Strategic Watershed Protection in Placer County
Placer Land Trust is working to protect over 6,200 acres of watershed lands in the Bear River, Yuba River, and American River watersheds of Placer County by the end of 2019. This project is part of a land conservation commitment stemming from a 2003 PG&E bankruptcy settlement (see below) in which PG&E is working with land trusts, the Stewardship Council, and other partners to permanently protect a total of 140,000 acres of resource and recreation land in Northern California.
Placer Land Trust will hold conservation easements for more than a dozen properties that will remain owned by PG&E or donated to other partners. This is a terrific boon to public benefit for the region, as these lands will be conserved in perpetuity for purposes of outdoor recreation, open space preservation, sustainable forestry and/or protection of natural resources and historic and cultural resources. Additionally, PG&E’s production of hydropower on these lands will continue unimpeded.
In 2016 we celebrated the first of these properties at Christian Valley Park, a 16-acre recreation property east of Auburn. In 2017 our second project was completed, the 10-acre Bear River Pinecroft Reserve near Colfax. The bulk of the rest of the projects will be completed in 2017 and 2018. We are committed to not only permanently preserving these lands, but also to keeping or enhancing the public’s ability to access them, for generations and generations to come.
For example, 248 acres around Kidd Lake and Cascade Lakes, including a campground and the western portion of the at the Royal Gorge cross country ski area will be part of this portfolio of protected lands. This land provides world-class recreational opportunities for hiking, swimming, cross-country skiing, camping, non-motorized boating and fishing…as well as being valuable to the regions’ wildlife and water quality.
Keep an eye out for announcements about additional Placer County gems in the coming months and years.
Our partners in conserving watershed land
In 2001 PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; two years later they reached a settlement agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and additional parties that included a stipulation on Land Conservation Commitment. Under this stipulation, PG&E watershed lands were to be subject to conservation easements and/or be donated to public entities or non-profit organizations for public benefit. The total reach comprises 140,000 acres of watershed lands spanning 22 counties across the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges.
The Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council (Stewardship Council) is a private, nonprofit foundation established in 2004 to enact the PG&E settlement and oversee the conservation of these lands, as well as build youth programming that connect young Californians with the outdoors. The Stewardship Council keeps the public informed about its programs, board meetings and actions, and seeks public input in the development of recommendations related to donations of fee title or conservation easements, funding of enhancement measures, proposed land conservation plans and other related matters.
Placer Land Trust has also partnered with Placer County and the Auburn Recreation District on its first two projects, and anticipates also working with the University of California and others to complete and enhance the rest of these projects.
For more information about PLTs involvement in this program, give us a call at (530) 887-9222.