County launches vegetation management project grant program
By Katherine Minkiewicz, Staff Writer, SoCoNews, April 27, 2021
Earlier this week, the County of Sonoma announced the opening of solicitation for its vegetation management grant program, which will provide access to $2-4 million for local fire prevention for the 2021 wildfire season for eligible applicants.
The funds are a result of the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) settlement awarded to the county as a result of the 2017 Sonoma Complex Fires lawsuit.
In 2020, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted to allocate $25 million of the $149 million settlement toward vegetation management activities.
“I am extremely excited that this grant program has opened for applications and will be able to address community needs for this upcoming fire season,” Chair of the Board of Supervisors Lynda Hopkins said in a statement. “There are so many grassroots efforts led by motivated local individuals and groups, and this support will help them deliver important projects with tangible safety benefits.”
Those eligible to apply for the grants include nonprofit organizations, community organizations, local fire districts, communities with a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, resource conservation districts, licensed foresters, technical advisors and schools.
According to a county press release, the goal of the grant program is to enable applicants to conduct high-priority, near-term vegetation management activities and projects in high-risk areas and near key ecosystems.
Some of the high-risk areas targeted by the grant program include: areas to the northeast of developed communities; defensible space within 100 feet of homes in densely populated areas that are oriented in a west and/or south direction and are within canyons that border the east and west of the populated area; areas that burned in recent fires or have high fire return interval; boundary areas between large public and private lands and dense developments; and areas surrounding primary evacuation routes and key infrastructure.
Some specific regions have also been identified as favorable for grant awards, including: Guerneville/Camp Meeker/Occidental area, Mark West and the Tubbs and Glass fire corridors, Lake Sonoma, Sonoma Valley (including Mayacama Ridge, Sonoma Mountain/Bennett Ridge, and adjoining communities) and the Timber Cove/Sea Ranch area to Cazadero.
For more detailed information about the grant program and its application process, visit the Sonoma County Ag + Open Space website.
Grant applications must be received by Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 5 p.m.
The County will be holding an informational virtual workshop for eligible applicants on Thursday, April 29 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Attendees may join the webinar here with passcode 544139.
This article was produced by SoCoNews. See more news at soconews.org