Sierra Meadows Partnership Poised to Meet 2030 Goal
July 28, 2021
Sierra meadows are a critically important component of the Sierra Nevada landscape. They provide multiple benefits. They contribute to carbon sequestration, groundwater recharge, flood attenuation, water quality improvements, and stream flow, improving the quality of life for downstream ecosystems and human communities. Meadows are also biodiversity hotspots that provide important habitat for birds, fish, amphibians, mammals, and plants. Several threatened and endangered species, such as willow flycatcher, Cascades frog, and Yosemite toad, rely on Sierra meadows for habitat.
However, over 50% of Sierra meadows are degraded, with reduced capacity to provide these functions and resources. Restoration and conservation actions are needed to restore vital ecological services mentioned above and increase the resilience of Sierra meadow wildlife and human communities to climate and other change.
The Sierra Meadows Partnership was formed in 2016 to meet this need. The Partnership includes a diverse array of nonprofits, government agencies, individuals, and other entities working to increase the pace, scale, and efficacy of meadow restoration and protection in the Sierra for the benefit of people and ecosystems. The Partnership’s goal is to protect and/or restore 30,000 acres of Sierra meadows by 2030.
The Partnership recently released the results of their first annual project tracking effort (see graphic at right and recent accomplishments here). This effort, led by American Rivers and Point Blue with contributions from many other partner organizations and agencies, demonstrates that members of the Partnership are engaged in 80 meadow projects across the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades. These projects—which include restoration, land acquisition, monitoring, and research—represent over 18,000 acres in 98 different Sierra meadows.
Results like this are encouraging and demonstrate that the Partnership is on track to meet or even exceed our goal, with nearly 9,000 acres of restoration and over 4,500 acres of meadow conservation projects currently being planned or implemented. Continued investment in meadow projects is needed to sustain this forward momentum and achieve the conservation of 30,000 acres of Sierra meadows by 2030.
Point Blue has been leading and innovating in climate-smart restoration of meadows and other habitats for many decades and has been providing leadership and coordination for the Partnership since 2019. We couldn’t do this important work alone. Collaboration with groups like the Sierra Meadows Partnership is essential to increase the pace, scale, and efficacy of restoration and conservation.
Efforts by collaborative groups like the Sierra Meadows Partnership are essential contributions to other visionary conservation initiatives at the state, national, and global level.
This year, the state of California and the federal government announced initiatives to conserve 30% of the lands and waters of California and the U.S. by 2030, respectively.
These efforts are also part of a global groundswell–the United Nations’ Decade on Ecosystem Restoration–to restore our planet at a critical time, so that we can look forward to a healthy future for all.