PG&E Settlement Allocation and Vegetation Management
Litigation by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and Board of Directors for the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Ag + Open Space), Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) and Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District (SVCSD), and the Community Development Commission (CDC), (collectively, Sonoma entities), against Pacific Gas & Electric to recover damages related to the 2017 Sonoma Complex Fires (2017 Fires) resulted in an allocation of $149.3 million to the Sonoma entities. The $149.3 million settlement amount represents 61% of the total claimed damages incurred by the Sonoma entities. On October 6, 2020, the Board of Supervisors allocated $25 million from the PG&E Settlement for vegetation management.
March 23, 2021: The Board of Supervisors received the CLEE report to inform their decision on how best to allocate the $25 million. At the meeting, the Board made the following decisions to:
- Establish an interim group to facilitate allocating funds for near-term community projects. The amount authorized for immediate projects is $2-$4 million. This effort will be led by the Ag + Open Space District.
- Authorize staff and/or the interim governance group to establish a streamlined process for submission, evaluation and award of proposals for near-term projects, and delegate authority to this group to disburse funding. The interim governance group will be comprised of representatives from the County’s resource departments (UCCE, Regional Parks, Permit Sonoma, Sonoma Water, Ag + Open Space), the County Administrator’s Office, County Counsel, and CAL FIRE. The solicitation information and an outreach plan are currently being developed, with the goal of opening the application period before the end of April 2021.
- Allocate $660,000 for a three-year vegetation management coordinator position. Staff will return to the Board in May 2021 with a detailed job description and a recommendation on which department/agency should house this new position.
- Allocate $500,000 to Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) for vegetation management workforce development. This funding will enable SRJC to expand their programs, such as fire abatement and prevention, and develop a local workforce that can address the need for skilled vegetation management services in the county.
December 15, 2020: The Board of Supervisors received an update on vegetation management activities and initial recommendations for allocation, including stakeholder priorities. At the meeting, the Board allocated (from other PG&E settlement funding, not the $25 million) the following:
- $70,000 for Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) to convene two vegetation management policy discussion groups with state and local stakeholders and experts to identify a set of actions for long-term vegetation management funding, policy and actions.
- $1.6 million for expansion to landscape scale of a fuel mapper decision support tool, led by Sonoma Water, and outreach and education for the roll-out of the parcel-scale decision support tool countywide, led by UC Cooperative Extension.
View Board summary and related documents: Vegetation Management Summary
October 6, 2020: The Board of Supervisors allocated $25 million from the PG&E Settlement for vegetation management. View Board summary and related documents.