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Millions Of Dollars Coming To Local Forestry Programs

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Sonora, CA — CAL Fire announced $15 million in new forestry-related grant funding, and money will benefit 16 projects, including some in Tuolumne, Calaveras, and Mariposa counties.

Tuolumne County is receiving $1.6 million for a program to help train forestry workers.

CAL Fire reports, “This project will create a Heavy Equipment Logging Operations (HELO) and a Maintenance training program through work-based learning and certification.

Adding, “By contracting with Columbia College to provide Contact Training, this will develop an industry-recognized certificate. Work-based learning will be held at the worksites of current and ongoing fuel reduction projects throughout the county.”

It is considered a “next level” career path for graduates from the Greater Sierra Forestry Corps who have received initial HELO training.

In addition, $2 million is going to Mariposa Bioenergy LLC toward the development of a bioenergy facility in Mariposa County. The money will help complete site grading, prepare a feedstock area, install a fire prevention system, and other aspects.

Also, $317,000 is going to the Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions (CHIPS) group. The mission is to create jobs for disadvantaged members of the community and continue fuel reduction efforts. The money will help recruit, train, and hire more staff.

In announcing the grant money, CAL Fire’s Deputy Director for Climate and Energy, Alan Talhelm, says, “Projects that receive support from these grants not only support forest health and wildfire resilience, but they also support the people and ecosystems that depend on California’s forestlands.”