For Immediate Release
County approves additional $3.8 million in vegetation management projects for wildfire prevention
Santa Rosa, CA | April 19, 2022
The Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Ag + Open Space) today approved an additional $3.8 million in funding for vegetation management grants out of PG&E settlement proceeds.
The bulk of the approved funds, or $3.3 million, will be applied to 18 grant projects designed to prevent wildfire throughout the county. These projects include treating 2,000 acres of land with shaded fuel-breaks, increasing grazing and creating calming zones, all of which are intended to slow or prevent the spread of wildfire in the community.
The remaining $500,000 was earmarked for a new technical advisory program to assist applicants with smaller projects, costing between $5,000 and $50,000, with the grant application process.
“The county continues to make huge strides in our work to lower the risk of wildfire in our communities,” said District 4 Supervisor James Gore, Chair of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. “We have a long way to go, but programs like these are instrumental in achieving our vegetation management goals.”
In 2021, the Board of Supervisors approved $3.6 million in grant funding, with an additional $3 million proposed for 2022. Ag + Open Space reported to the Board today that the 2021 programs are all either complete or underway and expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
Funding for the grant program comes from the 2017 PG&E settlement award, of which the Board of Supervisors allocated $25 million to vegetation management on Oct. 6, 2020. Approximately $14 million still remains to be allocated from that initial sum.
For more information about the vegetation management grant program, visit sonomaopenspace.org/our-impact/vegmanagement/. Vegetation Management Coordinator Kim Batchelder is also available to answer specific questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regional Parks accepts $500,000 grant for vegetation management in Sonoma Valley
In a separate but related agenda item today, Sonoma County Regional Parks accepted $500,000 in state grant funding to pass through to the Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative for the development of fuel reduction projects, fuel breaks, defensible space and fuel break maintenance in Sonoma Valley.
The collaborative consists of six conservation organizations and land management agencies, including Regional Parks, Ag + Open Space, Audubon Canyon Ranch, the State Department of Parks and Recreation, Sonoma Land Trust and Sonoma Mountain Ranch Preservation Foundation.
Formed in response to the 2017 wildfires, these organizations recognized the need to manage land in partnership and across boundaries to achieve greater landscape resilience and community protection from wildfire.
Together, the collaborative manages more than 18,000 acres of park and preserve lands in the Sonoma Valley region including lands that have been recently and repeatedly impacted by extreme wildfire. The collaborative aims to maintain and improve ecosystem health, increase resilience to wildfires and climate change, and reduce future impacts of wildfire to communities in the Sonoma Valley.
For more information about the Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative, visit their website. See other ways Sonoma County is working on vegetation management here.