Sacramento, CA…This week, the California USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced the availability of $4 million in funding, through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), for tree mortality projects on private forestlands. Landowners on non-industrial private forestlands in Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Kern, Lake, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Tulare and Tuolumne counties are eligible to apply for financial assistance.
Applicants who have more than 20 percent of their forestland property covered with dead trees will receive priority funding consideration. Applicants will be required to develop a Forest Management Plan for their property.
The purpose of the Forest Tree Mortality EQIP Fund Pool is to provide immediate resource protection in drought-affected conifer forestlands where elevated levels of forest insect tree mortality has occurred or where forest insects are an imminent threat to forestlands. Priority resource concerns for the Forest Tree Mortality EQIP Fund Pool necessitating immediate management of dead and dying conifer trees include fire hazards resulting from dead tree debris fuel loads; pest control to reduce spread of insect mortality; and degraded, understocked forest conditions resulting from the insect damage and loss of forest trees.
The immediate consequence of tree mortality on California forestlands is the potential for increased wildfires, further spread of forest insect tree damage, threats to critical public safety infrastructure from falling trees, reduced forest carbon stocks, loss of commercial timber values to landowners, and diminished forestland benefits such as wildlife habitat and aesthetics.