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$70 Million Dollars For Post Rim Fire Efforts

Sonora, CA – The winners of the National Resilience Competition were announced today with Tuolumne County receiving a sizable chunk of the nearly $1 billion available.

HUD qualifications included communities that were impacted by major disasters between 2011 and 2013. As previously reported, the state of California’s only submission to the competition was the “Tuolumne County Community and Watershed Resilience Program,” noting it was hit hard by the 2013 Rim Fire.  The State of California will receive $70,359,459 to fund the plan. According to the USDA, the program will focus on supporting forest and watershed health, developing a bio-energy and wood products facility, and a community resilience center, which will create a long-term sustainable program that can be replicated throughout the state. It is designed to provide both economic and environmental benefits.

County Supervisor Randy Hanvelt, Board Chair during the Rim Fire, shares that he was speechless when he first received the news. Now that the shock has worn off, he says, “I hope it turns out to be a real helping  hand…that it gets positive benefits for the people of Tuolumne County. I’m hoping that it means job opportunities.”  Hanvelt adds that ultimately his desire is that the program can become a model with the federal government recognizing the “value of investing in their forest as opposed to making excuses for not managing them.”

In all, eight states, four cities, and one county received resilience award amounts ranging from just over $17 million to $176 million. “California is one of only thirteen states and local communities to receive an award from among the 40 finalists in the competition,” County Administrator Craig Pedro adds. “That is quite an accomplishment, despite only receiving $70 million of the $117 million requested in the final application.  Once the County can obtain more detailed information from HUD on the award, we will be able to address questions regarding the scope, timing and process for implementing funded projects.” He notes a big “thank-you” is in order to all who contributed input through the NDRC process and to all members of the multi-agency project team that helped put the application together.  He notably mentioned Deputy CAO Maureen Frank, as being one of the main leaders of the effort.