Sierra Nevada Restoration Specialist – Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership, Tuolumne River Trust

Sonora, California

Organizational Background:

The Tuolumne River Trust is located in the Sierra Nevada, and has a core mission of protecting and restoring the Tuolumne River and its watershed for future and present generations. Not only does the Tuolumne River provide ample recreational opportunities such as whitewater rafting, but it also supplies the drinking water for 2.6 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, hydroelectric power for much of Northern California, and irrigation for 200,000 acres of Central Valley farmland.

This watershed was severely impacted by the 257,000-acre Rim Fire in 2013, and a widespread tree mortality epidemic. The Tuolumne River Trust has more than $20 million in funding from agencies such as the Wildlife Conservation Board, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, the USFS, and CalFire to help restore watersheds and increase resiliency within the Sierra Nevada. Our work is currently focused in the Stanislaus National Forest, in the footprint of the 257,000 Rim Fire of 2013 and in a new 117,000 acre large landscape plan that expands our impact footprint into the Stanislaus River Watershed. We work closely with volunteer groups, schools, and community members to help ensure an engaged and collaborative approach to landscape restoration is undertaken.

Number of Member Positions at this Site: 1

Site Supervisor’s Name(s) and Title(s):

  • Julia Stephens, Restoration Program Director

Position Description:

The Tuolumne River Trust is seeking a SNAP to assist with watershed restoration projects involving trail maintenance, and restoration projects along the Wild and Scenic stretch of the Tuolumne. Volunteer recruitment and volunteer project coordination will be a component of this position. This summer SNAPs will especially play a hands on role in the planning and implementation of process-based meadow restoration techniques and meadow monitoring in several mountain meadows. This SNAP position will also assist with thousands of acres of ongoing forest health and restoration implementation under a Master Stewardship Agreement held between Tuolumne County and the Stanislaus National Forest where TRT serves as project managers, and will represent the Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions forest collaborative in forest restoration monitoring, with an emphasis on reforestation site assessment, botany survey quality assurance, and fuel reduction monitoring.

Our work occurs within the Tuolumne River Watershed and the Stanislaus River Watershed, but the impact of our work extends down through the Central Valley and out to San Francisco, as the headwaters of the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers provide critical drinking water, irrigation, and wildlife habitat for millions of people and tens of thousands of acres of California.

Site-Specific Training Provided:

The Tuolumne River Trust will provide GIS trainings, restoration and monitoring training, safety training, and leadership training, and will allow for SNAPs to attend County Board of Supervisors Meetings, Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions (YSS) forest collaborative meetings, and meetings such as the SCALE (Sierra to California All-Lands Enhancement) meetings, as well as educational trainings and webinars that further the SNAPs interests and the organization’s purpose.

Things to Note:

Tuolumne County is a rural Sierra Nevada county. The terrain we work on is rugged and remote. The ability to hike through steep terrain is required. The ability to learn land navigation and GPS skills is a must. Poison oak is common in many of our field sites! Tuolumne County does not have a robust public transportation system—SNAPs should expect to have a reliable personal vehicle to get to grocery stores, the Tuolumne River Trust office, etc..

Fieldwork can be intense! Projects often require a high level of physical exertion whether it is through repairing a hiking trail, building a erosion control structure in a meadow creek, or hiking long distances up steep and brushy mountain slopes to assess forest health work. Some projects require early mornings, long drives, and hot days. Additionally, SNAPs are expected to pivot to computer-focused work on non-field days and be able to put technical skills to good use.

Previous SNAPs have used pulses of work to accrue hours, allowing them to take three or four day weekends for backpacking trips or to head to the California coast.

We often live out the “work hard, play hard” mantra, working sixty hour weeks to finish out a project and then disappearing into the mountains to rest and explore. Your time as a SNAP at TRT will be what you make of it! Outside of our field work, there are many opportunities to recreate and relax, but only if you have initiative to seek them! The Stanislaus National Forest is filled with amazing swimming holes and hiking trails, and Yosemite National Park abuts the Stanislaus National Forest.

For activities such as whitewater rafting, rock climbing, backpacking, and more, Tuolumne County is hard to beat. Access to sequoia groves and unparalleled mountain ranges does come at a cost though—hour long drives to a good swimming hole are normal!

All members qualify for:

  • $2,318.18 stipend per month
  • Standard health, dental, and vision insurance
  • Student loan forbearance during the service term
  • CA subsidized Childcare stipends are available
  • Professional Environmental experience and networking- $250 Individual Training Budget
  • AmeriCorps members who successfully complete a service term will earn an education award

Click here for more information and to apply.

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