A Letter from BYLT Co-EDs: 2019-2020 Resiliency Report

Earlier this year, we shared our vision and 2020-2024 Strategic Plan that addresses both community and climate resilience. Many years of consideration, planning and preparation were put into mapping strategic focus areas and laying the foundational groundwork to achieve ambitious goals that protect the conservation values of the Bear and Yuba River watersheds. We want to assure you of our commitment to staying the course no matter the challenge. From a global pandemic to wildfire risks and burdens placed on outdoor amenities, the BYLT Staff and Board remain steadfast and resilient. While we’ve had to adapt operations in recent months, we’re a creative, innovative bunch: leading with compassion, moving projects forward, securing funding and staying connected to partners, stakeholders, and members while keeping our trails and preserves open and safe for all to enjoy!

In this 2019-2020 Resiliency Report, we highlight how BYLT is positioned to weather these uncertain times and what steps we’ve taken financially in preparation for the months and years ahead as a vital organization serving this community and the greater Sierra Nevada.

In 2019, we:
˃ Established and grew the Resiliency Fund to cover 3 months of operating expenses
˃ Managed and grew the Endowment and Stewardship Funds to $1.5 Million to protect and defend over 15,000 acres of land held in fee title and conservation easements
˃ Designated 10% of the Endowment Fund investment portfolio towards environmental and socially responsible funds like clean renewable energy and regenerative agriculture
˃ Transferred ownership of Burton Homestead Preserve to 4 Elements Earth Education and Black Swan Preserve to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, allowing for continued land stewardship while freeing up BYLT resources for new acquisition and easement projects

In 2020, BYLT’s priorities have been to retain key personnel, develop collaborative conservation projects, expand recreational access, and pursue funding of government-aid programs and grants which have already yielded positive results. We also boldly led and launched a public fundraising campaign for the Forever Farms program and acquisition of 37 acres currently leased to Mountain Bounty Farm that was under threat. To date, we’ve raised over $820,000 for the protection of critical agricultural land, ensuring food security for decades to come. Surplus funds, after close of escrow, will be held in an endowment fund overseen by the BYLT Investment Committee, as we identify the next project with our Board and program partners. Thank you for your continued commitment towards our shared mission. Your membership and donations are what sustain us as we march head down and heart forward!

Read the Resiliency Report