TBC3 – Understanding Cycles of Fire, Water and Life

By Lisa Micheli – President & CEO

In July we held the annual convening of our Terrestrial Biodiversity and Climate Change Collaborative, or TBC3 for those who’d like the option of saying it five times fast. Despite the complexity of the title, it’s been an enduring collaboration for over 12 years, with scientists working across disciplines studying land, water and wildlife.

This year’s convening, with more than 30 scientists from across the state, centered around the interactions between drought, fire weather, fire fuels and wildlife. Lorrie and Alan Flint, of the US Geological Survey (USGS) provided a set of projections for the drought facing California over the next 12 months using TBC3’s basin characterization modelCraig ClementsMark Tukman and I facilitated a session about approaches to integrating fire weather into hazard assessments for Sonoma County and beyond through the Sonoma County Wildfire Hazard Index. Our goal was to understand the relationship between drought, fire weather and fire hazard that includes consideration of wildland fuel structure based on the research of the Bentley Lab and the Ackerly Lab, and the impacts of drought on plant flammability being modeled by the Moritz Fire Lab.

The final session focused on emerging lessons regarding the impact of wildfire on wildlife. The Mayacamas to Berryessa Landscape Connectivity Network was reconvened with new contributors including Kendall Calhoun at the UC Hopland Research Extension Station. This exciting session brought together leading conservation experts to compare and contrast recent findings regarding the impact of wildfire and wildlife in our region.

It’s great to see this enduring collaboration of some of the most established scientists and researchers growing with the input of the next generation of scientists. With the advent of this year’s drought and fire conditions, TBC3 is bringing the best of academic research to bear on practical resilience solutions for our region.

For practical guidance on how you and your household can respond to our current drought conditions, check out the suite of helpful resources provided by our partners over at Sonoma Water. And if you’re in Sonoma or Marin counties, I encourage you to join the Saving Water Challenge.

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