The State Coastal Conservancy earlier this summer approved $758,000 to fund a San Benito Wildfire Regional Prioritization Plan, says a press release from the University of California Cooperative Extension.
Widespread collaboration across the county, as well as in neighboring counties, will result in a plan to manage the ecological balance of fire while reducing risks for people.
“This grant will not only make residents of San Benito safer in the long run, but also protect valuable natural resources, such as the Pajaro River and San Benito River Watersheds,” said project lead Barb Satink Wolfson, UC Cooperative Extension fire advisor for San Benito, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.
An update of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan is included in the scope of the project. Several “ready to go” on-the-ground projects—such as wildfire hazard reduction treatments and prescribed fire—will result from this planning process. To encourage community input, the project calls for five public meetings to be held with county residents.
The RPP grant includes:
• Funds for the San Benito Resource Conservation District (SBRCD) to hire a staff member to assist with the RPP and expand their capacity to help the community address fire-related issues.
• Funds for the San Benito Agricultural Land Trust (SBALT) to hire a new staff member to assist with the RPP and expand their capacity to address fire-related issues within conservation easements and properties.
• Funds for the Amah Mutsun Land Trust to assist with identifying areas of cultural significance.
• Travel funds for San Benito Fire Safe Council members, SBRCD and/or SBALT staff to attend the annual Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Conference in Reno, Nev., in March 2024.
• Funds for up to 40 stipends to offset the costs of attending meetings and/or workshops for those with working lands so they can contribute to the RPP.
• Funds for up to 100 travel reimbursements to help offset community members’ travel costs to attend meetings and/or workshops so they can contribute to the RPP.
• Funds to develop priority projects, including environmental review.
• Funds for Spanish translation.