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Yosemite And Sequoia Part of Federal Push To Fight Climate Change

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Yosemite, CA — A handful of national parks will receive new funding to help restore federally threatened whitebark pine in nine parks in four states, including Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.

This project is part of an overall $195 million investment from the Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act that was announced to prepare parks across the country to be resilient to climate change.

“These investments are incredibly timely, as healthy ecosystems, wildlife and native plant habitats, and cultural resources are threatened by climate change and many other environmental challenges,” stated Yosemite Park officials.

A Clark’s nutcrackers sits on a whitebark pine in Yosemite
A Clark’s nutcrackers sits on a whitebark pine in Yosemite

Biologists will use climate-informed actions and work with partners and tribes to plant rust-resistant seeds and seedlings, identify rust-resistant trees, monitor seedling survival, and identify climate refugia as part of the National Whitebark Pine Restoration Strategy. Park officials say the reason this work is so important is that whitebark pine is a keystone species that is vital to many high-elevation ecosystems in North America. They added, “Its seeds are a high-calorie food source for more than 19 animal species, including Clark’s nutcrackers and grizzly bears. Additionally, whitebark pine forests are vital to the health of streams and rivers, regulating the flow of snowmelt that supplies downstream watersheds.”

Over time, whitebark pine numbers have been rapidly declining due to disease, pests, and climate change. It is estimated that more than 325 million whitebark pines have been lost across their range, shared park officials, noting, “White pine blister rust, an invasive fungal disease that forms deadly cankers, is among the greatest threats to the high-elevation conifer.”

The other three states included in this project are Montana, Wyoming, and Washington. The other parks are Olympic, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Park.

  • Whitebark pine in Yosemite National Park