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USDA Grant To Fund Biomass Business In Mother Lode

Sonora, CA – Plans for grant monies coming to the Mother Lode this week are to study biomass removal in ways that benefit local forests and businesses.

USDA Rural Development California State Director Kim Dolbow Vann, slated to be the featured speaker Thursday during the Central Sierra Economic Development Summit and Workshop at Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys, will on Wednesday in Sonora, present a Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) for $178,000 to Central Sierra Economic Development District (CSEDD) officials at the Mother Lode Job Training offices.

CSEDD has earmarked the funds for a feasibility study involving subsidizing wood building products composed of biomass materials from area forests. Goals are to reduce the impacts of biomass, including forest health and reduction of wildfire risk, and aid the construction of affordable housing by providing viable building products. Through these efforts, CSEDD will also be working to expand and revitalize related businesses and anticipates the creation of more than 25 local jobs.

“Rural business is a cornerstone of rural prosperity,” Vann states. “We have lived through the devastating effects of wildfire, and this partnership can provide innovative options to decrease fire hazards while increasing rural infrastructure and job opportunities through workforce training.”

CSEDD is a five-county multi-agency economic development partnership serving Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne counties along with the cities of Sonora and Angels Camp. Partnerships include Mother Lode Job Training, which handles administration, and local economic development offices.