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Enhancement Program

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Students removing noxious weeds

In 2012, the Stewardship Council launched its Environmental Enhancement Program (Enhancement Program) to improve the quality and character of the six Beneficial Public Values (BPVs) as well as the user’s experience of those lands. Overall, the Enhancement Program is expected to result in approximately $15 million in grants being awarded for projects that enhance the BPVs of the Watershed Lands and promote productive partnerships involving landowners, conservation easement holders, local communities, youth, and other stakeholders. Examples of some of the projects funded to date include habitat restoration, recreational trails and facilities, cultural resource protection and interpretation, forest research, management plans, planning and feasibility studies, and biological surveys. 

 In 2014 an Enhancement Review Committee (ERC) was established to review grant proposals, apply evaluation criteria, and make recommendations to the Stewardship Council board regarding the proposals, funding amounts, and grant conditions. The committee was formed with several board members, a representative from one of the land trusts holding conservation easements, and a Sierra Nevada Conservancy representative.  

 From 2011 through 2016 the Stewardship Council awarded enhancement grants, totaling approximately $2.9 million to twelve organizations. This included:  

 ·     * $2,000,000 for two major projects at Hat Creek planning unit, Shasta County for habitat restoration, trail development, and cultural resource protection  

·      * $140,000 for Merced River Riparian restoration project  

·      * $400,000 for the development of land management and adaptive management plans   

·      * $350,000 for planning and feasibility studies  

·      * $100,000 for cultural resource protection, ethnographic and biological surveys   

 In 2017 the Stewardship Council solicited concepts for additional enhancement projects and has awarded these additional grants that are in process:

·        * Fall River Lake Trail Improvement and Ecocultural Enhancement Project - The Fall River Valley Community Service District, working in partnership with Lomakatsi Restoration Project will use $299,230 to build 1.8 miles of trail, complete oak woodland restoration, including benches and interpretive signage.   

·        * Indian Ole Public Access Improvements - Mountain Meadows Conservancy will use $130,000 to build a half mile of trail with a restroom and interpretive signage.   

·        * Tàsmam Kojòm Maidu Cultural Park - MSC will use $178,800 to improve infrastructure for the first Tribal Cultural Park in California and to protect natural and cultural resources that may be impacted from increased visitor use. MSC will improve Yellow Creek Campground in the Property with upgraded restrooms, a new cooking area, a new group campsite, and upgraded existing campsites with food storage lockers and amenities. MSC will also construct a kiosk with interpretive panels and limited connecting trails, along with a meadow restoration project funded with matching grants from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  

·        * Bass Lake North Fork Regional Trail - Madera County will use $502,882 to develop a new walk-in campground, a connecting trail, and a staging area for multiple use access to the campground at the property.  The County has planned a new regional park at the site and the trail will link other trail segments in the area for the growing regional system. It will also complete a fuels reduction project to prevent catastrophic wildfire damage to the property and surrounding habitat.   

 In June 2019, the Stewardship Council awarded $5 million to San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) to acquire and improve Sky Mountain Camp at Lake Valley Reservoir. The camp will be enhanced beyond its typical use as a youth summer Christian camp. In the future it will function as a youth environmental and science camp that will serve school children, teachers for professional development, and other groups' team building and outdoor recreation activities. SJCOE is an innovative organization that already runs one of the oldest, largest, and most successful outdoor education programs in California at Jones Gulch in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

 At the beginning of 2020 the Stewardship Council solicited a new round of concept applications in January 2020 and received 13 applications requesting a total of $7 million. The ERC is currently evaluating these applications and additional grant awards are expected to begin in early 2021.  

 If you have any questions regarding the Enhancement Program please contact Steve Schweigerdt at 916-277-0700 or sschweigerdt@stewardshipcouncil.org.

 

 

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