An All Lands Workshop
Last week the Sierra Institute hosted its biannual SCALE meeting in Sacramento. More people and groups attended this SCALE meeting than ever before, coming from all over California and representing over eleven collaborative groups. Some of the collaboratives have been involved with SCALE since the beginning, but others were brand new. We heard introductions from new groups such as Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions, Alpine Biomass Committee and the South Lassen Watersheds Group, as well as updates from Dinkey, Trinity County, Burney-Hat Creek and more. There were over 60 people in attendance with diverse backgrounds and interests, all with the goal of learning how to best work together to implement forest restoration projects.
The workshop was focused on providing tools and support to collaboratives to move from project planning to implementation, and was designed to incorporate lots of small and large group discussions to capitalize on the wealth of knowledge in the room. Sessions included expert stations on different USFS tools and authorities such as the Wyden Authority and Stewardship Contracting, presentations on community development and local jobs and a panel discussion about different partnership and funding opportunities. In the afternoon, we broke into small groups, each focused on brainstorming ideas to address a problem facing one of the collaboratives. In the group I was in, representatives from older collaboratives and USFS employees gave advice to the relatively new group Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions on how to start identifying and prioritizing projects.
The topic that was probably the most eye-opening to those in attendance was the involvement of water agencies in forest restoration. We heard from both the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority http://www.sawpa.org/collaboration/projects/forest-first/ and Blue Forest Conservation http://www.blueforestconservation.com/ about the concept of payment for ecosystem services, in other words, having downstream water users pay for projects upstream that will keep their water clean.
The meeting was followed by a networking happy hour. Even though it was a hundred degrees in Sacramento on Tuesday, and many attendees had long drives ahead of them, some of them stayed for a few hours on the patio to talk to each other and share their experience and ideas. Those who came to the meeting left with an awareness of different tools and strategies that they could explore with their collaboratives in the future.
Check back next week for the final SCALE blog post.
Written by LB for Project Spotlight: SCALE May 2017