Economic Sector (2009)
Sources of Income (2007)
Unemployment Rate (2010)
Business Churn (2008)
Travel and Tourism Spending (2007)
Renewable and Distributed Energy Sources (2009)

Land Conservation and Wildlife Habitat (approved December 2011)

Click here to view the full Land Conservation and Wildlife Habitat report

Acres of Lands Conserved (2010)
Wildlife Habitat (2010)

Water & Air Quality, Temperature, Precipitation, and Snowpack (approved September 2012)

Click here to view the full Water & Air Quality, Temperature, Precipitation, and Snowpack report

Water Quality in the Sierra Nevada (2010)
Air Quality (2009)
Temperature, Precipitation & Snowpack (2009-2012)

Forest Health and Carbon Storage (approved December 2012)

Click here to view the full Forest Health and Carbon Storage report

Forest Health Indicators Related to Fire (2010)
Forest health Indicators Related to Pests (2010)
Forest Biomass and Carbon Storage (2010)

Fire Threat (approved September 2013)

Click here to view the full Fire Threat report

Number of Acres by Fire Threat Class (2012)
Number of Acres that Burn Annually (2012)
Fire in the Wildland-Urban Interface  (2012)
Acres Burned by Fire Severity and Landscape Priority for Treatment (date n/a)

Agricultural Lands and Ranches (approved December 2013)

Click here to view the full Agricultural Lands and Ranches report

Area and Size of Working Landscapes (2007)
Irrigated Land (2005)
Median Farm Size (2007)
Number of Working Landscapes (2007)
Economic Productivity, Public Grazing Allotments, and Number of Farm and Ranch Operators (2007-2011)
Preserving Working Landscapes in the Sierra (2011)


In addition to providing information relevant to the administration of the SNC’s programs throughout the Sierra Nevada Region, we hope that this information will also be useful to others located in, or working in, the Region as they develop and implement their own projects and programs.  If you would like more detailed information regarding any of the Indicators, please contact: 

Chris Dallas
Sierra Nevada Conservancy
(530) 823-4673
(877) 257-1212