Family of conservancy director sets up fund | SierraSun.com

Family of conservancy director sets up fund

Amanda Fehd
Sun News Service

A new funding source for environmental restoration and education projects has been established in honor of Dennis Machida, late executive officer of the California Tahoe Conservancy.

The fund was started by Machida’s family, colleagues and friends to further his environmental goals. Memorial donations helped kick-start the fund, which will be run under the administration of the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation.

Machida suffered a fatal heart attack in March in Montana while attending a climate research conference. He was 58.

Machida’s widow, Kathie Wong, said they hope to fund projects which need small grants in the range of $500 to $2,000.

They are particularly interested in projects that take advantage of existing community resources and volunteer efforts, as well as environmental education projects.

They will consider proposals from both individuals and groups and from within or outside the Lake Tahoe Basin.

When Machida passed away, the community mourned the loss of a long-time environmental mentor and advocate for open space in the Sierra.

Machida served as the executive officer of the California Tahoe Conservancy from 1985.

Under his leadership, the agency authorized more than $290 million in public money to acquire 7,400 acres of sensitive land on the California side of the Lake Tahoe Basin, and fund nearly 600 water quality, wildlife habitat, public access and recreation projects.

Machida was also instrumental in the establishment of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law last September. The mission of the organization is to fund environmental preservation projects for 25 million acres in the Sierra Nevada, an area that stretches from the Oregon border to north of Bakersfield.