Letter from the CEO 2022 | Sierra Nevada Conservation Area

Side profile of a smiling woman wearing sunglasses and a scarf around her neck
SNC CEO Angela Avery.

As the new year begins, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s (SNC) mission to protect, restore and revitalize California’s Sierra Nevada Cascade region is more important than ever. Much of the Sierra Cascade has been protected from fire and smoke but not risk as climate change and the associated extreme weather and wildfire risks pose constant threats to our landscapes and our communities.

The challenges are real, but we strive to address them head-on.

Learn about a remarkable year for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and California’s Sierra Cascade region.

Read our 2022 Annual Report

Historic funding awarded in the event of even greater demand

Over the past year, employees have worked hard to distribute an SNC-record $34 million in grants from the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP) for projects related to forest and community resilience, land conservation, and access to recreational areas . I am proud that we have funded nearly 50 valuable projects in California’s Sierra Cascade, including seven in the 2-million-acre Trinity, Siskiyou, and Shasta counties, which we welcomed into our service area.

Our WIP capacity work, made possible through the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program, supported project planning and environmental assessment for critical collaborative efforts throughout the Sierra Cascade. These investments create and prepare project pipelines and support all phases in the life of a forest resilience project, for which funding is often scarce.

Still, for every project or partner we funded, there were many good projects that we couldn’t fund. The SNC received over $150 million in grant applications in 2022, showing our regional partners are ready to implement important work on the ground now.

New and updated programs align regional needs and state goals

In 2022, we have adjusted the way we work to improve the way we serve our region and state, expand tribal relationships, and take important steps to embed justice in every one of our programs. SNC plans to build on these efforts in 2023.

On the programmatic side, we have updated funding guidelines– Forest health to respond to the needs of large landscapes damaged by recent high severity fires and both land conservation and recreation and tourism to more closely align with California’s 30×30 and Outdoors for All initiatives.

We also launched a landscape investment strategy that includes a new landscape grant pilot program that, for the first time, aims to pool state and federal funding for large-scale restoration initiatives to tailor risk reduction efforts to the geographic scale of wildfire behavior.

A woman and man sit outside amidst a crown with mountains in the background
SNC CEO Angela Avery and California Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot listen as Danny Manning of the Greenville Rancheria Fire Department sings an opening prayer at the May 2021 opening ceremony for a new sawmill at the Indian Valley Wood Utilization Campus. The SNC-backed lumber mill will help Greenville rebuild and recover after it was largely destroyed by the Dixie Fire.

A remarkable year; a focus on the future

What we’ve accomplished over the past year reinforces my belief in our collective ability to solve big problems.

As California works to address the statewide forest health and wildfire crisis, the SNC and our dedicated team will remain focused on providing effective and efficient support to the stewards of California’s Sierra Cascade. The past year has shown that determination, innovation and teamwork can bring great benefits to the country, those who call it home and all who depend on it for water, clean air or access to its many beauties.

All of us here at SNC remain committed to protecting, restoring and revitalizing California’s Sierra Cascade. We look forward to working with all of you to maintain the important forward momentum of 2022 in 2023.

Learn about a remarkable year for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and California’s Sierra Cascade region.

Read our 2022 Annual Report