Million-dollar grant secured for fire resiliency work in Sonoma Valley

April 24, 2019

Posted in: News Articles

Million-dollar CAL FIRE grant secured for fire resiliency work in Sonoma Valley

In 2018, our agency joined with Audubon Canyon Ranch, California State Parks, Sonoma County Regional Parks, Sonoma Land Trust, and Sonoma Mountain Ranch Preservation Foundation to form the Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative (Collaborative) as our group of six private organizations and public agencies collectively own and manage approximately 18,000 acres of protected lands between eastern Santa Rosa and Agua Caliente. Over the past several months, the Collaborative has been working with CAL FIRE to plan strategic fuel reduction and vegetation management measures to modulate the impacts of future wildfires, protect communities, and improve ecosystem health in the northern Sonoma Valley area and surrounding hills.

On April 16, 2019, the Collaborative received word that it was awarded a grant from CAL FIRE in the amount of $1,055,575 to undertake fuel reduction work on our collective lands in Sonoma Valley. Among the treatments being planned by the Collaborative are controlled burns, targeted thinning and reduction of ladder fuels where appropriate, installation of shaded fuel breaks, and clearing vegetation along roadways to improve access for emergency personnel. Our portion of the grant includes funds for shaded fuel breaks and targeted thinning at Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve – work that will enhance the safety of emergency responders and the public, and lay the groundwork for future prescribed fire on the Preserve. The grant award period is about two years, so the identified projects and awarded funding are just a first step in the Collaborative’s 10+ year vision.

The budget for Ag + Open Space, specifically, includes $365,000 for shared planning and outreach resources (including a contract with a Registered Professional Forester to develop fuel break and thinning prescriptions for identified phase 1 projects across the entire 18,000-acre Collaborative area), plus $132,000 for implementation at our own Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve.

Read all about it in the Press Democrat >>