WHAT'S HAPPENING AT SAWA?
SAWA Conducts Biological Monitoring Element of Award-Winning Fuel Reduction Project
Posted December 6, 2018
The Santa Ana Watershed Association (SAWA) was contracted by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District (IERCD) from 2015 to 2018 to help develop sensitive species avoidance measures for fuel reduction programs throughout the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains on private land. The unique partnership between IERCD, NRCS and SAWA biologists, who can survey quickly once projects are ready, worked within small windows of time between snow season and fire season. This partnership greatly accelerated the local capacity to complete forest restoration.
SAWA Wildlife Habitat Management Services (WHMS) biologists developed the biological monitoring program element of the project. SAWA biologists conducted nesting bird surveys before the start of any fuel reduction work on site. If biologists observed nests, they flagged them with the appropriate buffers to allow work to continue. Nocturnal creatures, such as spotted owls and flying squirrels, were also monitored if found. Once a site was cleared, projects had to proceed within five days.
Because of the value of this unique project, the Redlands NRCS and IERCD were awarded the Conservation Innovators Award for 2018 at the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) Conference in November. The two conservation groups had previously secured funding for dozens of landowners to thin overgrown forests, improving forest health and reducing wildfire hazards. IERCD invited SAWA to participate in the acceptance of the award because of the innovative way IERCD, NRCS and SAWA collaborated to aid in the speediest response time for private land owners to do work.
Because of the value of their unique forest health and wildfire hazards reduction project, the Redlands NRCS and IERCD were awarded the Conservation Innovators Award for 2018 at the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) Conference in November in San Diego. Shown from left to right are IERCD Program Manager Susie Kirschner, NRCS State Conservationist Carlos Suarez, NRCS District Conservationist Tomás Aguilar-Campos, SAWA Biologist II Maricela Archer, SAWA WHMS Supervisor Allyson Beckman, and SAWA WHMS Manager Melody Aimar.