What We Do

Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program

Sierra NevadaWatershed Improvement Program (WIP)

Our Watershed Improvement Program is a large-scale, holistic effort throughout California’s Sierra-Cascade region. The WIP is:

  • restoring resilience to forests and rural communities
  • supporting sustainable recreation and tourism
  • conserving natural and working lands

2024 WIP Summit

This year’s WIP Summit marks the 20th Anniversary of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. Join us on March 8!

Learn more

How the WIP is Restoring Resilience

Work on the Ground

We fund projects that reduce wildfire risk, improve outdoor access, protect biodiversity, and more. To date, we have awarded over $209 million.

Capacity-Building

We work with local organizations to build workforce and organizational capacity and generate a pipeline of projects. Capacity is key to increasing restoration efforts and supporting rural economies.

Science and Policy

We support scientific research projects and participate in technical and policy advisory groups. We use local and regional knowledge to inform decisionmakers and advance forest management strategies.

The WIP Stands Ready

The WIP is poised to increase the pace and scale of work throughout our service area. We are tracking millions of dollars in shovel-ready projects, and projects in development, through the dozens of collaborative groups our staff are engaged in.

Urgent Issues, Urgent Action

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

The 2021 Budget Act appropriated $50 million to us to support wildfire-recovery and forest-resilience priorities. In June 2022, the we awarded $21 million to 18 different projects and approved updated guidelines launching the next phase of our Wildfire Recovery and Forest Resilience Grant Program.

WIP at Work

Woman standing at podium with 3 panelists seated to her left and a projector screen to her right, all facing a crowd of seated people inside a room

Landscape Investment Strategy

Modern megafires and disturbances are occurring across huge landscapes. To match this scale, we are pooling funding from multiple sources to deliver large grants to landscape-scale restoration initiatives. We created this strategy with our partners who develop, plan, and implement projects.Learn more

machine stacking a bunch of small trees on the ground in the forest

WIP Local Assistance Grants

We fund projects that restore, protect, and enhance Sierra-Cascade watersheds and communities. Our strong partnerships allow us to efficiently get state funding on the ground.Learn more

four people wearing hard hats and backpacks are looking up at a few giant trees

RFFCP Capacity Building

We are using Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program (RFFCP) funding to increase regional capacity to develop and implement projects. This will help build the human and organizational infrastructure needed for large-scale restoration efforts.Learn more

A man standing in a forest wearing a hard hat is looking into a small machine on top of a tripod with a few other people in hard hats standing by

Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative (TCSI)

We co-founded this partnership in 2017. TCSI partners are working across jurisdictions to plan landscape-scale forest resilience projects, secure funding, and coordinate work across 2.4 million acres.Learn more

Regional Challenges, State Priorities

Today, many wildfires are burning larger and more severely. As detailed in our 2014 State of the Sierra Nevada’s Forests Report and expanded on in the 2017 Update, decades of fire suppression and historic timber harvests have created overcrowded and unhealthy forests that fuel more destructive fire behavior.

Fires like the Dixie, Caldor, Creek, and North Complex have devastated communities and caused significant damage to the resources the region provides, including water, wildlife habitat, recreational access, and carbon storage. We know from the Mokelumne Avoided Cost Analysis, that fires like these are much more expensive to respond to than prevent.

Impacts from large, damaging wildfires in the region are felt across the state as they degrade air quality, jeopardize the state water system, and offset progress towards California’s air quality and climate goals.

Learn more about specific challenges and priorities: