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Two Southern California Resource Conservation Districts Awarded $3 Million to Increase Fire Resiliency throughout the Region

San Diego County CA— The Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) of Greater San Diego County (RCDGSDC) and Inland Empire (IERCD) were each awarded $1.5 million by the California Natural Resources Agency and the Department of Conservation to improve forest health and increase fire resiliency throughout key segments of San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.

Funded by Cap-and-Trade revenues through California Climate Investments, the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program (RFFC) awarded $20 million in block grants to eight organizations throughout the state to help communities prioritize, develop, and implement projects to strengthen fire resiliency, increase carbon sequestration, and facilitate greenhouse gas reductions.

For decades, both the Greater San Diego County and Inland Empire RCDs have been administering a wide-variety of on-the-ground programs aimed at improving forest health, reducing fuel loads, creating defensible space, and educating community members. “With these newly awarded funds, we can now take these successful programs to the next level by creating a Regional Fire Protection Plan (RFPP) that includes our fire agency forest priorities, and ensures our communities are prepared and ready to combat the devastating effects of California wildfire,” said Sheryl Landrum, Executive Director of the RCDGSDC.

“Fire is now an unfortunate component of the California environment,” stated Landrum. “And we all must be diligent in making our communities more fire resilient. Through this funding, we will increase coordination among residents and fire/forestry entities on a regional scale to expand resident-driven programming in support of lessening the threat and impact of wildfire.

“Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) are uniquely positioned to combine the accountability and transparency of a public agency with the flexibility and non-regulatory approach of a non-profit organization,” explains Landrum. “This nimbleness gives us the ability to bring together key stakeholders – local residents, fire agencies, tribal governments, private and public forest landowners and managers, community organizations, etc. – with the common goal of increasing fire resiliency in Southern California to protect against loss of life, property, natural resources, and wildlife.”

The Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program is one element of the state’s efforts to improve forest health, protect communities from wildfire risk and implement the California Forest Carbon Plan and Executive Order B-52-18. Projects funded through the program will build on priority projects identified by the Forest Management Task Force and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection through Executive Order N-05-19.

For more information about this program, contact either Sheryl Landrum, Executive Director of the RCD of Greater San Diego County (619-562-0096 / sheryl.landrum@rcdsandiego.org) or Mandy Parkes, District Manager of the Inland Empire RCD (909-283-7779 / mparkes@iercd.org).