What is Sierra CAMP?
The Sierra Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership (Sierra CAMP) is an engaged group of individuals and organizations who understand that their well-being depends on the health and long-term resilience of the natural systems around them. Our work is based on the belief that social, economic, and environmental systems are interconnected and inseparable, and that collaboration between diverse sectors and communities is essential for growth and prosperity -- especially in an era of warming temperatures and a changing climate.
A public-private, cross-sector partnership housed within Sierra Business Council, Sierra CAMP works to 1) identify and promote climate adaptation and mitigation strategies across the region, and 2) build connections with downstream urban areas to develop broader support for investment in Sierra resources that are critical to the rest of the state.
Sierra CAMP is one of the five regional climate adaptation and mitigation collaboratives supported by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research through the Alliance for Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA).
Sierra CAMP Objectives
Sierra CAMP aims to reduce the burden of climate impacts on communities and ecosystems throughout the Sierra-Cascade region, as well as in the downstream urban communities that depend on those rural resources.
To achieve this vision, Sierra CAMP's objectives are:
- Educate and engage Sierra stakeholders on climate policy (policy analysis, webinars, etc.)
- Convene Sierra stakeholders to discuss and vet policy issues
- Develop and strengthen connections with urban downstream users of Sierra ecosystem services to build a stronger collective voice for investment in Sierra resources.
- Catalyze on-the-ground climate demonstration projects in the region.
What is the difference between Adaptation, Mitigation, and Resilience?
Mitigation is the act of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to slow the effects of climate change. Example: Adopting and implementing an Energy Action Plan, carbon sequestration, energy efficiency, renewable energy, etc.
Adaptation is preparing for the current and projected regional impacts of climate change to reduce their intensity. Example: Adopting and implementing an Adaptation Plan/Hazard Mitigation Plan, reducing tree mortality, creating drought-tolerant communities and ecosystems, building fire breaks, etc.
Resilience is the ability to withstand the impacts of climate change; the end goal of climate action. Example: Damage to infrastructure and homes from extreme flooding is avoided due to green infrastructure, forest restoration, and flood walls. Weather events are not as extreme as predicted by climate scientists because greenhouse gas emissions have decreased and stabilized.
The partnership region spans from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in the south all the way north to the Oregon border and southern section of the Cascade mountain range, and from the Sierra foothills to the Nevada border. This is the Sierra Nevada Conservancy boundary plus the California Tahoe Conservancy boundary (links).
The Sierra-Cascade* is a resource-rich region covering more than 25% of California’s land area, or 25+ million acres. It is the state’s principal watershed, supplying up to 2/3 of California’s developed water supply for urban areas – including San Francisco, the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast and Southern California – and 1/3 of California’s rich agricultural land.
The Sierra-Cascade sustains 60% of California’s animal species and almost half of its plant species. In addition, the Sierra-Cascade supplies up to half of California’s annual timber yield and 15% of the state’s power needs, with the capacity to develop even more renewable energy through biomass, solar, and wind power. Its forests and agricultural lands are also uniquely situated to help reduce the impacts of a changing climate by sequestering carbon and can store enough carbon to offset the annual CO2 emissions of 108 coal-fired power plants.
* While the Sierra Nevada as defined by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy boundaries includes portions of the Southern Cascade, for the sake of brevity, Sierra CAMP will frequently call the region simply “The Sierra”.
Sierra CAMP California Region
Why Sierra CAMP: Climate Impacts in the Sierra
The critical ecosystem services outlined above are all at risk. In 2015, the Sierra's snowpack was at a 500 year low. Despite the record-breaking precipitation of January 2017, much of the Central Valley and the southern half of the Sierra continue to experience significant drought. The general decrease in the Sierra snowpack in recent years, projected to continue in the coming decades, will continue to have significant impact on downstream users. Moreover, warmer temperatures cause the snowpack to melt at a quicker rate rather than seep into the ground, both failing to replenish California’s critical groundwater supply and creating greater flood risk in the region.
Additionally, frequent and severe wildfires have led to many communities experiencing hazardous air quality conditions and have imposed great costs on Californians. The 2013 Rim Fire in Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park was the largest wildfire ever recorded in the Sierra, and the third largest in state history, burning over a quarter of a million acres. The 2014 King Fire in El Dorado County burned over 90,000 acres of land, with firefighting costs topping $5 million per day.
With warming temperatures resulting in decreased snowpack, continued drought, greater flood risk, and more numerous and damaging wildfires becoming the new "normal", we need to act now to protect California communities and the resources they depend on.
Sierra CAMP starts by bringing together key voices within the Sierra region to vet policy solutions that meet the unique needs of our region. Sierra CAMP also goes a step further by engaging urban downstream communities and decision-makers in crafting solutions. Sierra CAMP's vision is to have community leaders from Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area urging lawmakers to invest in the upper watershed to ensure the reliability of their water, energy, recreation and other resources.
As the state makes historic decisions about where to invest billions in new and existing funding, Sierra CAMP offers a collaborative mechanism for ensuring that the connection between urban population centers and the rural resources they depend on is recognized and valued.
- Local governments
- Special districts
- Nonprofit organizations
- Health and human services
- State of California agencies
- Federal agencies
- Urban collaboratives in Sacramento, Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego
To learn more about becoming a member, contact Sierra CAMP Project Manager Nikki Caravelli.
Sierra Business Council
Sierra CAMP was founded in 2014 by Sierra Business Council and operates under the strategic guidance of the Sierra CAMP Leadership Committee, composed of Sierra Business Council Staff and volunteer Sierra CAMP members. Sierra Business Council is a 501(c)(3) organization with more than two decades of history fostering thriving communities in the Sierra through projects that promote, develop and amplify the area’s social, environmental and economic capital.