SANTA ROSA – The project “Building Fire Resiliency in California’s Coast Range Forests and Grasslands” has been awarded $4.9M by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to implement land management practices which minimize wildfire impacts on human life and property in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), restore natural fire regime patterns in undeveloped areas, and improve resource conditions following recent wildfires by providing financial and technical assistance to private landowners.
Building on established regional partnerships, this project will be administered by Rebuild NorthBay Foundation (RNBF) in partnership with local governments, NRCS, CAL FIRE, Clear Lake Environmental Resource Center (CLERC), and Resource Conservation Districts (RCD) from Colusa, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo Counties.
NRCS is investing $330 million in 85 locally driven, public-private partnerships to address climate change, improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability. Projects are awarded through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is public-private partnership working at its best,” said Terry Cosby, Acting Chief for NRCS. “These new projects will harness the power of partnership to help bring about solutions to natural resource concerns across the country while supporting our efforts to combat the climate crisis.”
Starting just north of the San Francisco Bay and expanding north and east over the Coast Range, the project’s geographic area has experienced a number of the large-scale fires becoming increasingly common in the state. Project partners have already been working to advance fire resilience and forest health in this region, but a legacy of fire suppression, a large population living in the wildland-urban interface, and a changing climate necessitate more effective partnerships and a landscape-level vision.
“We are excited to be receiving NRCS funding dedicated to our region,” said Yolo County RCD Executive Director Heather Nichols. “The LNU Lightning and August Complex Fires caused extensive damage to forest and rangelands in our communities and this program both acknowledges the importance of partnership in tackling wildfire and acts as an innovative investment to help recover our landscapes and better prepare for future fire seasons. We are ready to assist more landowners that need to manage their property with wildfire in mind, and it will take all of us working together to be effective at the landscape level.”
This project focuses on planning and implementing fire resiliency practices on privately owned forestlands and grasslands. Over 40% of the region’s wildlands are privately owned, so farmers, ranchers, and rural landowners are in a unique position to reduce wildfire risk and promote wildfire recovery. However, they require technical and financial assistance to take effective action. RCPP is a tool to deploy this assistance to reduce fuel loads, improve forest and rangeland health, prevent soil erosion, and recover from wildfire damage – together.
For more information, contact RNBF Executive Director, Jennifer Gray Thompson, at Jennifer@rebuildnorthbay.org or call (707) 953-6034.