Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative

What is the Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative (TCSI)?

The Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative (TCSI), a part of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP), brings together innovative approaches to increase the pace and scale of restoration work that gets done across the watersheds of the Central Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe areas.

Building upon several large-scale regional efforts and best available science, the TCSI Partners have established the Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative (TCSI) to accelerate regional scale forest and watershed restoration through ecologically based management actions while creating the opportunities to support a forest restoration economy and explore innovative process, investment, and governance tools.

The TCSI is a part of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program, which builds upon the objectives and activities of:

  • the California Governor’s Tree Mortality Task Force
  • the CA Water Action Plan
  • the Safeguarding CA Plan
  • several large-scale regional efforts

The TCSI builds on a legacy of successful partnership between local, state, federal, and private stakeholders at Lake Tahoe.

This effort is being led by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the California Tahoe Conservancy, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service Region 5, Tahoe National Forest, Eldorado National Forest, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, National Forest Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, California Forestry Association, USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, University of California-Natural Reserve System, and Sagehen Creek Field Station.

Additional partners are becoming engaged as the effort gains momentum.

TCSI Handout

Click on the map to find out more about innovative approaches that partners are working on under the TCSI.

Why is the TCSI needed now?

The watersheds of the Tahoe-Central Sierra area are crucial for:

  • downstream communities
  • agricultural interests
  • recreationalists
  • the environment

The forested watersheds here provide flows critical to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, as well as to northern Nevada communities. They:

  • contain large amounts of carbon
  • produce substantial amounts of wood products and clean energy
  • provide significant fish and wildlife habitat
  • are a recreational playground for millions of visitors year round

At the same time, this area is a landscape at significant risk of large severe wildfire and unnatural levels of tree mortality, given the overgrown, unhealthy forest conditions that exist here.

What does the TCSI seek to achieve?

The major goal of the initiative is to improve the health and resiliency of the forest ecosystems and communities in the TCSI landscape, ensuring that the wide variety of benefits that the region provides continue in the future. We will do this by:

  1. Supporting innovative projects with the potential to leverage landscape-scale restoration on public and private lands within the TCSI region through fundraising, communications, information sharing, and other means.
  2. Developing a science-based assessment of current conditions and future management scenarios for the TCSI area that can be used by decision-makers to develop, analyze, and implement large landscape forest restoration and resilience strategies.
  3. Increasing the pace and scale of ecologically-based forest management by leveraging lessons learned through pilot projects, identifying policy and funding opportunities supporting new landscape-scale restoration projects, and addressing barriers such as supporting wood and biomass processing infrastructure and expanded use of prescribed and managed fire.
  4. Encouraging and supporting collaborative-based efforts in both the design and implementation of ecologically-based projects, by sharing resources, capacity and expertise.