Feather River Coordinated Resource Management - 25 years young

    Our Regional cover story this week highlights the good work done by Feather River Coordinated Resource Management. At 25 years, CRM has the longevity to have amassed an impressive portfolio of work — work that is recognized regionally and nationally for its exceptional quality and innovation.

    In “Hope and Hard Times: Communities, Collaboration and Sustainability,” author Ted Bernard cites four reasons for the CRM’s longevity and success: a high level of collaboration; an ability to learn and adapt; a supportive home base in the local community development organization (Plumas Corporation) and exceptional leadership in the person of program manager Jim Wilcox. Wilcox was recently recognized at the national level for his work (see related story). 


   If the first 25 years have been successful for CRM, the next 25 promise even more. As demand for water increases in California, the watershed work of the group will grow more and more important. The trick here is to convince downstream water users of the need to invest in the Feather River watershed.

    Navigating those political waters will be essential if the group is to continue and expand its work in the nest quarter century. One of the reasons the CRM has been so successful, according to Bernard, is that, unlike the Quincy Library Group (another local collaboration he analyzes), the CRM has stayed out of the political and litigation crosshairs.

    The recent research that suggests watershed restoration has a significant impact on carbon sequestration (one way of mitigating the effects of global warming) will likely also play an important part in CRM’s future.

    Discussions of carbon sequestration often focus on forest management. People think of trees, not riparian areas. But, judging from the number of lawsuits that have already been filed over forestry plans that purport to sequester carbon, the same forces that have hamstrung the QLG will likely thwart such efforts.

    The CRM’s work offers a more politically feasible alternative to the timber wars. It may be the better ecological alternative too, given the research which shows that meadows sequester most of their carbon underground, where it can not burn or wash away.

    While we think a balanced approach that incorporates both proper forest management and watershed restoration is the best way to go, we might not be able to win on the forestry front. We think CRM can. And should. And will.

     Happy anniversary — and many more.

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