Last year, the U.S. Forest Service
signed the first Master Stewardship Agreement for our area. The agreement formed a partnership to allow the authority to take on Forest Service projects and contract directly for the work.
The Authority is made up of the water agencies in Amador and Calaveras counties, the East Bay Municipal Utility District, and Alpine, Amador and Calaveras counties. It has contracted with Landmark Environmental, Inc., of Placerville to implement projects under the stewardship agreement. Last year, Landmark wrote a $500,000 Sierra Nevada Conservancy grant application for the Authority to fund the Pumpkin Hollow Project in the upper South Fork Mokelumne watershed. The funding was secured this year and the work began this summer. The Authority is paying Landmark for grant writing and administration. The East Bay Municipal Utility District funds 60 percent of the agency’s budget.
Pumpkin Hollow is part of the larger Hemlock Project, a landscape-scale forest restoration project developed by the Stanislaus National Forest in cooperation with the Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group, in which Foothill Conservancy participates. The Authority is likely to take on another Hemlock Project, Cabbage Patch, if it can secure more Sierra Nevada Conservancy funds.
We’re pleased to see this forest and watershed partnership moving ahead. When the Authority was originally formed in 2000, we successfully persuaded it to include watershed restoration in its mission. We recommended the Authority to the Forest Service for the Master Stewardship Agreement and have urged the Authority to develop a local hiring preference for its forest project work. We regularly attend Authority meetings and recently participated in its first strategic planning workshop.