The importance of restoring and preserving meadows

Meadows in the California Sierra Nevada play a vital role in supporting wildlife and plant diversity, providing habitat for all life history stages of many fish and amphibian species, attenuating floods, storing, filtering, and releasing water, sequestering carbon, providing forage for livestock, and providing unique aesthetic and recreational values for everyone. Healthy meadows add resiliency to the hydrologic and ecological processes that sustain California’s headwaters. However, current estimates indicate that over half of these meadows, approximately 100,000 acres, are not providing all of these ecological and social benefits because they are degraded due to a long history of impacts and increasing stress associated with climate change and land use change. For over ten years, Stillwater has provided technical and strategic support in protecting and restoring mountain meadows, including co-authoring a 2010 NFWF Business Plan to restore and preserve meadows. This past year, Stillwater worked with CalTrout, American Rivers, the USFS, Trout Unlimited, UC Davis, the USGS, Plumas Corporation, and many others in the meadow community to renew and expand our commitment to restoring and conserving healthy meadows in the Sierra Nevada. This plan is a framework that provides guidance on how we can increase the pace and scale of meadow restoration and preservation to attain a goal of 30,000 acres of meadows preserved/restored by 2030.