The Plumas Conservation, Restoration, and Education in Watersheds program (P-CREW) was established with funding from Fire Settlement dollars on the Plumas National Forest from lawsuits won by the US Forest Service. Fire settlement funds are used for costs associated with fighting the fires and projects such as P-CREW that work to restore the fire areas in the years after and educate the public.
Earl Ford, the then supervisor of the Plumas National Forest, envisioned a youth program that engaged students from both the top of the Feather River Watershed in rural Plumas county with downstream student users from the East Bay area of San Francisco. Students would work to restore fire scarred landscapes and learn the importance of mitigating catastrophic wildfires. He approached Sierra Institute and we happily agreed to partner on this project.
After a year of planning, P-CREW launched its first summer of 2 crews in 2015. For the first two summers all projects were done with Plumas National Forest in the wildfire foot prints. Projects ranged from invasive species removal, to building burn piles by hand, to removing deer guzzlers that were destroyed in the fire and installing new ones.
As the demand for conservation crews grew and the word of P-CREW’s success spread, we were able to double the amount of youth participants (now 44) and projects accomplished in 2018 by adding two more summer crews for a total of four each summer. We also began expanding our work area, project partners, and funding sources.
In 2023, we made the commitment to our tribal partners to fill 25% of P-Crew Member Positions with tribal youth and intentionally include traditional ecological knowledge and land acknowledgements in P-CREW projects and programming.