Tahoe Conservancy Awards $4.6 Million to Reduce Wildfire Risk
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.—The California Tahoe Conservancy has awarded two grants totaling $4,627,000 to build partner capacity for forest and wildfire resilience projects across the California side of the Lake Tahoe Basin:
- A $3,302,500 grant will build the capacity of the Lake Valley Fire Protection District and South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue to plan and oversee projects to reduce wildfire risk on the south shore.
- A $1,324,500 grant will fund the Tahoe Resource Conservation District to provide professional forestry services to complete environmental review and prepare prescriptions and layout for forest resilience projects.
“The Caldor Fire showed the importance of reducing hazardous fuels on forested lands in our communities,” said Fire Chief Chad Stephen with the Lake Valley Fire Protection District. “These grants will help us protect our communities by increasing the pace and scale of forest management.”
Lake Valley Fire, South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue, and the Tahoe RCD will base their work on a list of priority fuels reduction projects to be identified through the Lake Tahoe Basin Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). Using funding from a 2022 Conservancy grant, Basin partners are currently updating the CWPP. These fuels reduction projects will help reduce wildfire risk for Tahoe communities and restore the resilience of Basin forests and watersheds to climate change impacts. Work funded by this grant will help achieve a goal of the 2019 Lake Tahoe Basin Forest Action Plan to complete initial treatments on 22,000 acres of forest within the wildland-urban interface in the Basin by 2025.
Tahoe RCD will use the grant funds to provide professional forestry services, completing environmental review, developing project-specific prescriptions to manage trees and brush, identifying project boundaries, and marking trees for removal on local government and private lands on the California side of the Basin.
“A scarcity of professional foresters has become a barrier to getting Basin forestry projects implemented quickly enough,” said Mike Vollmer, Executive Director for Tahoe RCD. “Tahoe RCD is excited to assist Tahoe fire districts and other partners in getting these important projects planned, permitted, and implemented.”
The grant funds will enable Lake Valley Fire and South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue to serve for five years as project managers for the priority fuel reduction projects on local government and private lands on the south shore. The fire agencies will coordinate with private and public landowners, including securing land use agreements needed for implementation. The fire agencies will also collaborate with Basin partners to secure funding to implement the shovel-ready projects following environmental review.
“By partnering, our agencies can work faster together to make our forests more resilient to wildfire across a range of public and private lands,” said Fire Chief Jim Drennan of South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue. “These efforts will leave our communities better protected.”
Funding for these grants comes from the State of California’s 2021 wildfire package and from a Regional Forest and Fire Capacity grant provided by the California Department of Conservation. Regional Forest and Fire Capacity grants advance the goals of the California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force, which include supporting activities that build local capacity, help plan and prioritize where to reduce hazardous fuels, and decrease the potential for future high-intensity wildfire.
Media contact: Chris Carney, Communications Director, email@example.com, 530-543-6057
The California Tahoe Conservancy is a state agency, established in 1985, with a mission to lead California’s efforts to restore and enhance the extraordinary natural and recreational resources of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Learn more at tahoe.ca.gov.