Our second FRB is in bloom!

Blue Forest partner, Yuba Water Agency, announced approval of a $6 million commitment as part of the funding for the second Forest Resilience Bond (FRB) on the Tahoe National Forest

Written by: Jessica Alvarez

Blue Forest partner, Yuba Water Agency, announced approval of a $6 million commitment as part of the funding for the second Forest Resilience Bond (FRB) on the Tahoe National Forest. This 10-year commitment will be financed and blended with other payers to extend infrastructure finance to this critically important watershed. This is the second commitment made by the Agency to support forest restoration projects within the Yuba River Watershed, and builds on the agency’s commitment of $1.5 million made toward the first $4 million FRB. Without the FRB and this collaboration, this restoration work would not occur and could result in a projected economic loss to the water agency and community.

For Yuba Water, this second commitment represents the next step in a broader vision for community protection and forest health at the watershed scale. Their decision is based on the success of Blue Forest’s first FRB, to which Yuba Water also contributed, and the collaborative work of the North Yuba Forest Partnership (NYFP), which seeks to plan forest restoration across all 275,000 acres of the Yuba River Watershed. The economic and environmental benefits of increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration benefit the water agency by reducing wildfire risk and protecting water supply. Additionally, the project supports community resilience across Yuba & Sierra Counties, providing jobs and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

The Agency is making a long-term investment in the local natural infrastructure, based on economic analyses of the services provided by the forests, rivers, and meadows within their home watershed. This innovative and holistic approach to natural resources, facilitated by research from the World Resources Institute, is also quite timely; it aligns with the goals of the State of California, which include supporting projects that address the landscape-level problems of wildfire and forest health. Further, locking in support from Yuba Water early in this process will allow leveraging of new sources of funding from the State, which will likely become available in the coming year as a result of rebudgeting, and ought to result in increased funding through grant programs from State agencies over the coming two years.

This second FRB will tackle more than 30,000 acres of fuels reduction and forest health projects across the Yuba River Ranger District and will protect more than 50,000 acres on the Tahoe National Forest itself, including many that would not otherwise have the funding to be fully implemented without Yuba Water support. As the NYFP continues to develop plans for its watershed-scale restoration project, this second FRB will set the stage for that larger effort by reducing fuel loads and protecting critical habitat as quickly as possible.

The North Yuba Forest Partnership (NYFP), is a diverse group of nine organizations committed to forest health and the resilience of the North Yuba River watershed. Together, the partners are working on an unprecedented scale to collaboratively plan, analyze, finance, and implement forest restoration across 275,000 acres of the watershed. The group includes Blue Forest, National Forest Foundation, US Forest Service, Yuba Water Agency, South Yuba River Citizens League, Sierra County, Camptonville Community Partnership, Nevada City Rancheria, and The Nature Conservancy.