Burney-Hat Creek Collaborative Forestry Introduction
The Burney-Hat Creek Community Forest and Watershed Group (BHCCFWG) is a collaborative forestry effort founded in 2009. This group is dedicated to improving social, environmental, and economic conditions in the Burney Creek and Hat Creek watersheds, located primarily in Lassen and Shasta Counties, CA. These two watersheds total 364,250 acres, 58 percent of which is managed by the Lassen National Forest. Another 29 percent is owned by large private forestland owners and four percent by large ranches. The map below shows the Burney-Hat Creek basins and mixture of land ownership within. Local communities suffer from high unemployment and face an unprecedented risk of wildfire in surrounding forests; the BHCCFWG has committed to lead a public-private effort to address these and other concerns.
The Shasta Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) met in early 2008 and were tasked with the allocation renewed Title II program funds. Previously, grant proposals were reviewed and funded by the RAC to implement a variety of projects that met program objectives. However, many individuals on the committee felt a scale of efficiency was lost when funding several smaller projects, although many of these small projects had merit. A discussion followed that advocated and supported the idea of funding a larger project that met the objectives of the statute to create jobs, develop economic stability for rural communities and stability for payment of counties, as well as having the components of many of the small projects previously funded by the RAC. This discussion eventually led to the idea of using RAC funds to form a type of community stewardship project that would serve as a model of how the local stakeholders could provide input regarding locally managed federal lands. RAC representatives approached the Fall River Resource Conservation District (RCD) in mid-March 2009 to introduce the concept and encourage a larger project submittal. The Fall River RCD submitted a proposal to the RAC in May 2009 and this proposal officially resulted in the formation of the Burney-Hat Creek Community Forest and Watershed Group (BHCCFWG). Today, the BHCCFWG holds regular bimonthly meetings with a variety of state, federal, and local participants and continues to inform the management of natural resources in public and private lands.
Sierra Institute and the BHCCFWG:
The Sierra Institute was contracted early in the formation of the BHCFFWG to conduct a socioeconomic assessment of the Burney-Hat Creek area. This assessment included a description of current social and economic trends, a stakeholder analysis of community members, and an institutional assessment of other collaborative forestry efforts to inform the direction of the BHCCFWG. This assessment provided a foundation for developing effective group processes and objectives. You can view the full report here.
Sierra Institute currently provides facilitation services for the BHCCFWG. Facilitation, at a basic level, involves handling meeting logistics like agenda development, meeting minutes, and directing meeting flow. Sierra Institute’s role extends beyond these fundamental activities to guide members towards decisions that support the group’s founding principles and vision. The BHCCFWG is comprised of diverse members with different values and interests related to the environment; managing these multiple perspectives is at the root of Sierra Institute’s facilitation role.
The BHCCFWG is also one of the original members of Sierra Institute’s SCALE effort. SCALE is a mechanism that brings together collaborative forestry groups in California to share experiences and advance common goals.
Additional Information and Contact:
The BHCCFWG holds meetings on a regular basis and are always open to the public. If you are interested in learning more about this collaborative forestry effort or would like to get involved, please contact email@example.com or phone 530.284.1022.
Written by JRO for Project Spotlight on Collaborative Forestry, April 2017.