The Southern Sierra Partnership (SSP) is an alliance of business and conservation organizations working to protect lands, livelihoods and communities.

Members include Audubon California, Sequoia Riverlands Trust, the Sierra Business Council, Tejon Ranch Conservancy, and The Nature Conservancy. Since 2009, SSP has served a seven million-acre region stretching from the Southern San Joaquin Valley to the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, including significant portions of Fresno, Tulare and Kern Counties. This area contains landscapes ranging from fruit orchards to giant sequoia groves, hosts some of the most productive farmland in the world, and contributes tens of billions of dollars to the state’s economy every year. It is also home to a diverse and rapidly growing human population. SSP seeks to ensure the region’s long term economic and environmental resilience through land protection and land use policy.

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We are already making a difference:

In 2009 and 2010, SSP spearheaded a collaborative conservation assessment of the entire region. Combining the latest climate science with detailed mapping of biodiversity, ecosystem services and land uses, and incorporating the input of numerous land management agencies, SSP sought to identify conservation opportunities that would allow the region as a whole to adapt to a changing climate. The resulting Framework for Cooperative Conservation and Climate Adaptation for the Southern Sierra Nevada and Tehachapi Mountains has gained national recognition as a model of science-based conservation planning.

To implement the vision laid out in the Framework, SSP members have protected hundreds of thousands of acres of rangeland in the Southern Sierra foothills, and are working to connect these properties with farmland and riparian habitat on the Valley floor. This will not only help the region adapt to climate change, but also preserve the watersheds and other natural systems that make agriculture possible on the Valley floor.

In 2012 and 2013, Adam Livingston of Sequoia Riverlands Trust examined the connection between land use and economic outcomes in Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern Counties. The resulting report--Paths to Prosperity for the Southern Sierra and Southern San Joaquin Valley:  Capitalizing on the Economic Benefits of Land Conservation and Compact Growth—is helping to build a regional consensus in favor of sustainable development.

Today, SSP is actively engaged in land use policy throughout the region, including the development of Sustainable Communities Strategies as mandated under state climate change legislation and work on county and city-level General Plan Updates.
Through these and other initiatives, SSP is working to protect the communities, economy and environment of the Southern Sierra and Southern San Joaquin Valley.