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Madera County Enters Into Agreement For Tree Mortality Operations

MADERA – Madera County residents will soon see an increase in the work to remove dead trees along county roads and near infrastructure.

The Madera County Board of Supervisors has approved an agreement with Blue Ridge Services, Inc. for tree mortality operations management services.

This agreement provides for an escalation in the county-wide effort to reduce risk to public infrastructure resulting from tree mortality.

Projects will be funded by Cal Fire’s Local Assistance for Tree Mortality (LATM) Grant Program, which will provide matching funds for counties to tap into the California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA), administered by the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).

Tom Wheeler, Madera County District 5 Supervisor, has been working for two years in conjunction with other counties in California affected by tree mortality to address the issue and find financing solutions.

As a result of these efforts, $6 million has been awarded in a one-time grant to aid high-priority counties in dealing with the effects of the drought and insect infestations that have killed millions of trees. In Madera County, as many as 11,000 of those dead trees are located in high-hazard zones that may present a risk to County infrastructure.

The County has responded with a strategic, multi-layered approach and Blue Ridge Services – a local waste and vegetation management company – will focus on first clearing dead trees from county property and along county-maintained roads where fire or falling trees could damage critical infrastructure (roads, parks, facilities, etc.).

In addition to servicing and educating the general public, Blue Ridge Services, Inc., is tasked with developing a prioritized plan to mitigate the risks of tree mortality to public safety and infrastructure, obtaining grants and pursuing California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA) reimbursements, meeting all environmental requirements, securing property owner permissions where mitigation is necessary, coordinating efforts with partner agencies, and executing the developed plan in accordance with all appropriate regulations.

In most cases, trees felled on private property are expected to remain in the location where they are felled, cut to contour the land, and tree limbs lopped and scattered so that they can decompose faster. This is aimed at maximizing the impact of limited funding.

Blue Ridge Services, Inc. is expected to begin the planning phase of their work immediately. They will be providing the public with regular updates via their website https://blueridgeservices.com/maderatreemortality, and a project Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/maderatreemortality.

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