The Regional Forest and Fire Capacity program seeks to increase regional capacity to prioritize, develop, and implement projects that improve forest health and fire resilience, facilitate greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and increase carbon sequestration in forests throughout California. Block grants will be utilized by recipients to support regional planning and implementation of landscape-level forest health projects consistent with the California
Forest Carbon Plan and
Executive Order B-52-18.
This is a California Natural Resources Agency program administered by the Department of Conservation.
The Regional Forest and Fire Capacity program seeks to export the Sierra Nevada Conservancy's
Watershed Improvement Program across the state. The Watershed Improvement Program serves as an example of a coordinated, integrated, collaborative initiative to restore the health of large watersheds. Launched in 2015, the program works to increase the pace and scale of investments in the Sierra Nevada to address critical watershed needs.
In May 2018, the Forest Climate Action Team, comprised of state, local, and federal agencies released the Forest Carbon Plan, which calls for significant increases in the pace and scale of forest and watershed improvements to restore the health and resilience of California's forests by reducing conditions that lead to catastrophic wildfire and ensuring that California's forests remain net carbon sinks that provide a range of ecosystem and social benefits to the state. The Forest Carbon Plan encourages the protection of California's forested lands, reduction of conversion to non-forest uses, and the pursuit of innovations in wood products and biomass utilization to reduce or offset GHG emissions; promotes land stewardship; and strengthens rural economies and communities. The Forest Carbon Plan provides best available science and recommendations to achieve its goals across all forested regions of the state.
In response to the Forest Carbon Plan and in the face of the worst wildfires in California's history, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., issued Executive Order B-52-18 directing state agencies to implement these and other recommendations outlined in the Forest Carbon Plan. The Executive Order directs the California Natural Resources Agency to "take all necessary steps" to double statewide forest treatments within five years.
SB 856 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review. Budget Act of 2018), signed on June 27th, 2018, includes significantly augmented funding across multiple programs to implement the goals of the Forest Carbon Plan and Executive Order. This funding package appropriated $20 million in California Climate Investments funding to the California Natural Resources Agency for grants to support regional implementation of landscape-level forest health projects to expand Sierra Nevada Conservancy's Watershed Improvement Program model to the Northern, Coastal, and Southern California regions consistent with the recommendations of the Forest Carbon Plan.
The Natural Resources Agency released final Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program Guidelines (PDF) on February 20, 2019. On March 12, the Natural Resources Agency announced the funding awards.
Department of Conservation
California Climate Investments
The Regional Forest and Fire Capacity program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. For more information, visit California Climate Investments.