Contact Senators Feinstein and Boxer to help protect land in the Sierra Nevada

From the Trust for Public Land

This year, the Forest Service has an opportunity to acquire 3,700 acres of forestland in the Sierra Nevada. An appropriation of $5 million is needed through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Interior Appropriations bill to protect these lands.

YOUR MESSAGE IS KEY TO SECURING CRITICAL FUNDING IN FY 2009!

In the 19th century, in order to spur construction of the transcontinental railroads through the barrier of the Sierra Nevada to the Pacific, the federal government granted lands to railroad companies in alternating square miles along the route. The subsequent Sierra “checkerboard” of alternating federal and private ownership presents numerous challenges including mixtures of pristine and degraded wildlife habitats, areas opened and closed to recreation, forests interspersed with housing, and complications in forest fire management. Projected population increases in the counties around Lake Tahoe over the next 20 to 40 years dramatically heighten the threats to this landscape, promising further habitat fragmentation, invasion of nonnative species, deterioration of water quality, and increasing difficulties in managing wildfire. The Forest Service has identified the Tahoe National Forest as one of three national forests in the West projected to be most affected by increased housing development in the next two decades.

To meet these challenges, the Forest Service has sought to consolidate these checkerboard lands. Available for acquisition in FY 2009 are nineteen parcels of land, covering 3,700 acres in the vicinity of the Middle and North Yuba rivers in Sierra and Nevada counties. The Forest Service has recognized that north-south habitat connectivity is crucial to wildlife migration in the Sierra Nevada, and the adaptive challenges now being brought to the fore by climate change reinforce the need to consolidate these checkerboard lands. These parcels also provide riparian corridor habitat for numerous species, not only along the Middle Yuba, but also along key tributaries of the North Yuba River. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) lies near some of the parcels in areas popular with PCT hikers. In addition, the North Yuba River flows alongside the Yuba-Donner Scenic Byway, from which some of these lands are visible. Land along this highway is very popular for a variety of recreational pursuits, including cross-country skiing, hiking, fishing, biking, whitewater rafting and camping.

PLEASE ACT NOW!

Congress will soon be considering its LWCF priorities for FY 2009. Please contact Senators Feinstein and Boxer, thank them for their previous support for conservation in the Sierras, and encourage them to seek an appropriation of $5 million for Tahoe National Forest in the FY 2009 Interior Appropriations bill.

PLEASE CONTACT:

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Senate       
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954
http://feinstein.senate.gov/  

The Honorable Barbara Boxer
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone:  (202) 224-3553
Fax:  (202) 224-0454
http://boxer.senate.gov/

(NOTE: There is a significant delay in the delivery of letters to Members of Congress due to security concerns. Instead, we strongly encourage you to fax, call, or electronically contact your Member of Congress in order to ensure prompt receipt. For online contact, please go to the congressional websites listed below and follow instructions for constituent contact.)

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Sample Letter:

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein (or Barbara Boxer)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C.20510

Dear Senator Feinstein (or Barbara Boxer)

        I am writing in support of an appropriation of $5 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the Forest Service to acquire 3,700 acres of forestland in the Sierra NevadaMountains. The parcels are along the Middle and North Yuba rivers in the TahoeNational Forest.

        The checkerboard ownership pattern in the Sierras is one of the significant challenges facing Forest Service land management. Private parcels interspersed with public ownership present the possibility of development or other incompatible uses that threaten wildlife migration corridors, water quality, forest management, fire control, recreational access, and scenic views. The consolidation of checkerboard lands has become as an acquisition priority for the Forest Service in California.

        Available for acquisition in FY 2009 are nineteen parcels of land, covering 3,700 acres in the vicinity of the Middle and North Yuba rivers in Sierra and Nevada counties. The Forest Service has recognized that north-south habitat connectivity is crucial to wildlife migration in the Sierra Nevada, and the adaptive challenges now being brought to the fore by climate change, reinforce the need to consolidate these checkerboard lands.

The Sierras provide popular destinations for recreational users from nearby Sacramento, Reno, and the San FranciscoBay Area. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) lies near some of the parcels, and the area is very popular for a variety of other pursuits including cross-country skiing, fishing, biking, whitewater rafting and camping.

If the Forest Service is unable to acquire these lands, the result would likely be additional fragmentation and development, complicating management of the surrounding Forest Service lands. Protecting these parcels will help ensure public access, critical habitat protection, and water protection in the Sierra Nevada.

Thank you for your continued support of protecting the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Tahoe National Forest.

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For more info please contact:
Maddy Pope
Director of National Outreach,
The Trust for Public Land
406.585.4699
maddy.pope@tpl.org
http://www.tpl.org/

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