El Dorado County to benefit from $142 million in Cal Fire grants for fire recovery, forest health projects

The Caldor Fire from California State Route 88 near Kirkwood.
Bill Rozak/Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) on Monday announced that $142.6 million has been awarded, including a chunk to El Dorado County agencies, for statewide investments in projects intended to enhance carbon storage while restoring the health and resilience of existing and recently burned forests.

Cal Fire’s Forest Health Program is awarding 27 grants to local and regional partners implementing projects on state, local, tribal, federal, and private lands spanning over 75,000 acres and 24 counties. Fuels reduction and prescribed fire treatments funded under these grants are aimed at reducing excess vegetation and returning forest and oak woodlands to more fire, drought, and pest-resilient conditions.

Several projects include work within landscapes severely burned in recent wildfires. Ten awarded projects focus on post-fire reforestation and regeneration activities over the landscape of 11 catastrophic fires in California over the past 10 years. These fires include the Antelope, Bobcat, Beckwourth, Caldor, CZU Lightning Complex, Dixie, KNP Complex, McKinney, Mosquito, North Complex, and Rim.

“Cal Fire is proud to award Forest Health Grants that will provide invaluable reforestation and restoration capacity to California’s fire-effected and threatened landscapes and communities,” said John Melvin, assistant deputy director of resource protection and improvement for Cal Fire. “Fuels reduction, reintroduction of beneficial fire, treatment of degraded lands, and conservation of threatened forests are all vital to conserving and improving California’s forest health and resilience.”

Two-thirds of the awarded projects benefit disadvantaged or low-income communities. The economic opportunities provided by these investments are in addition to the expected benefits from forest management activities, including reduced threat of catastrophic wildfire, reduced risk to nearby communities, improvements in water quality and habitat, and climate change mitigation from carbon storage in wood products and retaining and improving forest carbon sinks.

Many of Cal Fire’s Forest Health grants were made available through California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars toward achieving the state’s climate change goals while also strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment- particularly in disadvantaged communities. This summer, Cal Fire expects to award additional grants of up to $115 million for Wildfire Prevention and up to $19 million for Tribal Wildfire Resilience.

Local projects include:

Forest Projects Plan — Arbor (Phase 1A)

Upper Mokelumne River Watershed Authority, Amador, El Dorado counties, $6,999,999

This fuels reduction project is designed to reduce the risk of high-intensity, large-scale wildfires, protect communities, improve forest resilience, and enhance important wildlife habitat on a minimum of 3,133 acres of upper watershed areas primarily within the WUI. The roadside fuel breaks, Yes mastication, hand thinning and follow-up prescribed fire treatments are designed to reduce excess surface fuels in strategic locations along ridge tops and upper slopes that connect with past treatments.

Calforests Caldor Fire Post Fire Recovery — Phase I

California Forestry Association, El Dorado County, $4,167,588, 780,000 trees to be planted

The project has 14 treatment areas within the Caldor Fire near the devastated community of Grizzly Flats in El Dorado County. Treatments include erosion control tilling; mastication; control of competing vegetation using pre- and post-herbicide treatments and grazing; planting of native trees; Yes and biomass utilization. Treated areas will be resilient to natural disturbance, fostering long-term carbon sequestration, timber products, healthy watersheds, and forest-dependent wildlife habitat.

ARC SOFAR Restoration Project

American River Conservancy, El Dorado County, $3,146,831

The ARC SOFAR Restoration Project is a 1,030 acre ecological forestry project proposal grouping four separate properties owned by the American River Conservancy that fall within the priority landscape of South Fork of The American River Watershed in El Dorado County. The ARC Yes SOFAR Restoration Project will implement ecological forestry management that promotes healthy forests and watersheds, increases carbon sequestration, and reduces catastrophic wildfire risk on the landscape.

Source: Cal Fire

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.