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Calaveras County And Forest Sign Good Neighbor Agreement

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San Andreas, CA – A new Good Neighbor Agreement (GNA) between Calaveras County and the Stanislaus National Forest will bring down hazardous trees and create fire breaks and could last for a decade.

The accord was signed after county supervisors approved the plan at a board meeting on May 17th. It will impact the Calaveras Ranger District. The GNA paves the way for both to begin increased efforts to remove hazardous trees from roadways and to implement strategic fuel breaks in the county. It also has the ability to last for up to 10 years.

“This agreement will help expand forest service capacity,” said Calaveras Ranger District Resource Management Staff officer, Carinna Robertson. “We all want to protect our communities from catastrophic wildlife, and this is a way to get hazardous fuels reduction work done at a faster rate (i.e., increase pace and scale). She added, “This enables the FS and Calaveras County to work with different partners, increase pace and scale, and increases collaboration where everyone’s voice is heard.”

With the Board of Supervisors’ approval, forest officials relayed that the agreement will head to the Forest Service’s Grant and Agreements Division for final review and signatures. After that, the work will begin in the near future with two projects already outlined. One is the removal of hazardous trees along county roads, and the other is the implementation of the McKay’s Strategic Fuelbreak.

“We need to find faster and more efficient ways to get work done on the ground,” Robertson said. “We have so many interested parties (i.e., stakeholders, communities, and other groups/individuals) that want to help, they just don’t know exactly how. With Calaveras County stepping up to help seek grant funding and work with existing and new partners this enables us to work across boundaries to see fuels reduction treatments happen at a much faster rate.”

The agreement is limited to state, local, and tribal governments and does not have a financial match obligation, according to forest officials. They also stated that its application is limited to forest and watershed restoration, hazardous fuel reduction, fish and wildlife habitat improvement, and the treatment of insect or disease-infected trees.

Clarke Broadcasting reached out to forest spokesperson Benjamin Cossel regarding whether there is a similar agreement in the works for Tuolumne County. He replied, “We don’t only because the forest and Tuolumne County have a Master Stewardship Agreement. Similar partnership vehicle but with more requirements on each party.”

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