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Stanislaus National Forest To Receive Millions For Fire Resiliency

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Sonora, CA — 10 areas in the western states will receive a combined $131-million from the federal government for forest thinning and other wildfire prevention efforts.

The Stanislaus National Forest will receive $21.8-million to treat 8,500 acres this fiscal year, and then an additional $34-million in the following two years to bring the total acreage to 32,500.

The funding will allow for increased mastication, biomass removal, machine piling for burning, timber harvesting, fuel break construction and prescribed burning.

The money is from the federal infrastructure bill. Only two areas of California were selected for this initial round of funding, and the other is North Yuba. Other projects are in Arizona, Washington, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Oregon.

Forest Service Chief Randy Moore says, “The first-year investments are a part of a 10-year strategy to reduce the exposure of communities and infrastructure to the risk of catastrophic wildfire. With each successive year we will plan and implement more, continuing to reduce the risks associated with extreme wildfire for communities in these vulnerable areas.”

Expected outcomes: Per Information from the US Forest Service

Outcomes include reduced fire risk to several foothill communities (Sonora, Columbia, Cedar Ridge, Twain Harte, Strawberry, Pinecrest, Long Barn); protection of power infrastructure (hydropower facilities and transmission and distribution lines); reduced risk to multiple communication sites and facilities both on private and public lands; and road improvements (to provide access for various treatments, as well as improved public recreation and access for emergency response).

The South and Middle Forks of the Stanislaus River are the primary water sources for Tuolumne County and provide potable water for other municipalities throughout the Central Valley, as well. Additional outcomes include less risk to community infrastructure (beyond homes), including the watershed, water reservoirs (Pinecrest Lake, Lyons Lake) and the historic wooden flume that provides 90 percent of the water to the local area. These watersheds provide substantial water for agricultural uses and habitat for several species of conservation concern.