Climate Action and Resiliency

Make Sonoma County carbon neutral by 2030.

Goal 1, Objective 2

Expand outreach and education on vegetation management and provide additional resources to land owners to help mitigate fire risk.
On Track 75%

Updated: January 2024

Summary of objective implementation status (achievements or progress over last year; significant delays or issues, etc.)

Expanding outreach and education on vegetation management and providing additional resources to landowners to help mitigate fire risk is on-going. Many of the key milestones are completed or in process as anticipated in the implementation plan. Collectively, we have provided more than 60 public training and capacity building events and the PG&E Settlement funded Vegetation Management Grant Program has provided 65 vegetation management grants, totaling $11.5 million. The various agencies and organizations are now working collaboratively on vegetation management efforts throughout the county. We have a collective awareness of efforts throughout the county and have prepared recommendations for the Board to consider regarding outreach and education and additional resources for landowners into the future.

Key milestone update (include relevant metrics, if applicable)

  • Convene all agencies and departments with vegetation management efforts planned or in process by end of 2021 – COMPLETED
  • Create a vegetation management technical advisory committee by the end of 2021 – COMPLETED and meeting on a regular basis
  • Host PG&E settlement funding vegetation management grant workshops end of 2021 and beginning of 2022 and continued into 2023 in preparation of grant application period. – COMPLETED
  • Document and describe all vegetation management efforts by early 2022 – presented to Board in January 2023– COMPLETED
  • Develop a strategy to communicate vegetation management efforts with the community by early 2022 – to be completed in early in 2024– IN PROCESS
  • Provide a multi-agency/department comprehensive vegetation management update to the board by May 2022 – COMPLETE
  • Create vegetation management outreach materials, including a website by the end of 2022. Community Wildfire Prevention Plan webhub serves this purpose along with grant-funded Resilient Landscapes Coalition website being developed in 2023 to be completed by March 2024 – IN PROCESS
  • Work with partners and the technical advisory committee to identify the best approach to using the remainder of the PG&E settlement funds to create a long-term vegetation management program by end of 2022. Recommendations were presented to the Board in January 2023 and progress report will be presented in October 2024– COMPLETED
  • Work with partners and the technical advisory committee to identify best management practices for vegetation management that is focused on healthy ecological function and wildfire resilience to share with the community. The grant-funded Sonoma County Vegetation Management Handbook is nearing completion in early 2024. – IN PROCESS
  • Update communications strategy, website, and outreach materials as needed. Consultant will be contracted in January 2024 to support the CAO in the strategy and community outreach and collaboration between County departments and agencies engaged in wildfire resilience – ON-GOING

Coordination and partnership update

The Vegetation Management Technical Advisory Committee, which includes Ag + Open Space, Permit Sonoma, Regional Parks, Climate Action and Resilience Division, Sonoma Water, UCCE, fire agencies, State Parks, Sonoma and Gold Ridge Resource Conservation Districts, Sonoma Ecology Center, Pepperwood Foundation, Fire Forward, WRA and Fire Safe Sonoma, meets regularly to advance coordinated vegetation management efforts and share experiences and approaches. Future coordination will lean on the formation of the Built Environment, Community, and Infrastructure technical advisory committee to focus on defensible space and community specific protection from wildfires.

Permit Sonoma’s Updates:

  • Permit Sonoma is developing and implementing outreach, education, and funding programs outlined in Wildfire Adapted Sonoma County and Hazardous Fuels Management for Sonoma County, FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grants and the Wildfire Resilient Sonoma County (BRIC) FEMA grant.
  • These grants will fund multiple term positions including a full-time media specialist position, a GIS specialist to produce story maps, several project managers, and other subject matter specialists.
  • As of November 2022, PRMD has hired a grant administrator, senior environmental specialist, marketing specialist and GIS specialist.
  • PRMD provides environmental review support to the vegetation management grant program by providing CEQA/NEPA/Permitting and project scoping services, including preparation of CalFire Vegetation Treatment Program documentation.

Ag + Open Space’s Update:

  • The Living with Fire: Sonoma County Forest Conservation Conference in June 2023 was funded by PG&E settlement funds and attracted 120 participants to learn about fuel treatments, grant opportunities, tools and equipment, fire and forest ecology.
  • The Resilient Forests and Watersheds workshop series was launched in the Fall of 2023 to provide localized workshops for landowners and resource managers on wildfire resilience, watershed protection, forest management, and resource protection. Funded by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant and PG&E settlement funds, these workshops will be hosted once a month for the next 1.5 years around the County.
  • The grant-funded Sonoma County Vegetation Management Handbook has convened many local subject matter experts in multiple meetings to ensure a high-quality resource will be available to land managers, communities and the general public by February or March 2024.

Community, equity and climate update

The purpose of this objective is to enhance our ability to communicate with the public about local vegetation management efforts. Therefore, the actions that have been conducted to date seek to engage all members of our community, we strive to incorporate approaches that reach all members of our diverse community. For example, workshops have been offered to all members of the community with Spanish translation services. Our vegetation management outreach and education efforts have helped to better inform the community about vegetation management practices that are beneficial to climate resilience as well as natural systems and fire resilience.

The Organizational Structure and Long-Term Funding technical advisory committee will be developed in collaboration with a consultant starting in January 2024. This consultant will be using County’s Racial Equity Toolkit as it assists in the development the County outreach strategy in vegetation management and wildfire resilience.

Funding narrative (If this objective received Strategic Plan funding in year 1 or year 2, please provide a status of expenditures to date.)

Current funding needs are met by the PG&E settlement funds, FEMA Hazard Mitigation grants, BRIC grant, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant. The Board has approved the formation of the Organizational Structure and Long-Term Funding technical advisory committee to address future, on-going funding needs. A consultant will be used to help the CAO to assess the best funding mechanisms and departmental strategies to address this long-term goal of a healthier, wildfire resilient landscape.