What We Do

Through our Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program, we lead, fund, and support work that improves the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada, a region vital to all Californians.

Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP)

Our keystone initiative, the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP), is a large-scale, holistic effort to restore resilience to the forested landscapes and communities of the Sierra Nevada.

With forest health as the foundation, the WIP weaves together four priorities: restoring healthy ecosystems, improving community resilience, promoting sustainable recreation and tourism, and conserving natural and working lands.

How the WIP is Restoring Resilience

Doing Work on the Ground

We fund regional partners to complete projects that reduce wildfire risk, improve recreation access, protect biodiversity, and more. To date, we have awarded over $100 million and partnered with other government entities to distribute over $20 million more.

Building Capacity

We work with local organizations to build workforce and organizational capacity that generate a pipeline of restoration projects. Building capacity is key not only to increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration but also to supporting rural Sierra Nevada economies.

Advancing Science and Policy

We support cutting-edge scientific research projects and actively engage on technical and policy advisory groups. We use regional knowledge to advance forest management strategies and to inform decisionmakers about challenges and opportunities to improve resilience in the Sierra Nevada.

Regional Challenges, State Priorities

Sierra Nevada forests are unhealthy, vulnerable to damaging wildfires and an accelerating climate crisis. Local communities and economies are at risk. And it’s not just the Sierra Nevada, California’s water security, outdoor access, biodiversity, and climate leadership all depend upon healthy, resilient Sierra forests.

Convene, Collaborate, Innovate, Invest

The WIP brings people together to identify shared interests and novel approaches to common forest and watershed health challenges. It is holistic and collaborative by design, investing in projects that protect the Sierra Nevada region and the multiple benefits it provides for all Californians.

WIP Programs at Work

Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative

SNC co-founded the Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative (TCSI) in 2017. TCSI partners are working across jurisdictions to plan science-based, landscape-level forest resilience projects, secure state, federal and private funding, and coordinate work on the ground across 2.4 million acres.

RFFCP in the Sierra Nevada

The Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program (RFFCP) in the Sierra Nevada is an innovative new program that is increasing regional capacity to prioritize, develop, and implement landscape-level forest health and wildfire resiliency projects. This program will help build the human and organizational infrastructure to fully implement the WIP throughout the Sierra Nevada.

WIP Grant Program

Through the WIP Grant Program, we issue grants to public agencies, nonprofits, and eligible tribes for projects that restore, protect, and enhance Sierra Nevada watersheds and communities. Our strong partnerships allow us to efficiently put state funding on the ground to restore forest health, reduce wildfire risk, and improve climate resilience.

“When we break down silos, we can find novel solutions. It’s why bringing people together with a wide range of perspectives is at the heart of the WIP.”

Julie Alvis
Chief Deputy Executive Officer

The WIP Stands Ready

The WIP is poised to increase the pace and scale of work in the Sierra Nevada. We are tracking millions of dollars in shovel-ready projects, and projects in development, through the nearly 40 collaborative groups our staff are engaged in.

Urgent Issues, Urgent Action

The relationships and collaboratives built through WIP have positioned the SNC to quickly and effectively put state funding on the ground to address some of the region’s, and California’s, most pressing concerns.

Most recently, voters passed Proposition 68 in June 2018, allocating $25 million to the WIP’s Forest Health Grant Program. Recognizing the unhealthy state of Sierra Nevada forests, we distributed this money quickly, awarding all of the grants by December 2019 while still ensuring that projects met our high standards.

Prop 68-funded forest health grants

$25M
awarded

100%
awarded within 18 months

Project Highlights from our Newsroom

View the most recent stories about our work in the Sierra Nevada region.

SNC launches Biomass Utilization Fund

SNC launches Biomass Utilization Fund

In 2020, the SNC partnered with the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) to establish a $17-million Biomass Utilization Fund (BUF).

TCSI Releases Framework for Resilience

TCSI Releases Framework for Resilience

In 2020, the Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative partnership coalesced behind 10 pillars of resilience that represent desired landscape outcomes.