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Federal Funding To Help Forest Ramp Up Landscape Restoration

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Tuolumne County, CA — Several Tuolumne County communities, like Cedar Ridge, will benefit from federal dollars fueling prescribed burns.

A partnership between Tuolumne County, the U.S. Forest Service and Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions Collaborative (YSS) will ramp up efforts to increase the pace and scale of landscape restoration on the Stanislaus National Forest (STF) with those funds. In September, the county received $ 8.67 million from the U.S. Forest Service to add to the $11.2 million it already received from other grants and direct funding to support fuels reduction and other restoration work on the forest.

At today’s Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors meeting, Senior Administrative Analyst Liz Peterson detailed, “Funding will be used to implement priority fuels reduction treatments around the communities of Cedar Ridge and Cold Springs, as well as pre-implementation activities, such as archeological and botanical surveys, property line survey and posting, road maintenance and reconstruction, in support of future restoration treatments in the larger landscape of the forest.”

In 2017, STF and the board entered into a Master Stewardship Agreement (MSA) that created projects designed to protect, enhance and restore forest and watershed health while bringing economic opportunities to the local area. Under the MSA, the Cedar Ridge and Cold Springs fuel reduction treatments will complement the Strawberry Unified Prescribed Burn plan, which is located adjacent to Cold Springs and Strawberry. Peterson adds that the prescribed burn preparation was funded through a California Climate Investment grant awarded to Tuolumne County on behalf of YSS.

“With the 2020 fire season not yet over, it is becoming even more evident that we need to do something different to change the trajectory of our National Forests and communities located within the Wildland Urban Interface,” said Jason Kuiken, Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor. “Developing effective partnerships with those who have common interests is critical to ensuring the resiliency of our National Forests.”

Board of Supervisors Chair, Sherri Brennan shared, “Our partnerships are crucial to leveraging the resources needed to maintain the forest’s ability to provide valuable ecosystem services such as water for drinking, agriculture and power generation, forest products to support local economies, as well as opportunities for recreation and tourism. By coming together and leveraging funding, expertise and other resources from a variety of stakeholders, we hope to demonstrate that we can make a real difference in increasing the resiliency and sustainability of our National Forests and our communities that rely upon them.”