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Tuolumne Sups Extend Drought, Tree Mortality Emergencies

Sonora, CA – Unsurprisingly, after hearing the latest on the current states of the drought and pervasive tree mortality emergencies at its Tuesday meeting, the Tuolumne supervisors unanimously voted to continue both.

The good news, according to Tuolumne County Deputy Administrator and OES Coordinator Tracie Riggs is that local drought conditions have improved due to recent precipitation.  She also noted that since her last report no additional wells or water systems have gone dry. Currently, 137 residences are receiving water deliveries, with 118 tanks placed on sites as 19 of the homes already had tanks. She added that county OES staff continues outreach educational efforts so that residents know what resources are available to them, should they experience failing water supplies.

Ahead of the board’s decision to unanimously continue the drought emergency, District 2 Supervisor Randy Hanvelt, echoing the rest of the board’s sentiments, stated, “We are not at season normal. The drought is still here. We need to remain vigilant.”

Regarding the county’s worsening tree mortality issues, Riggs advised the board that at the last tree task force meeting, Cal Fire turned the reins over to her office.  She also reported that the state informed her that in addition to its recent agreement to providing a 75% match for the county’s tree removal cost, her office can submit past claims retroactive to July. While funding assistance for private landowners is not available, Riggs stated that her office is working with the county assessor to determine if property tax relief or credit under Prop 8 might apply.