The Sierra Nevada 
Watershed Improvement Program

Restoring forests, protecting communities, and creating resilience in California’s primary watershed

We held our annual WIP Summit on March 6, 2019.


The Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP) is a large-scale restoration program designed to restore the health of California’s primary watershed and create resilient Sierra Nevada Communities. The WIP’s holistic approach is based on five goals:

Healthy Watersheds and Forests

Restore and protect the ecological health and resilience of watersheds and forests within the Sierra Nevada Region.

Resilient Sierra Nevada Communities

Increase the environmental, economic, and social resilience of Sierra Nevada communities.

Vibrant Recreation and Tourism

Enhance, promote, and develop sustainable recreation and tourism opportunities in the Sierra Nevada Region.

Strategic Lands Conserved

Permanently protect high-benefit lands that are threatened with conversion, represent unique natural characteristics, or are critical for resilience to climate change.

Impactful Regional Identity

Elevated statewide recognition of the value and benefits the Sierra Nevada provides and increased integration of the importance of the Sierra Nevada into state policy and funding decisions.


Built on three pillars, the WIP represents a dramatic shift in how California works to protect and restore forests, watersheds, and communities in the Sierra Nevada Region. The WIP is working to increase the pace and scale of restoration in the Sierra Nevada through:


Increasing and coordinating investment in the Region from a broad array of stakeholders.


Identifying and resolving policy-related issues in order to restore Sierra forests, watersheds, and communities to a healthier state.


Expanding infrastructure, in terms of both facilities and workforce capacity, that is needed to support restoration work.


Innovation in Restoration

The Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative (TCSI) is the first pilot effort under the WIP that is testing a variety of new ways of doing business to create resilient forests and watersheds. The TCSI brings together innovative approaches that aim to increase the pace and scale of restoration work across the watersheds of the Central Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe areas.



The challenges facing the Sierra Nevada Region demand agility and adaptation. The WIP was launched in 2015 and signed into law in 2018 to meet these challenges head on.

Grant Programs

Through the WIP, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy administers multiple grant programs to support projects that have multiple watershed benefits.


Many partners are working together across the Sierra Nevada to accomplish the goals of the WIP. Here are some samples of recent work funded through the WIP grant program.


The WIP relies on partnerships with a wide range of state and federal agencies, local government, tribal organizations, and various private and nonprofit entities.


If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million. Learn more about the WIP through our YouTube playlist.

Watershed Information Network (WIN)

An online environment that connects resources, partners, successes, failures, lessons learned, needs, opportunities, and existing WIP-related efforts.


Request a Speaker

Request a Watershed Improvement Program representative for speaking engagements or to find out more about the Program.