The current level of state, federal, local, and private investment in our forested watersheds is inadequate to meet the need. The consequences of overgrown, unhealthy forests result in far greater costs than the restoration work needed. These outlays come in the form of fire suppression, losses of property and infrastructure, and other socio-economic costs.
Opportunities to establish more reliable funding sources for restoration in the Sierra exist, but we need coordination among federal, state, and local agencies and private partners.
Potential funding sources include:
- Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund
- Bond measures
- Integrated Regional Watershed Management funding
- State Responsibility Area Fund
- Timber Regulation and Forest Restoration Fund (Assembly Bill 1492)
Currently, federal fire suppression activities are financed through the U.S. Forest Service’s base budget, which results in less funding being available for restoration and other activities. Congress has made numerous efforts to address this issue, but it continues to be a significant contributor to the poor health of so many public forests.
Private or Beneficiaries Pay Funding
- Social bonds, or “pay for success” financing: Private investors pay for interventions in public sector resources, and then get repaid if the objectives are met.
- Valuing ecosystem services: Place a value on ecosystem services to pay for the benefit received, in a way structured to sustain the resource over the long term.
- End user water fees (public goods charge): Place a value on specific services, identify the beneficiaries of those services, and then allocate commensurate charges.
- Private and foundation investment targeted at ecological outcomes