On May 17, the California Coastal Conservancy announced plans to recommend a grant to the city of Healdsburg for vegetation management in open space areas of Fitch Mountain.
The announcement came during a virtual town hall held by State Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg.
“The Coastal Conservancy is going to recommend a grant to the city of Healdsburg next week on Thursday to our board for vegetation management in that open space. This project is very high priority and is part of a much larger plan to really protect the city of Healdsburg,” said Mary Small, deputy chief executive officer of California Coastal Conservancy.
The Fitch Mountain project will improve fire roads, reduce fire fuels and remove invasive species.
The goal of the project is to create about three miles of defensible space between the open space preserve and the private property that’s adjacent to it.
“The fire department is going to be creating shaded fuel breaks, removing vegetation fuels and introducing goat grazing in some areas to help reduce some of that fuel,” Small said.
She said if the project is approved by the Conservancy board next week, the city will start work on the project this June.
“We received $12 million of the Early Action funding in mid-April and we moved really quickly. We had a two-week request for proposals and we were just inundated with proposals, and these had to be projects that could start this summer,” Small said.
She said they received a total of 80 proposals requesting $40 million in funding.
“There’s a lot of work out there and a lot of people have been thinking about this and getting ready,” Small said. “We’ll have a special board meeting on June 7 and we expect to recommend about 33 projects to our board funding projects from Trinity County to San Diego funding fire districts, park districts, cities, counties, resource conservation districts, tribes, water districts and land trusts.”
She said if they receive more funding for wildfire work they plan on holding future grant rounds likely this summer.
“On behalf of the entire state I want to say ‘thank you’ to you, to the entire Coastal Conservancy team. You made a commitment that these dollars would move with speed and they would impact in a positive way this wildland fire season and you’re following through with that commitment. We couldn’t say thank you enough today,” McGuire said.
The California Coastal Conservancy is a state agency that was created to support on the ground actions that conserve land, restore natural resources and improve the public’s ability to access the coast.