RCDs Awarded Over $1.1 Million to Address Forest Health in California
For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Karen Buhr, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts
Phone: (916) 524-2100
[Sacramento, CA] – California’s watersheds provide clean water, wildlife and fisheries habitat, natural beauty, and abundant natural resources that support many aspects of our state’s $2.7 trillion economy. In a time of worsening droughts, fires, and floods, state and local agencies are looking to invest in programs at the local level that have a proven track record of improving watershed health and building more resilient communities in the face of a changing climate.
The California Department of Conservation (DOC) recently announced the funding recipients for the Forest Health Watershed Coordinator Program. From the DOC, “watershed coordinators bring diverse stakeholder groups together to implement consensus-based improvements to the watershed. This includes reducing erosion and pollutants, restoring fisheries and habitats, removing noxious weeds, reducing fire danger, and expanding public education. Coordinators build coalitions for watershed improvement, obtain funds for those improvements, carry out those projects, and educate residents of the watersheds on how to best manage and care for them.”
The Forest Health Watershed Coordinator Program is expected to help the state meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals, which were set by the California Global Warming Solutions Act in in 2006 and require the state to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. According to the DOC, investments in forest health will ensure that forests remain net carbon sinks that provide a range of ecosystem and benefits.
After creating the program, Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) have played an integral role in various iterations of the watershed coordinator program for nearly 20 years. They make conservation happen on-the-ground by partnering with local communities on a voluntary basis to care for California’s land, water, soil, and other natural resources. As special districts of the State of California governed by locally-elected or appointed boards of directors, they have the local relationships, expertise, and knowledge to build productive partnerships and get projects done quickly and cost-effectively.
Of the eight applications approved in 2019 for the Forest Health Watershed Coordinator Program, five applications from RCDs were accepted for a total of $1,154,423 in funding. Congratulations to the award recipients—Butte County RCD, Sierra RCD, Humboldt County RCD, RCD of Santa Cruz County, Pit RCD—and the many other RCDs and local partners who collaborated on and will benefit from this crucial funding.