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Sierra Nevada Conservancy $1 million Grant for Rim Fire Restoration

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy, an organization dedicated to improving the environmental, economic and social well being of the Sierra Nevada region, has allocated $1 million in grant funding to aid in the Rim Fire recovery effort.

Jim Branham, the conservancy’s executive director says Prop 84 funds will address community needs.

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In the late summer and early fall of 2013, the Rim Fire scorched more than 250,000 acres of land in Mariposa and Tuolumne counties. It is believed that the intense, fast-moving wildfire was sparked by a campfire started by a hunter, who is expected to be charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento.

Branham says they will work with local agencies to address the most pressing issue.

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With more than a quarter-million acres incinerated, public agencies and private landowners have worked diligently to restore the land to a semblance of health. The Stanislaus National Forest has worked with a Burn Agency Emergency Response team to assess which fire-damaged trees pose the greatest threats to forest visitors and roadways. The Stanislaus National Forest is now entering the second phase of its Rim Fire recovery plan by holding public workshops to educate the public and obtain feedback on its proposal to move forward with tree removal and road repairs.

In the private sector, Sierra Pacific Industries, a forest products company based in Anderson, has shifted its logging operations from green timber to burn timber in the wake of the Rim Fire. SPI is the largest private landowner in the state. More than 10,000 acres of its lands were damaged by the Rim Fire.

Specific details on how to use the grant money are still being discussed, but Branham indicated that his organization’s decision to help with the Rim Fire recovery effort was an easy one.

Funding for the grant comes from Proposition 84, which was approved by California voters in 2006. Proposition 84 authorized that $5.388 billion be used for water conservation efforts, water quality, waterway and natural resource protection and other related projects. Because of the provisions of Proposition 84, the conservancy’s $1 million grant will focus on water-related recovery efforts.

As the Rim Fire recovery project goes forward, the conservancy will work closely with the forest service, the National Park Service, Tuolumne County officials, Yosemite-Stanislaus Solutions and other stakeholders to decide how the grant money will be allocated.

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