Fire Ecosystem Forest Management & Water Yield Symposium


Water yield and Sierra forest management has emerged as a critical issue. Severe drought, increasingly massive fire incidents, fuel loaded forests, and climate change trends combined have forced re-evaluation of watershed forest management methods to increase water supply (and power production), protect forests from catastrophic fires, and build resilience to climate change effects.

Decision-makers, project implementers, water and power managers, researchers, and all stakeholders who want to know the science and economics of healthy forest and water reliability. The Fire Ecosystem Forest Management and Water Yield Symposium presents the current facts and issues from the leading researchers, economists, and demonstration project managers.

2014 Agenda

8:00 am Registration begins. Light continental breakfast, coffee, tea available.
9:00 am Welcome/Agenda Otis Wollan
9:05 am Forests, water, climate and disturbance in the Sierra Nevada: critical knowledge gaps Roger Bales
UC Merced
Where in the world is this research being done? Where are conditions similar? What can be learned from afar? What we know & don't know.
9:40 am The Mokelumne Watershed Avoided Cost Analysis: Comparing the economic benefits of enhancing healthy forests with the costs of fire damage. Nic Enstice
Sierra Nevada Conservancy
New evaluation and analysis of avoided costs of wildfire compared to fuel treatment costs show clear benefits to virtually all stakeholders.
10:10 am Water Yield changes from Forest Treatment Methods Martha Conklin
UC Merced
Results from SNAMP sites in Tahoe NF and Sierra NF of water yield from different levels of fuel reduction treatments.
10:45 am Break - morning
10:55 am Water Yield and Forest Health: Findings from the Sierra Headwaters Carolyn Hunsaker
Sierra NF Paired Watershed Studies compare snow-dominated watersheds with rain and snow watersheds.
11:25 am Wildfires and forest treatment impacts on water yield and quality Terri Hogue
Colorado School of Mines
Post-fire water yield changes across a range of California and western wildfires. Insight on post-treatment studies at Sagehen Creek Field Station, and early work on water quality after the Rim Fire.
11:55 pm Estimating the Potential for Watershed-Scale Forest and Meadow Restoration to Impact Water Yield and Timing in the Northern Sierra Nevada Kristen Podolak
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy Sierra Nevada Project examines forest and meadow restoration at a landscape scale for impacts to water yield, climate change resilience, with a benefit-cost economic analysis.
12:25 pm Lunch - Box Lunch sandwich selection provided
1:00 pm Researchers' Forum: Assessment of existing research, gaps and needs Enstice, Bales, Hunsaker, Conklin, Hogue Are sufficient demonstration/modeling sites in place now? What are the gaps? Is more needed? What will we know, and when will we know it?
1:45 pm Learning from Rim Fire: The Economic Impact on Natural Lands Tim Ramirez
Findings from the SFPUC economic assessment by consultants from Earth Economics published November 27, 2013.
2:15 pm Economic Issues in Optimizing Fire Management and Water Yield; Two Financially Successful Thinning Projects from Blodgett Forest and Collins-Pine Bill Stewart
UC Berkeley Center for Forestry
Using two successful model projects, a financial analysis of thinning to "restoration" levels, implications for water yield and power generation. What are the gaps? the needs?
2:45 pm Optimizing Fire Management and Water Yield: A Landscape Assessment of Potential Andrea Hardlund
UC Berkeley Center for Forestry
This study looks at the larger landscape of the Sierra and assesses the potential for optimizing fire ecosystem forest management and identifies the areas where at this scale projects may be viable.
3:15 pm Linking Land Use entities and Forest Management; Practicality of Biomass Utilization Brett Storey
Placer County
Creating value for nonmerchantable Woody Biomass; local economics for a biomass plant.
3:30 pm Opportunities for adding value to forest management residuals Peter Tittmann
UC Berkeley Center for Forestry
Potential Economic Role of additional tools and forest products to make fuels treatment economic: biochar, synthetic fuels, heat, specialty products, and more.
3:45 pm Primer on Forest Carbon Sequestration Peter Tittmann
UCB Ctr Forestry
Overview of potential role of Forest Carbon Sequestration in forestry project economics.
4:00 pm Economics and Policy of Fire Ecosystem Forestry Forum: What do we need to move forward? Stewart, Kingsbury, Tittmann, Story, Ramirez, Steve Frisch, SBC Next steps: Overcoming obstacles, assuring a sound foundation for managing the fire ecosystem to increase Water Yield, costs, necessary collaborations, partnerships.
4:30 pm Adjourn

Symposium Themes and Goals

The Symposium has invited the leading scientists and economists, who will join policy and project managers, to provide attendees with the state-of-the-art scientific knowledge of each subject area.

More information

Contact the Coordinator, Otis Wollan, if you have questions, or call 530.320.6841

2014 Symposium Planning Team

  • Roger Bales
    UC Merced
  • Carolyn Hunsaker
    USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station
  • John Kingsbury
    Mountain Counties Water Resources Association
  • Bill Stewart
    UC Berkeley School of Forestry
  • Peter Tittmann
    UC Berkeley Center for Forestry
  • Liz Mansfield
    Sierra Water Workgroup
  • Kerri Timmer
    Sierra Business Council
  • Otis Wollan
    American River Watershed Institute