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Tuolumne County Ends Its Tree Mortality Program

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Sonora, CA – After four years of chopping down hazardous trees, Tuolumne County is ending its tree mortality program.

Jad Kurdi an administrative analyst for the county’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) had this reaction, “It’s nice to see it come to a closure. We’ve taken down almost 20,000 hazardous trees throughout the county. This has really allowed us to eliminate some of the threats to the roads, homes and even to people’s lives.”

A State of Emergency was declared in 2015 brought on by the drought and bark beetle epidemic that resulted in 130 million dead trees in California. The county’s program began in 2016 with over $ 7 million in state funding through the California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA).

With the elimination of drought conditions and the hazards removed there is no longer an immediate threat to the community and no need for the program, according to Kurdi, who shares the office’s new target, “The main priority for OES going forward will be the threat of wildfire. Programs that were working on are clearing away the dead and dying vegetation along roadways and help assist homeowners with their defensible space needs.”

There is still about $130,000 left in state funding, which Kurdi says they are working with the state to keep in the county for wildfires resiliency expenses. Residents are encouraged to keep a lookout for potential hazard trees and PG&E will continue its enhanced vegetation management program of removing hazardous trees and vegetation that may impact its power lines or other infrastructure.

A final presentation outlining the achievements of the mortality program, including a map pointing out in green the areas impacted by the hazardous trees as seen below, will be given to the board of supervisors at its February 18 meeting, which will be live-streamed on mymotherlode.com in the multimedia section or click here.

Heat map for the tree mortality program showing the concentration of trees removed.
T.C. OES map

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