This project has the potential for significant community engagement and outreach because of its urban location in Springfield, which can result in positive public perception of Springfield Utility Board’s water protection practices. Because Gorrie Creek is used to recharge SUB's well field, adding native vegetation and shade to this stream could ultimately be an important protection for the quality of Springfield's drinking water. At the same time, it can serve as a riparian restoration example within the community to encourage other landowners to restore their streamside habitat, ultimately benefiting water quality in Springfield. Finally, we see this as a way to increase engagement with and support of MFWWC in the urban area.
Due to logging, fire suppression and the introduction of the non-native fungal pathogen white pine blister rust, sugar pine currently comprises about 5% of the forests in and around the Lake Tahoe basin. Likewise, western white pine (WWP) was historically more numerous than it is now. Natural regeneration of white pines cannot keep up with blister rust die-off; therefore the only effective management strategy is to proactively plant the progeny of blister rust resistant “seed trees.” The SPF finds trees that are resistant to the fungus, collects their cones, and recruits volunteers of all ages to plant their progeny. Since 2008, approximately 6,630 SPF volunteers have planted nearly 1,700 acres in California and Nevada with more than 94,920 sugar pines and other native trees. By involving volunteers in the fun and rewarding activity of planting, the SPF teaches our children and community about forest and environmental stewardship, the importance of conserving native species and people’s role in enhancing forest health.