As California faces its fourth straight year in severe drought, we have a critical need to assess the vulnerability of the state’s water source in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The scale of the challenge is vast, and requires a broad effort that engages as many stakeholders as possible.

In the meadows of the Sierra Nevada mountains, citizen scientists are collecting important research data that will inform the management of these critical habitats, and help build a more resilient California. They also see firsthand how important nature is in providing resources such as drinking water.

The program aims to increase the understanding of the impacts of climate change; participants will measure meadow stability, greenhouse gas emission and absorption, and biodiversity value. By working together with local scientists, nonprofits and communities, we will provide local land managers with insights into management and restoration efforts to help protect California’s valuable water for both humans and wildlife.

Research in meadows is the first phase of the Sierra to Sea program. The program will expand to include more key regions required for a resilient California, such as the riverine habitats of the Central Valley and coastal forests along the Pacific Ocean.