Collaborative efforts result in meadow restoration

— Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development CouncilJuly 2, 2013 

The Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Bass Lake Ranger District, are launching a meadow restoration project in the Sierra National Forest.

This restoration project, supported through the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, will help stabilize 31 acres of meadow systems and leverage educational opportunities for identified volunteers and tribal youth.

"The services meadows provide help ensure a slower run-off of water from the high country down to our communities," said Andy Stone, USFS Hydrologist for the Bass Lake Ranger District. "If accelerated, erosion, water quality, and annual water availability are compromised."

The restoration project started on June 10 on three of the four sites.

"The overall goal of the project is to completely restore and/or preserve the hydrologic function of four degraded meadow systems within the upper and lower Chiquito Creek Watersheds," said Brittany Dyer, program development and project manager for the Yosemite/Sequoia RC&D Council.

The council partnered with American Conservation Experience to utilize dedicated AmeriCorp volunteers specifically interested in natural resources conservation to assist the U.S. Forest Service in the restoration work. ACE is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing rewarding environmental service opportunities to help restore America's public lands.

"These young adults have specialized training and, in many cases, have already or are currently working towards a degree in natural resources," Dyer said. "On their free time, the AmeriCorp members are required to coordinate local community volunteer projects that directly benefit communities."

Stable mountain meadows serve a vital role in the areas of water storage, release and filtration systems. Still, meadows are extremely sensitive to changes in the watershed that may occur through the development of roads, timber harvesting, grazing and fire suppression. These factors, as well as others, can lead to unstable stream channels and gully formation in meadows, which when severe enough result in complete dewatering of a meadow.

In order to increase understanding regarding proper meadow function, two field trips will be conducted. One trip will be in partnership with the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians.

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy initiates, encourages, and supports efforts that improve the environmental, economic and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada Region, its communities and the citizens of California.

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