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Meadow Restoration Aims To Improve Water Supply And Combat Climate Change

Photo / Sierra Foothill Conservancy

Construction crews work to restore 80 acre Bean Meadow in northern Mariposa County.

Photo / Sierra Foothill Conservancy

Major construction is underway to restore a mountain meadow in the Sierra Nevada foothills. 

Mountain meadows act like natural reservoirs, storing and cleaning water. But over the last century, Sierra Nevada meadows have been damaged by roads, ditches and cattle grazing. Bridget Fithian with the Sierra Foothill Conservancy is helping restore the 80 acre Bean Meadow in northern Mariposa County. Fithian says it requires earth moving equipment and tree removal.

“It actually is a very dramatically altered landscape. So we have to use a pretty dramatic measure to restore the function to that landscape,” says Fithian.

But once the hydrology is restored, it can reduce greenhouse gases. Native grasses in wet meadows suck carbon dioxide out of the air and store it in the soil.
The project was one of several wetland restoration projects to receive money from California’s greenhouse gas reduction fund.