Funding water supply protection through conservation finance in the Yuba River watershed

Water Seminar November 19, 2021, Sites Reservoir Project

Topic: Funding water supply protection through conservation finance
in the Yuba River watershed

Tessa Maurer
Senior Project Scientist at Blue Forest Conservation

Joanna Lessard
Project Manager at the Yuba Water Agency

When: Friday, November 19, 12 pm to 1pm
Where: Virtual (via Zoom)—Link to virtual seminar to be sent upon RSVP

The recording of the webinar is available here.

Funding water supply protection through conservation finance in the Yuba River watershed

In the Western U.S., federally owned forests provide up to 52% of drinking water supplies, but many are overstocked and at risk of fire, tree die-offs, and other disturbances. Forest and ecosystem restoration projects in these source water basins have the potential to protect and enhance water resources. However, funding these projects at the pace and scale needed to meaningfully address risks to our water supply is challenging. Here, we discuss how understanding water-related benefits of restoration projects can support increased funding through a conservation finance tool, the Forest Resilience Bond (FRB). We explain this financing model, present an example of a successful FRB project in the North Yuba watershed in Northern California, and discuss how these projects can benefit hydroelectric utilities like Yuba Water Agency. In particular, we explore the science of quantifying water-related benefits such as water supply enhancement and fire risk and how that knowledge can be leveraged to support
an FRB.

About the Speaker

Tessa Maurer Tessa Maurer is a Senior Project Scientist at Blue Forest Conservation. Her work focuses on bringing together stakeholders to help fund forest treatment work using Blue Forest's financial model, the Forest Resilience Bond, to accelerate the pace and scale of restoration in the Western U.S. In particular, she works on quantifying and understanding the water resources benefits of planned projects to stakeholders such as hydroelectric and drinking water utilities. Tessa holds a Ph.D. in water resources and an M.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering, both from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S.E. in CEE from Princeton University. Email contact:

About the Speaker

Joanna Lessard Joanna Lessard is a Project Manager at the Yuba Water Agency and leads the Agency's Watershed Resilience Program. Through these roles she works to develop collaborative projects to increase the pace, scale and multiple benefits of forest health and fire risk reduction projects. She represents the Yuba Water Agency within the North Yuba Forest Partnership, the flagship forest health and watershed restoration effort, working to plan and implement key treatments across the entire 275,000 acre North Yuba River Watershed. JoAnna also manages the 5400 acre Healthy Forest Cal Fire Grant that is funding needed forest thinning on public and private lands in upper Yuba County. She brings a broad background in technical natural resource research and management, funding strategy development, and project coordination to these and other key Agency programs.

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