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News Release

USDA Investing Millions in Wildfire Mitigation and Water Quality Projects

Chris Zimny (530) 792-792-5655
Anita Brown (530) 792-5644

DAVIS, Calif., Jan. 24, 2018 —The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest nearly $32 million this year through the Joint Chiefs’ Partnership to mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality and restore healthy forest ecosystems in 24 states and Puerto Rico.

"Through Joint Chiefs, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works with agricultural producers and forest landowners to improve forest health using available Farm Bill conservation programs, and the Forest Service enhances forest health on public lands -- stitching together a larger footprint of healthy ecosystems in priority areas," said acting State Conservationist Ray Dotson.

More than $4.2 million of this year’s funding will support three ongoing forestry projects in California that focus on wildfire protection and mitigation, improving forest health and enhancing habitat for at-risk species. Project locations include the Los Angeles County area, the front country of the Sierra National Forest east of the San Francisco Bay metro area, and Trinity County near Eureka in northern California.

 “Wildfires are a serious and on-going threat to forests and communities alike, as we’ve seen throughout California this year,” Dotson said. “Through these Joint Chiefs’ projects, USDA will be working with local partners in high-risk project areas to control invasive species, install fire breaks and implement other targeted forest management practices to help mitigate the risk of wide-spread wildfires.”

Private forestland owners in these project areas may be eligible for financial assistance from the NRCS to help them perform forest conservation practices on their land. Contact a local USDA Service Center to learn more.

Since 2013, USDA has invested $176 million in 56 Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership (LRP) projects, which focus on areas where public forests and grasslands intersect with privately-owned lands. Including this year’s funding, USDA’s LRP investment in California has been $27.5 million for a total of five projects that are helping to minimize wildfire risk, protect landscapes and communities, improve forest health, and enhance wildlife habitat.

2018 Funded California Project Descriptions

San Gabriel/Sierra Pelona All Landscape Restoration Project

Located in Los Angeles County in the Central Transverse Range, this project will assist communities and adjacent landowners in forest stand improvement, watershed management, and defensible space on private and National Forest System lands. This area has been impacted by fires, drought, and invasive beetles, increasing the risk of tree mortality and severe fires. Project activities focus on community assistance and fuelbreak projects, forest-wide invasive weed strategy and revegetation restoration, and forest health projects.  Forest: Angeles

Partners: National Forest Foundation; Southern California Edison; Los Angeles County Department of Public Works; National Forest Wildlife Foundation; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; TheTreePeople; Civilian Conservation Corps; Antelope Valley Resource Conservation District; LA County Consolidated Fire District; Habitat Works; Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

Trinity County Community Protection Project

Over the past decade, significant federal resources have been spent suppressing fires that burned over 300,000 acres in the project area, resulting in dozens of community evacuations. 2015 saw multiple lightning complexes threaten communities, habitat, and resources across the project area. This project will build on work done over the past three years by the Trinity County Collaborative Group. The project’s primary goals are community wildfire protection and restoration of ecological processes, while also enhancing habitat for at-risk species, such as the Coho salmon. By working with diverse partners and private landowners, this project will establish a sustainable system of shaded fuelbreaks and strategic fuel treatments to reduce the potential for high severity wildfires while benefiting aquatic and terrestrial habitats, sensitive populations, and watersheds.  Forests: Shasta Trinity and Six Rivers

Partners: Trinity County Collaborative Group; Trinity County Board of Supervisors; Watershed Research and Training Center; Trinity County Resource Conservation District; Yurok Tribe; National Forest Foundation; The Nature Conservancy; Trinity County Fire Safe Council; Trinity Timberlands; Sierra Pacific Industries.

Central Sierra Recovery and Restoration Project

The project area encompasses the front country of the Sierra National Forest (Sierra NF); covering 441,715 acres of National Forest, private ranches and timberlands, organizational camps, recreation residences and 12 isolated communities and subdivisions.  The primary goals of the project are community wildfire protection, restoration of ecological processes and initiation of a landscape-level response to the ongoing tree mortality epidemic. Forest: Sierra

Partners: Sierra Nevada Conservancy, California Department of Water Resources, Highway 168 Firesafe Council, Fresno County Office of Emergency Services and Public Works, CalFire, Mariposa County Fire Safe Council, Mariposa Biomass Workgroup, Mariposa Office of Emergency Services, Sierra Resource Conservation District (North Fork Biomass Facility), Coarsegold Resource Conservation District, Mariposa Resource Conservation District, Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council, Mariposa County Office of Emergency Services and Public Works, Pacific Gas & Electric Company Vegetation Management; Pacific Gas & Electric Company – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Hydro Division, Cal Trans-Div6&10, Southern California Edison - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Hydro Division, Southern California Edison -Vegetation Management.