On April 18, 2022, federal funding for three California forest restoration projects totaling $6.7 million was announced.
In addition to their benefits for biodiversity and watersheds, forest restoration projects are a critical tool for reducing the risk of severe wildfires.
In addition to decreasing the risk of devastating wildfires by removing the fuel that feeds them, these landscape restoration activities establish forest vegetation by planting, seeding and natural regeneration; reduce or eradicate invasive plants; and enhance stream habitat.
“This funding will protect communities while improving the health of our forests and California’s resilience against wildfires. The work done now removing excess, dead, and hazardous vegetation will restore key areas of our forests and improve our watersheds. Preparing for fires and responsibly managing our public lands requires a collaborative effort and these projects will be carried out with renewed cooperation between federal, state and tribal government partners,” he added.
The California projects that are receiving funding:
- $757,000 for the Dinkey Collaborative, a 154,000-acre project in the Sierra National Forest that is a critical site for restoration due to unprecedented levels of hazardous fuels caused by Southern Sierran tree mortality;
- $3 million for the Western Klamath Mountains Fire and Fire Resiliency Project, a 1.2-million-acre project in Northwest California to protect communities and critical transportation routes. Work will include increasing watershed health and ecosystem resilience and preparation for traditional controlled burns; and
- $3 million for the North Yuba River watershed in Northern California covering 356,000 acres. This watershed, which provides clean water for homes, communities, businesses and ecosystems, is a critical project site due to its high wildfire hazard potential and susceptibility to insects, disease and drought.
“Wildfires are a near-constant threat for California, and some of the best tools to combat that risk are large-scale forest restoration programs that remove dead and dying trees and restore native vegetation,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein.
“I thank the Biden administration for providing these funds and will continue to work with USDA and the Forest Service to increase the scale and frequency of forest restoration projects. These restoration projects are also the focus of my bill, the Wildfire Emergency Act, which has received a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and I expect to advance out of committee in the coming months,” she added.
The funds are part of the U.S. Forest Service’s Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, and were made available through a combination of funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and annual appropriations.
Featured photo (courtesy of USDA) shows team members of the Dinkey Collaborative.