Tahoe Conservancy grants over $500K for forest health, wildfire programs | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Conservancy grants over $500K for forest health, wildfire programs

A low-intensity burn in a forest.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The California Tahoe Conservancy board awarded $523,500 in grants to support programs and projects that will improve forest health and reduce the threat of wildfire to Lake Tahoe Basin communities, and to accelerate adaptation to climate change.

“At a time when western states are tackling unprecedented wildfires from Mexico to Canada, it’s critically important that we act today to reduce the risk to the Basin communities and treasured landscapes,” said El Dorado Supervisor and Conservancy Board Chair Sue Novasel in a press release. “What’s more, healthy and resilient forests can adapt better to the effects of climate change.”

The board awarded a $75,000 grant to the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station to fund analysis and strategic guidance that will help land managers better use prescribed fire in the Basin. Prescribed fire is an important and the least expensive tool to protect against wildfires and restore forests.

The Lake Tahoe Community College District was awarded a $351,000 grant for a forest health training and job placement program. Public agencies that manage land in the basin have had difficulty recruiting and retaining qualified forestry staff to thin and restore overly dense forests. The LTCC program will increase the number of qualified forestry professionals.

California State Parks received $97,500 to continue to thin dense forests at Sugar Pine Point State Park.

The Board awarded an $80,000 grant to the Desert Research Institute to model how the Basin’s watersheds will respond to the larger storms expected with climate change. Storm water engineers, land managers, environmental planners, and similar public agency specialists will be able to use the information to update their infrastructure and restoration designs, and better adapt to climate risks.

Finally, the Board approved the acquisition of a half-acre property at 2130 Lake Tahoe Boulevard in the city of South Lake Tahoe. After the acquisition, the Conservancy will demolish the existing structure and stabilize the environmentally sensitive land, which floods regularly.

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