Improving meadow health after the Caldor Fire

Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) member Fatima Burhan is working with American Rivers (AR) as the River Assessment and Restoration Assistant. Fatima works on project management, restoration, assessment, and outreach, including fieldwork and desktop methods to include vegetation, groundwater, hydrology, fuel loading, water quality, and geomorphology/topographical surveys.

This Summer, Fatima and fellow SNAP member Peter Shcadlich have been working on the Caldor Fire Restoration Project. This is American Rivers’ first endeavor into fire recovery – the Caldor fire burned 255,000 acres of California source waters, of which 101,000 acres, or 40%, burned at high severity. Fire recovery is essential in burned areas in order to restore watersheds to their natural ecological state – many burned areas will not recover without assistance.

Fatima and her team completed a robust desktop analysis and conducted more than 30 meadow assessments over their three-month field season. The project used the Meadow Condition Scorecard to create a pipeline of restoration projects within the Caldor Fire Burn. The American Rivers team is also working with the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me Wuk Indians Natural Resources Department to assess meadows and create the project pipeline.

The Caldor Fire Restoration Project works towards American River’s goals of enhancing biodiversity, fighting climate change, and improving water quality in the Sierra Nevada. Healthy meadows sequester carbon and can act as a refugia to ameliorate climate change impacts and fire-related habitat loss, both of which are essential in the age of climate change in the Sierra Nevada.

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