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California Wildfire Disaster Recovery

Overview

The conservation goals and funding priorities of the California Wildfire Disaster Recovery ranking pool are to provide immediate post fire resource protection and public safety in areas severely burned by 2020 catastrophic fires.  Due to extreme fire behavior, unprecedented landscape scale fires, and wind events, the impact to California’s forests has been widespread and destructive. Events following the damage from fires can be detrimental to watersheds, public safety, and long term recover of these landscapes. Responding quickly after a fire and offering select practices may offer a long-term solution to address the long- lasting impacts of high intensity fires.

Priority areas include agricultural land or non-industrial private forestland, in any county impacted by a wildfire, where short-term natural recover is unlikely and detrimental effects would result in irreversible impacts. The primary focus of this pool is to reduce the immediate impacts of the fires related to soil erosion; hazard trees, accumulation of fire hazard debris, and invasion by noxious weeds

Soil erosion: The potential for severe soil erosion may occur because high burn intensity fires can destroy plant material and the litter layer that protects the soil from eroding during severe rainstorms and moving off- site to surface water bodies, roads and other sites. In locations of high erosion hazards that threaten human and environmental values, immediate action to control soil erosion may be needed. Treatment actions include using woody residues to slow runoff water, installing erosion control structures, spreading straw, reseeding, and repairing access roads and culvert systems severely damaged during fire suppression activities and subsequent erosion events.

Public safety hazard trees and fire hazard debris: Treatments that address dead and dying hazard trees, and other burned vegetation, that are an immediate public safety hazard will be prioritized over treatments that address accumulation of excess flammable woody biomass.  Woody debris can inhibit fire-area restoration efforts, such as reforestation, to reestablish a healthy, fire resilient forest.  Practices that remove, reduce or reconfigure the excess woody debris will contribute to achieving immediate protection needs, public safety, and longer-term restoration goals.

Invasion by noxious weeds: Most post-burn forest and range sites are also susceptible to invasion by noxious weeds. Following catastrophic wildfires, noxious and non-native invasive plants often proliferate on post-burn sites. Absence of invasive species control, within one growing season of the fire undesired noxious weeds/shrub regeneration can capture sites where desired vegetation regeneration is not present. These weeds/shrub communities can be very aggressive and will dominate the site, increasing the intensity of actions such as herbicide application, mastication or brush raking to ensure the success of desired plantings.

Land Uses

The descriptions below are the general NRCS land use definitions - applications should fit within, but do not need to exactly match, these descriptions.

  • Crop: Land used primarily for the production and harvest of annual or perennial field, forage, food, fiber, horticultural, orchard, vineyard, or energy crops.
  • Forest: Land on which the primary vegetation is tree cover (climax, natural or introduced plant community) and use is primarily for production of wood products or non-timber forest products.
  • Pasture: Land composed of introduced or domesticated native forage species that is used primarily for the production of livestock. Pastures receive periodic renovation and cultural treatments, such as tillage, fertilization, mowing, weed control, and may be irrigated. Pastures are not in rotation with crops.
  • Range: Land used primarily for the production of grazing animals. Includes native plant communities and those seeded to native or introduced species, or naturalized by introduced species that are ecologically managed using range management principles.
  • Farmstead: Land used for facilities and supporting infrastructure where farming, forestry, animal husbandry, and ranching activities are often initiated. This may include dwellings, equipment storage, plus farm input and output storage and handling facilities.
  • Associated Agricultural Lands: Land associated with farms and ranches that are not purposefully managed for food, forage, or fiber and are typically associated with nearby production or conservation lands. This could include incidental areas, such as odd areas, ditches and watercourses, riparian areas, field edges, seasonal and permanent wetlands, and other similar areas.

Resource Concerns

The goal of conservation planning is to help each client attain sustainable use and sound management of soil, water, air, plant, animal, and energy resources, based on related human considerations (SWAPAE+H).  Below is a list of priority resource concerns for the forestland ranking pools.

SWAPAE+H
Resource Concern Category
Resource Concern
Soil
 
Concentrated Erosion
Bank erosion from streams, shorelines or water conveyance channels
Classic gully erosion
Wind and Water Erosion
Sheet and rill erosion
Wind erosion
Water
Field, Sediment, Nutrient, and Pathogen Loss
Sediment transported to surface water
Plants
Degraded Plant Condition
Plant productivity and health
Pest Pressure
Plant pest pressure
Fire Management
Wildfire hazard from biomass accumulation

Conservation Practices

NRCS conservation practices eligible for financial assistance are listed in the below table. For more information about NRCS conservation practices visit the following website link: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/myportal/nrcsstaging/detail/national/technical/?cid=NRCSDEV11_001020.

Practice Code
Conservation Practice Name
Practice Units
Lifespan (Years)
315
Herbaceous Weed Treatment
ac
5
326
Clearing and Snagging
ft
5
342
Critical Area Planting
ac
10
382
Fence
ft
20
384
Woody Residue Treatment
ac
10
441
Irrigation System, Microirrigation
ac
15
460
Land Clearing ac
10
472
Access Control
ac
10
484
Mulching
ac
1
490
Tree/Shrub Site Preparation
ac
1
500
Obstruction Removal
ac
10
578
Stream Crossing
no
10
612
Tree/Shrub Establishment
ac
15
654
Road/Trail/Landing Closure and Treatment
ft
10
655
Forest Trails and Landings
ft
5
660
Tree/Shrub Pruning
ac
10
666
Forest Stand Improvement
ac
10
910
TA Planning
no
1
911
TA Design
no
1
912
TA Application
no
1
913
TA Check-Out
no
1

Interested Applicants

For more information about EQIP, how to apply and program eligibility, interested applicants should contact a NRCS field office in the county which you own land or where you have an agricultural operation. 

Visit https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/ to find the NRCS representative for your county.