Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council Completes Transfer of 140,000 Acres of Watershed Lands in California

The Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council (Stewardship Council) is a non-profit formed twenty years ago as part of a settlement agreement between Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the California Public Utilities Commission, and other parties in PG&E’s bankruptcy proceedings (2001-2003).  The agreement provided for the conservation of 140,000 acres of watershed lands in the Sierra and Cascade mountains.  This became one of the largest land conservation programs by a utility in US history.

WPLG principal Richard Roos-Collins represented the California Hydropower Reform Coalition in the bankruptcy and related proceedings.  He then served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Stewardship Council.

The Stewardship Council has now completed 95 transactions covering all 140,000 acres.  Many lands were donated to tribes, as well as CalFire and UC Berkeley for climate change research.  The Stewardship Council made more than 270 grants totaling $30 million to reconnect California youth with nature.  Among other things, the Stewardship Council donated a family camp in the Sierra to San Joaquin County, which will house up to 250 students per night for education in natural sciences as well as leadership training.

The Stewardship Council recently released its final report to the CPUC, which may be read here.