Protecting PG&E watershed lands
We’re working to permanently conserve 43,000+ acres of important lands and waters owned and managed by Pacific Gas and Electric for public benefit.
to be conserved for public benefit by 2021
9 conservation easements
will protect headwaters and habitats forever
protected to date
Impact and progress
Nine conservation easements will permanently protect over 43,000 acres that contain Feather River headwaters, scenic lakes and forests, recreation opportunities, historical and Maidu cultural resources, and diverse wildlife and plant habitats.
These important watershed lands are being conserved through a unique partnership among the Feather River Land Trust, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), and the Pacific Forest & Watershed Lands Stewardship Council.
PG&E will continue to own and manage the majority of these lands, with FRLT holding conservation easements to protect their cultural and ecological resources and to prevent subdivision and land use changes that would harm the beneficial public values.
In historic land transfers, certain important Maidu homelands will return to Maidu ownership through the Indigenous-led nonprofit, the Maidu Summit Consortium, with FRLT holding conservation easements. Five of the nine conservation transactions will be completed with Maidu Summit Consortium.
FRLT has completed four of nine conservation easements to date:
- Mountain Meadows Reservoir, 7,058 acres in 2018—with PG&E retaining ownership
- Tásmam Kóyom (Humbug Valley), 2,325 acres in 2019—with the Mountain Maidu reclaiming ownership
- Maidu Forest (164 acres) and Maidu Trail (8 acres) properties at Lake Almanor in 2019/2020—conserved and returned to Mountain Maidu ownership
To learn more about the specific properties being conserved, please visit the Stewardship Council’s website and click on “Feather River Watershed” on the interactive map.
Next steps and stewardship
We anticipate completing conservation easements on the following watershed lands in 2020 and 2021.
Additional lands that will return to Mountain Maidu ownership, through the Maidu Summit Consortium:
- Maidu Wetlands (322 acres) at Lake Almanor
- Maidu Cemetery (146 acres) at Lake Almanor
Lands that will remain in PG&E ownership:
These include lands currently owned by PG&E—the reservoirs and their surrounding wetland, meadow, and forest habitats–and do not include lands owned by homeowners and businesses.
- Lake Almanor (over 29,000 acres)
- Butt Valley Reservoir (2,472 acres)
- Bucks Lake (2,164 acres)
As the conservation easement holder, FRLT meets with the landowners—PG&E and Maidu Summit Consortium—annually about management plans and potential impacts on each property’s special resources, and visits each property to monitor that the terms of the conservation easement are being upheld. Each conservation easement includes an endowment for monitoring in perpetuity.
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Working together to conserve headwater lands
These important watershed lands are being conserved through a unique partnership among FRLT, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (the landowner), and the Pacific Forest & Watershed Lands Stewardship Council, the nonprofit that was formed to oversee the conservation of PG&E lands.
Background and conservation partners
This opportunity to conserve PG&E-owned lands for the public benefit emerged as part of a 2003 settlement agreement in which PG&E agreed to conserve more than 140,000 acres of watershed land holdings throughout California in exchange for financial bankruptcy relief. As the upper Feather River Watershed’s local land trust, FRLT will hold conservation easements on over 43,000 acres of these lands and waters, permanently protecting their natural and cultural resources for the benefit of current and future generations—both human and wild.
These lands are centered in Mountain Maidu homeland. In an historic land transfer agreement, certain culturally-important lands are returning to Maidu ownership, through the Indigenous-led nonprofit, the Maidu Summit Consortium. FRLT will hold five conservation easements on these lands, as well as the four easements on properties that will remain in PG&E ownership.
This collaboration between FRLT and PG&E is one of the most ambitious conservation efforts ever undertaken by a land trust and a private corporation in the western United States. It represents 16+ years of work to establish a mechanism to conserve these key watershed lands.
In addition to funding from the Stewardship Council, financial support from the Bella Vista Foundation, Firedoll Foundation, Mellam Family Foundation, Morgan Family Foundation, Northern Sierra Partnership, and FRLT members has been important to sustain the Land Trust’s conservation efforts and bring them to fruition.
For more information, contact: FRLT Executive Director, Shelton Douthit, firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 283-5758.
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As a nationally accredited land trust, we are built to last. We leverage your donations with state, federal, and foundation dollars and strategic partnerships to achieve the greatest possible impact for the lands, waters, and people of the Feather River region. You can count on us to make careful and effective use of your support.