SNC board approves wildfire resilience grant guidelines, funds Giant Sequoia restoration project

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s governing board approved new funding guidelines and will make up to $25 million in local-assistance grants available through the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program for projects that address immediate wildfire‑recovery and forest-resilience priorities.

“Consecutive record-shattering fire seasons make it clear that we need to scale up forest restoration across the Sierra Nevada. If we don’t, we risk losing more of the treasured landscapes that support our state’s water supply, carbon storage, and biodiversity,” said Angela Avery, Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s executive officer. “We also can’t abandon Sierra Nevada communities devastated by recent fires. Our new Wildfire Recovery and Forest Resilience grant guidelines address both these needs.”

The 2022 Wildfire Recovery and Forest Resilience grant program will direct as much as half of the $50 million allocated to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy in the 2021 state budget to projects that create resilient forest landscapes, reduce wildfire risk, and help communities and natural landscapes recover from recent wildfires.

“California’s leaders are responding to the wildfire crisis in our state with significant investments,” said Andy Fristensky, field operations and grants division chief with the SNC. “These commitments allow agencies, such as the SNC, to fund ecologically sound forest-management projects that protect communities and landscapes, and restore forests lost to high-severity fire.”

To be eligible under the approved guidelines, projects must be located within the Sierra Nevada region, meet applicable California and national environmental compliance requirements, result in a clear and enduring public benefit, be completed by January 2028, and support goals identified in California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan and the WIP. Priority will be given to projects resulting from Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program funding, along with multi‑benefit, landscape-scale, high-impact, and/or wildfire recovery projects. More information on the grant program will be posted on the SNC Funding page in early January.

Boardmembers also awarded $1.1 million to the Great Basin Institute for Phase Two of the Grant Grove-Big Stump Ecological Restoration Project to protect giant sequoia groves in Fresno and Tulare counties. Large wildfires have killed roughly 10,000-14,000 mature giant sequoia trees in the past two years, 13-19 percent of the ancient, iconic species that live exclusively in California’s Sierra Nevada.

Details about this project can be found in board materials on the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s website at sierranevada.ca.gov.

The SNC is a California state agency that initiates, encourages and supports efforts that improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada Region, its communities, and the people of California. Learn more about SNC at sierranevada.ca.gov.