May 5, 2017
Re: Sequoia Roots Corp Introductory Letter and Objectives
WildPlaces introduces the Sequoia Roots Corp, a newly created habitat restoration Corp that creates jobs in the environmental sector and increases habitat restoration on public lands. Currently employing 5 people of all ages, the Corp implements on-the-ground land and river conservation, stewardship and restoration projects in the southern Sierra Nevada in Tulare, Kern and Fresno Counties. In 2017, the SRC focus is on wildfire recovery. Recent catastrophic wildfires have impacted the Sierra’s diverse flora and fauna while causing sedimentation of rivers and streams resulting in decreased river water quality.
With unemployment amongst young adults in the southern San Joaquin Valley at over 20%, jobs are of paramount concern, without which youth will continue to drop out of school, join gangs, be incarcerated, and fall to the limitations of teen pregnancy. All of these metrics of poverty exist in the regions that WildPlaces’ serves. SRRC is not full or part time positions for this first year.
WildPlaces will create and then utilize this community-based planting and trail maintenance crew as an important part of its capacity development, youth empowerment and increased acres of habitat restored and miles of river repaired. WildPlaces has engaged with Sequoia National Forest and the National Forest Foundation in the planning and funding of projects and training for the Sequoia Roots Corp (SRC) that includes Wilderness Ranger Academy, WildLeaders Training, and watershed education training for projects such as tree planting, trail repair and soil erosion management.
Jeffery, sugar, ponderosa pines, Giant sequoia, and incense cedar seedlings are to be planted in the thousands at the Cedar Fire Burn Area. As well, the outdoor experience of the SRRC working in the Sequoia National Forest will be enhanced through trail reconstruction in wildfire burn areas within two Giant sequoia groves where trails have been partially or completely destroyed or have been unmanaged for years. Three miles of destroyed trails are to be reconstructed in the Rough Fire Burn Area within the Monarch Wilderness and one half mile within the Long Meadow Giant sequoia grove at Trail of 100 Giants. We will be selecting 6-8 women and men to carry out these forest health and civic engagement goals plus one superevisor.
Corp members and supervisor attend two paid trainings: WildLeaders training held in May to train SRC and other volunteers in backcountry logistics, emergency response, risk management, and volunteer management and Wilderness Ranger Academy in June to learn skills in trail repair, tree planting, Wilderness ethic, and use of non-mechanized tools in designated Wilderness Areas; and training in watershed basics TBD.
While natural processes play a major role in forest fire recovery, certain actions to protect California watersheds can be taken to speed the recovery of resource and recreation values by reducing sediment and soil erosion, re-establishing native plant species and seed trees, and repair recreation trails. Public understanding and active participation in these processes is fundamental for land managers to more successfully restore critical habitat on public lands and gain public buy-in to the valuable resources that public lands provide.
Returning resource connectivity through reconstruction of trails and drainage structures are vital to the function of public lands as a resource to the public, and represent places where both pristine nature as well as that in recovery from wildfire can be accessed, enjoyed and witnessed by citizens, whose firsthand experiences will educate and enhance understanding of the function of fire and the differences between natural, slow moving fires and destructive wildfires. Trail work is especially important in Wilderness Areas where this project will in part occur (Monarch
Wilderness) and where trails are the only access allowed. Reconstruction is important to the public as well as to resource manager, fire fighters, restoration crews, and the general public.
- Five selected as paid Corp members from May until September 2017 to carry our forest health and civic engagement goals.
- Conduct WildLeaders Training held in May to train SRC and other volunteers in backcountry logistics, emergency response, risk analysis, and volunteer management.
- Attend Wilderness Ranger Academy for further training in specific skills necessary for conducting work.
- Training will inspire pride and confidence in Nature, leadership development, and teamwork.
- Demonstrate career options in land management and advocacy
- Restore ecosystem resiliency, structure, and diversity on northern Cedar Fire burn area within SFN/Giant Sequoia National Monument (GSNM) by reintroducing native vegetation
- Restore 25-50 acres of wildfire-impacted area restored.
- Plant 2500-3000 Native pine species over three events
- Repair 2-3 miles of theKanawyer Trail which is in the Monarch Wilderness and was severely damaged in the Rough Fire burn. In addition, the Corp will repair trails on the Trail of 100 Giants.
- Protect Giant Sequoia Grovesalong Kanawyer Trail and plant seedlings at the Belknap Grove.
Sequoia Roots Corp Personnel
6 Members total
1 Supervisor: $22-25/ hour @ 30 hours/month for 3-4 months
5 Corps Member: $18-20/hour @ 28 hours/month for 4 months
Selection of members will occur in April, training in May and June, and field work July-Septemberof 2017. This is the first and pilot year of the project and is intended to continue for at least 3 years. Corp members are encouraged to remain in the Corp for at least two years.
Sequoia Roots Corp Job Description
The purposes of the Sequoia Roots Corp are jobs creation in the environmental sector and increased habitat restoration on public lands. Employing 6-8 people 19 or older for seasonal summer projects, the Corp implements on-the-ground land and river conservation, stewardship and restoration projects in the southern Sierra Nevada in Tulare, Kern and Fresno Counties. Recent catastrophic wildfires have impacted the Sierra’s diverse flora and fauna while causing complete forest destruction, sedimentation of rivers and streams resulting in decreased river water quality. The Corp will remedy these effects by planting thousands of conifer seedlings to restore seed trees plusrepairing miles of trail within Wilderness Areas. Project restores and protects fire-impacted areas, wildlife habitat, and public access as well as other services that nature provides (clean air and water).
Work sites within the Rough and Cedar Fire Burn Areas are on rough, uneven, and charred terrain at elevation ranging from 6000-8500 feet. Access to sites is on foot from trailheads for 1 to 7 miles/day for up to five days. Work is strenuous and dangerous requiring use of non-mechanical saws and tools used to clear fallen logs, repair washed out trails, plant seedlings, and remove debris. Removing fallen trees from trails require specialized training and is of particular danger.
While mules will be used in some areas to move equipment and basecamp, all workers and volunteers will be required to carry their own personal items that must include The Ten Essentials of food, sleep, clothes, protection, light, fire, medication/first aid, boots, water purifier, rain protection, radio, , maps and Risk Management Plan. All are required to wear sturdy hiking boots, long thick pants, polypro top, rain jacket, and a hat. Individual PPE gear must always be available and includes goggles/sunglasses, gloves, and helmet. Days of strenuous field work WILL result in exhaustion, muscle soreness, blisters, and insect bites. These must not negatively affect team cohesion, team safety, or personal responsibility.
Removing fallen trees and repairing damaged trails is considered highly dangerous work! Also of danger is uneven terrain, loose soils, and dehydration.
Cedar WildFire Burn Area that lies in the north portion of burn near Protugese Pass. Access is from Sugarloaf (seedlings)
Rough Wildfire Burn area that lies within Monarche Wilderness Hume Lake RD SQF. Access is from North gate Sequoia National Park then onto SQF. (Trails)
Belknap Grove located on Western Divide Hwy within Western Divide RD SQF (trails)
May 13-14 OR May 29-30– Basic Field Leaders Training, Springville, CA
June 5-9 Wilderness Ranger Academy
July- Basic Field Leaders Training, Springville, CA
2017 Work Dates:
Five multi-day fire recovery events. Dates subject to change based on Corp member scheduling needs)
May 20-21 – Cedar Fire
June 3 - Cedar Fire
June 23- 27 - Rough Fire
August 3 - 7 - Rough Fire