Sierra Meadows 1

2:15 - 3:45


(2 sessions)

A significant portion of the water that flows through the riparian areas of California originates in the Sierra Nevada. Atop these important watersheds lie the first riparian habitats in the system: meadows. Meadows represent less than 1 percent of the Sierra landscape, but they are disproportionately important for the ecological services they render. Functional meadows are hotspots for biodiversity, attenuate floods, store carbon and water, and improve water quality. Unfortunately a majority of meadows have been degraded, reducing the quality and quantity of these ecological services, and climate change threatens to exacerbate these effects. Efforts are underway to restore and protect the meadows in the Sierra Nevada region. In this session we will hear about the partnership that has been formed and its ambitious goal to restore and protect Sierra Meadows in the next decade, as well as a number of projects that detail success stories and highlight the further work required to protect these unique riparian areas for wildlife and people—from quantifying carbon benefits of restoration for California’s emerging GHG market, to using beavers to restore degraded meadows, and responses of biodiversity to previously restored meadows. We will explore the factors that have led to successes that may be applied to other systems and identify barriers to increasing the pace, scale, and benefits of meadow restoration and conservation in the next decade.

Room Name
Ballroom B