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CAL FIRE Awards Five Million Dollars to Local San Diego Agencies Committed to Saving the Region’s Last Mixed Conifer Forest

San Diego County CA— A collaboration between key San Diego agencies – Fire Safe Council of San Diego County, Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County, USFS Cleveland National Forest, La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, Pauma Band of Mission Indians, Caltech, and Palomar Land & Cattle Company – was chosen to receive 4.9 million dollars through CAL FIRE’s Forest Health grant program. These funds are for landscape-scale land management projects intended to restore and maintain healthy forests, conserve working forests, and enhance carbon storage in California’s forests.

A key priority for this multi-agency collaborative is saving San Diego’s last mixed conifer forest – located on Palomar Mountain – through active fuels reduction and reforestation. Palomar’s dense conifer forest has experienced heavy losses in the last two decades due to severe drought and wildfire, magnified by tree mortalities. “Our collaborative – which includes state, federal, tribal, and private landowners – is joining forces to prevent another catastrophic loss of forest habitat in San Diego County,” explained Sheryl Landrum, Executive Director of the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County. “Utilizing each agency’s unique expertise, we seek to collaboratively manage and protect the health of our forests and watersheds to ensure their resilience against future wildfires, all while promoting increased carbon storage across ~1,575 acres on Palomar Mountain,” Landrum added.

CAL FIRE’s Forest Health grants were made available through California Climate Investment (CCI), a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars toward achieving the state’s climate change goals, while also strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.

For decades, the RCD of Greater San Diego County has 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 partner with like-minded agencies in delivering multiple sustainable benefits to Palomar Mountain to improve forest health, wildlife habitat, and community protection,” said Landrum.

For more information about this program, contact Sheryl Landrum, Executive Director of the RCD of Greater San Diego County (619-562-0096 / sheryl.landrum@rcdsandiego.org).

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