Thursday, 09 June 2022

Over $390,000 Awarded to the RCD for Forest Health and Wildfire Resilience Work in Santa Cruz County

news 2022 02

CAL FIRE has awarded the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts a Wildfire Resilience block grant to support ten Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) statewide in helping both public and private landowners with forest management planning and project implementation. More than $390,000 will be coming to the RCD of Santa Cruz County (RCDSCC) over the course of three years to provide technical assistance to support the development of forest management plans, forest health and fuels management project design. 

RCDs are in a unique position of being well integrated and trusted in their communities to equip and prepare landowners with in-depth and place specific knowledge and are ideally situated to help landowners across California develop management plans and implement stewardship practices that reduce overall fire severity. Yet, RCDs need support to fulfill this critical need of assisting landowners. The primary challenge we face is that the financial and logistical burden of developing forest management plans for private landowners discourages participation. This grant will help decrease those barriers for landowners and the RCDs and foster greater involvement.

RCDSCC staff will work directly with communities in developing projects, including further exploration to determine feasibility, discover proper permitting pathways, and to identify specific funding. Our team will be supported by an "on-call" Registered Professional Forester (RPF) and other experts in related fields, who are not tied to a specific project. They will provide services on an as-needed basis allowing us to meet the high-quality standards of Forest Management Plans and project development on a faster timeline. One-on-one assistance will be available to landowners who are in the process of developing forest management and fuel reduction plans or projects and will include identification of funding sources for implementation if needed.

This award will also be used to fund community-based fuel load reduction through the RCDSCC’s No-cost and Neighborhood Reimbursement Chipping Programs. This resource allows residents in high-fire risk areas, and particularly underserved populations, access to much-needed incentives to create defensible space around their homes.

Visit the RCDSCC's Forest Health and Wildfire Resiliency Program page to learn more about all available services.

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