SNC to consider $27.5 million in wildfire recovery and forest resilience grants

Feb 21, 2024 | SNC Updates

a stand of many blackened trees
Dead and dying giant sequoia in the Alder Creek Grove after the 2020 Castle Fire. It is reported one-third of the grove was severely damaged in the wildfire. If awarded, a grant from the SNC will reduce hazardous fuel loading on 1,462 acres in the Sequoia National Forest to help restore forest health and build future wildfire resilience.

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) will host its quarterly Board Meeting Thursday, March 7, in Sacramento, CA. At the meeting, the Board of Directors will consider awarding more than $27.5 million for the planning and implementation of forest-health projects that promote wildfire recovery and forest resilience.

Meeting participation and public comments welcome

The meeting will start at 9 a.m. in the California Natural Resources Agency’s Auditorium located at 715 P Street. Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting and a live stream will also be available, although remote participation will not be possible. The public is encouraged to review project and grant information and submit any comments beforehand.

View detailed meeting information, including agenda items, specific project details, link to the live stream, and how to submit a public comment.

Sixteen wildfire recovery and forest resilience projects on agenda

In an effort to restore forest health, stop damaging wildfires, and protect communities throughout the Sierra-Cascade, the California Budget Act of 2023 appropriated $37 million in General Fund to the SNC for its Wildfire Recovery and Forest Resilience Directed Grant Program. Sixteen projects, totaling just over $27.5 million have completed due diligence and will go before the Board for consideration and recommendation at the March meeting.

If all 16 grants are awarded at the meeting, planning and implementation for wildfire recovery and forest resilience will occur in the following counties: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Tehama, Tulare, and Tuolumne.

Northern and north-central Sierra-Cascade projects

  1. Claremont Forest Resiliency Project (Plumas County) —The Mule Deer Foundation will utilize $1,787,000 to implement fuels-reduction treatments on 950 acres in the Plumas National Forest as part of the first phase of a larger 30,000-plus forest-health project.
  2. Soldier Mountain WUI Project (Shasta County)—In partnership with the Lassen National Forest, the Fall River Resource Conservation District will use $1,686,100 to help reduce fuels and build forest resilience to disturbances, such as damaging wildfires, on 2,336 acres.
  3. North Vegetation Assessment, Data Development, and Project NEPA (Siskiyou, Shasta, Modoc, Lassen, and Tehama counties) —The Fall River Resource Conservation District and partners will complete environmental compliance and project design to enhance existing forest and watershed conditions, as well as reduce the risk of wildfire across 6.4 million acres with the help of $3,580,500.
  4. Taylorsville Community Defense Zone Implementation (Plumas County)—The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment will use $751,665 in SNC funds to implement forest thinning and fuels reduction for a strategic fuel break (300 acres) around the community of Taylorsville.
  5. South Fork Sacramento Fire Resilience (Siskiyou County)—Public safety and fire resilience are the main goals of the 1,157-acre project led by the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, which will be greatly aided by a $3,628,600 SNC grant.
  6. Ishi Wilderness Fire Restoration Planning (Tehama County)—With the help of $641,920, the Resource Conservation District of Tehama County will restore fire-adapted forest ecosystems and protect nearby communities through fuels reduction and prescribed fire.
still lake with reflections and bright green trees on the far side of it
A popular pond on Tuolumne Rancheria lands used for fishing, recreation, and picnicking is surrounded by dense trees. The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians will utilize the potential funds from the SNC to create a land-management plan to reduce fuels to protect forests and infrastructure from disturbances, such as drought and damaging wildfire.

Central and south-central Sierra Nevada projects

  1. Forest Projects Plan—Phase Two Environmental Planning (El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Alpine counties)—With a grant of $723,542, the Upper Mokelumne River Watershed Authority will initiate a landscape-scale plan to improve forest health on a minimum of 40,000 acres within Stanislaus and Eldorado National forests.
  2. Long Canyon Watershed Protection Project (Placer County)—The Placer County Water Agency will utilize $657,500 to complete environmental planning on 6,200 acres in the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the American River watershed, just east of the towns of Foresthill and Auburn.
  3. Boca/Hobart Forest Health and Meadow Habitat Restoration (Nevada County)—Grant funds of $168,820 will help the Truckee River Watershed Council complete environmental planning for a forest-health project on 2,800 acres within the Tahoe National Forest near Boca and Prosser reservoirs.
  4. Tribal Wildfire Resilience and Land Use Plan (Tuolumne County)—The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians will complete environmental compliance on 2,895 acres of tribal land to improve wildfire resilience, forest health, and community protection with the help of a $920,000 grant.
  5. Upper Middle Yuba Watershed Forest Restoration NEPA Planning (Sierra and Nevada counties)—With the help of a $386,100 grant, the Nevada Irrigation District will complete forest restoration and fuel-reduction plans on at least 2,000 acres within the Tahoe National Forest.
  6. Forest Projects Plan Phase One-B (Amador County)—The Upper Mokelumne River Watershed Authority will utilize $4,739,056 to improve forest health on 1,595 acres in the Eldorado National Forest.
  7. Northstar Community Services District Wood Energy Facility (Placer County)—The grant of $1,000,000 to the Northstar Community Services District will help pay for the cross-laminated timber building needed to complete a wood-energy facility that will process biomass generated by forest-management projects in the area and generate energy for Northstar Village.

Southern and eastern Sierra Nevada projects

  1. Bungalow Resilience and Fuels Reduction Planning Project (Fresno County)—With $2,902,715, the National Forest Foundation will begin environmental planning on roughly 44,000 acres within the Sierra National Forest to improve forest health and wildfire resilience.
  2. Parker Peak Forest Restoration and Resilience Project (Tulare County)—A grant of $1,709,130 to the Tule River Indian Tribe will fund treatments on 1,500 acres on the Tule River Indian Reservation to reduce hazardous fuels accumulations, conduct wildfire restoration, and stabilize burn scars from the 2021 Windy Fire.
  3. Giant Sequoia National Monument Restoration and Stewardship Phase Two (Tulare County)—Save the Redwoods League will utilize $2,225,300 to implement a 1,462-acre forest-health project to help protect giant sequoias within the Alder Creek and Freeman Creek groves on Sequoia National Forest lands.

SNC Strategic Plan Update

At the meeting, staff will also update the Board on the status of SNC’s Draft 2024-2029 Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan is a guide for the SNC when developing programs, policies, and actions that support its statutory mission of “improving the environmental, economic, and social well-being of California’s Sierra-Cascade Region.”

Read and comment on SNC’s Draft 2024-2029 Strategic Plan.