MADERA – The Central Sierra is ground zero for tree mortality in California, and agencies from across the state are learning from local challenges.
Madera County continues to lead conversations and share information with both decision makers and the public.
The California Local Agency Formation Commission (CALAFCo) hosted its annual conference at Tenaya Lodge last week where approximately 250 decision makers and executive staff were present to learn about the challenges and possible ways to address the massive issue of nearly 129 million dead trees.
The annual conference also covered a number of other topics such as agricultural preservation, affordable housing, and tools for climate-smart growth, says District 5 Chief of Staff Brittany Dyer.
On the first day, approximately 90 people participated in a mobile workshop which included visits to locations throughout the area so that everyone could see first-hand the devastating effects of the wide-spread die-off of pine and cedar trees. The field trip included an ongoing discussion of tree mortality and forest health issues.
Eastern Madera County’s District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler, along with a supporting planning committee, coordinated the workshop which included the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire, PG&E, Visit Yosemite|Madera County, the Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council, and Miller’s Landing.
Tree mortality and overall forest health continued to be a key subject as Supervisor Wheeler’s team put together a keynote presentation and panel on the second day of the conference.
As the search for solutions and funding continues, Blue Ridge Services is moving ahead with their work to mitigate hazards posed by dead trees near County infrastructure and along county roads.
Supervisor Wheeler’s office continues to research and apply for grants in conjunction with the Yosemite/Sequoia RC&DC. The next grant they are looking into is the California Climate Investments Forest Health Grant Program via Cal Fire.
“Madera County has continued to take a leadership role in the tree mortality discussion throughout the state and continues to secure funds to support hazard tree removal and fuel reduction projects,” says Wheeler.