A collaboration between the Bureau of Land Management Mother Lode Field Office and the Yuba Watershed Institute was recently awarded $414,678 from CAL FIRE’s Climate Change Investments grant program. The funds will be used for 320 acres of fuels reduction treatments on BLM-managed public lands on the San Juan Ridge.
The planned fire prevention treatments include establishment of a 200-foot-wide shaded fuel break along portions of major access routes such as Tyler Foote, Sages, Old Mill and Jackass Flats Roads. Other activities will include burning about 140 acres of debris piles that were created during a BLM-funded fuel reduction project conducted earlier this year along Lake City Road and Farrell Ravine Way.
Twelve separate BLM-managed parcels on the San Juan Ridge, collectively known as the ‘Inimim Forest, have been managed collaboratively by the Mother Lode Field Office and the Yuba Watershed Institute since the early 1990s. ‘Inimim means ponderosa pine in the Nisenan language.
“We believe community partnerships like the ‘Inimim Forest collaboration are vital to managing sustainable, working public lands,” says William Haigh, Field Manager for the BLM Mother Lode Field Office. “Groups like the Yuba Watershed Institute can add staffing and capacity to our land management efforts. Together, we are committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive.”
CAL FIRE’s Climate Change Investments grant program aims to reduce the risk of wildland fires to habitable structures and communities, while helping to sequester carbon and minimize the uncontrolled release of emissions by wildfires. The program is funded by California’s cap-and-trade program, which took effect in 2012.
The CAL FIRE funding is the latest in a series of grants the Yuba Watershed Institute has obtained for the ‘Inimim Forest project. In 2017, the Bella Vista Foundation funded the revision of a management plan for the forest, and earlier this year the Sierra Nevada Conservancy awarded the project a planning grant through its Proposition 1 Watershed Improvement Program.
“This summer’s wildfires are showing us how a history of fire suppression, coupled with rising temperatures, is leading to a dangerous situation for residents of California’s wildland-urban interface,” says Chris Friedel, Executive Director of the Yuba Watershed Institute. “The ‘Inimim Forest project will help to reduce the risk of high-severity fire on San Juan Ridge, while making the forest more resilient to future droughts and climate change.”