Approximately $4.6 million in grant awards for work to restore Sierra Nevada forests to ecological health and prevent damaging forest fires was approved today by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s (SNC) Governing Board during its quarterly meeting in Lone Pine (Inyo County). The funding is from Proposition 84, passed by California voters in 2006.
“Many of our forests are in such poor ecological health that in many instances they are at high risk of being overrun by catastrophic wildfire,” said SNC Executive Officer Jim Branham. “These projects will go a long way toward reducing that threat and protecting our watersheds, as called for under Prop. 84 guidelines.”
Since its creation in 2004, the SNC has awarded approximately $45 million for Prop. 84 projects in the Sierra. For this grant round, the SNC received nearly 200 initial requests, but due to funding constraints, only 25 projects were approved by the Board. Federal, state and local government agencies, as well non-profit organizations, will receive the funding.
(Note: A complete listing of the projects, organized by county with local contact information, is attached below.)
Some of the highlighted projects include:
- Calaveras Co. – Big Trees State Park Forest Restoration, $349,008.
Thinning the understory and ladder fuels to protect the Giant Sequoia and Big Tree Creek.
- Butte Co. – Little Butte Creek Fuel Break/Forest Health, $84,000.
Hand cutting 30 acres of dense chaparral and overstocked ponderosa pines near the town of Magalia and near the drinking water collection area for the town of Paradise.
- Lassen Co. – Diamond Mountain Forest and Meadow Restoration, $273,735.
Tree thinning on approximately 500 acres that contain the headwaters of Lassen Sand Slough and Baxter Creek. Biomass generated will be sold to offset project costs.
- Mono Co. – June Loop Fuels Reduction, $327,500.
Fuels reduction on 89 acres of land critical to the Grant Lake-Rush Creek Municipal Watershed.
- Auburn, Placer Co. – American River Canyon Shaded Fuel Break, $146,690.
Hand removal of fuel loads on 60 acres in steep terrain, protecting the city of Auburn and the American River watershed from the impacts of catastrophic fire.
The 25 grant applications represent a cross section of project types:
- Fuels Reduction (12 projects, $2.5 million)
- Forest Health/Restoration (seven projects, $1.48 million)
- Meadow Restoration (four projects, $473,422)
- Invasive Species Removal (two projects, $73,867)
The board also approved guidelines for the 2012-13 round of Prop. 84 grants, which will be focused on the preservation of ranches and agricultural lands. The request for pre-application proposals is expected to be available on the SNC’s Web site later this month.
About the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Governing Board
Created in 2004, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy is a state agency whose mission is to improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the Sierra
Nevada region. In its first eight years, the SNC, which receives no general fund tax dollars, has awarded approximately $45 million in grants for projects including fuels reduction, conservation easements and acquisitions, and watershed and habitat restoration. To view a map of project locations to date, visit the SNC’s Grants Web page.
The SNC Governing Board meets quarterly around the Sierra Nevada Region, which spans 25 million acres, encompasses all or part of 22 counties and runs from the Oregon border on the north, to southeast of Bakersfield. Of the 13 voting members, six are self-selected county supervisors, one from each of the six Sierra Nevada Conservancy sub regions.