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Fire Ecosystem Forest Management and Water Yield Symposium

Held on: May 2, 2014 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the U.S. Forest Service Wildland Fire Training Center, McClellan, Calif.

Sponsored by: U.S. Forest Service PSW Region 5, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Sierra Business Council, Mt. Counties Water Resources Association, American River Watershed Institute

Goals: Water yield and Sierra forest management has emerged as a critical issue. Severe drought, increasingly massive fire incidents, fuel loaded forests, and climate change trends combined have forced re-evaluation of watershed forest management methods to increase water supply (and power production), protect forests from catastrophic fires, and build resilience to climate change effects.

Key goals of the Symposium were to:

  • Provide an overview of the topic and a summary of what we know now from published and reviewed scientific studies, (Bales, February 2014).
  • Present the current research in Sierran forests on water yield and management practices from four lead researchers with summaries of what we know to date.
  • Convene a researchers’ forum to discuss what we need to know, where are the gaps, what we will know, and when will we know it.
  • Provide an overview of the issues from local, regional, state and federal levels with examples of model projects and plans.
  • Present an economic model of optimal forest treatment methods with cost/benefit comparisons to wildfire, (SNC, April 2014).
  • Present the economic assessment of the Rim Fire, and climate change predictions for Sierran fire trends, (EarthEconomics, December 2013).
  • Describe the economics of ecosystem service elements that are part of fire management practices, with examples of successful projects with financial analysis.
  • Convene the economics and leadership forum for a dialogue on next steps.

Symposium Planning Team:

Roger Bales, UC Merced; Carolyn Hunsaker, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station; John Kingsbury, Mountain Counties Water Resources Association; Bill Stewart, UC Berkeley School of Forestry; Peter Tittmann, UC Berkeley Center for Forestry; Liz Mansfield, Sierra Water Workgroup; Kerri Timmer, Sierra Business Council; Otis Wollan, American River Watershed Institute. Coordinator, Otis Wollan, at otiswollan@gmail.com, cell .WWW.FIRESYMPOSIUM.ARWI.US