Status: High Risk of Conversion
Conservation is a strategy to protect something we care about that is at risk of conversion to something else, including outright destruction. Traditionally land trusts protect important natural land from conversion to development. The remoteness of this region means the threat of development is relatively low, compared to land adjacent to urban development. However the region is uniquely fragmented with a checkerboard of public vs. private land ownership, inconsistent land management policies and land uses, water conveyance canals and roads. This type of fragmentation is a major stressor reducing landscape resilience to threats like climate change.
Today, rather than urban development, the most ominous conversion risks are the devastating impacts of climate change, catastrophic wildfires, blighted forests, and threatened water resources. There are unaddressed impacts from past resource-extraction industries that further challenge landscape resilience. At the same time, our region has been nearly “loved to death” by visitors and by those who seek vital resources for downstream communities and agriculture.
Our prosperous state economy and high quality of life will deteriorate if we don’t address these threats. We must foster resilience, restore to health and permanently protect this landscape. There has been a perilous lack of public investment in conservation in the region over the last ten years and since a low population does not translate to political clout, we must reach out to broader stakeholders of statewide beneficiaries to accomplish this task.
Future: Our Collective Goal
The Sierra Cascade Land Trust Council envisions a future for the region where we have sustainable ecological and economic health locally, and for downstream statewide stakeholders.
- Vital statewide water resources are restored, sustained and permanently protected
- Forests are healthy, at low risk for catastrophic wildfire, are capturing carbon and providing economic value to local communities and statewide interests
- Californians come here to live, work, play, experience nature, and be inspired
- Residents and visitors are bound together by their love of the land and their appreciation of the diversity of people, landscapes, wildlife, waterways, scenic vistas, cultural sites and other resources the region has to offer