Climate Action and Resiliency

Make Sonoma County carbon neutral by 2030.

Goal 1, Objective 3

Leverage grant funding to support a sustainable vegetation management program.
In-Progress 75%

Updated: January 2024

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

We have successfully obtained previously identified federal and state grants, amounting to a total of over $67 million. Looking ahead to 2024, we plan to further maximize the impact of these grants along with the PG&E settlement funds to bolster sustainable vegetation management initiatives.

Our staff and partners have focused on ensuring coordination in all vegetation management endeavors and enhancing community awareness regarding these crucial efforts. Notably, in January 2023, the Vegetation Management Technical Advisory Committee and Healthy Forests Ad Hoc Committee presented comprehensive recommendations for ongoing vegetation management to the Board of Supervisors.

Among the key recommendations is the establishment of a specialized Organizational Structure and Long-term Funding Technical Advisory Committee. This committee will concentrate on evaluating the county’s capacity to enhance wildfire resilience and community safety. Additionally, it will analyze potential long-term funding opportunities and options.

As we identify funding gaps, our focus will intensify on securing additional grant funding to fortify our sustainable vegetation management program.

Key milestone update (include relevant metrics, if applicable)

  • FEMA Grants obtained (approximate total project budget for all grants = $67 million)
    • Planning grant for multijurisdictional hazard mitigation plan (project completed in Aug 2022)
    • Planning grant for community wildfire protection plan (will be completed Apr 2023)
    • Wildfire adapted Sonoma County Pts 1 and 2 (Phase 1 will be completed by Aug 2023)
    • Sonoma County Hazardous Fuels project (Phase 1 will be completed by Nov 2023)
    • Wildfire Resilient Sonoma County (BRIC) (award expected by Dec 2022; 18 month Phase 1 project period)
  • Vegetation Management Grant Program has invested $11.5 million in 65 grants to communities, organizations, fire districts, tribes, homeowners associations and resource conservation districts. Those grantees matched grant funding with close to $3 million of additional funding such as CALFIRE, State Coastal Conservancy, and in-kind services.
  • Ag + Open Space together with Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District leveraged the PG&E settlement funds to acquire a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grant for $353,000 for capacity building in April 2023. In September 2023, Ag + Open Space and Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District launched the Resilient Forests and Watersheds workshop series with the NFWF funding and PG&E settlement funds to provide local technical assistance to communities throughout the Russian River watershed to improve wildfire resilience and improve forest and watershed health. These workshops will continue through April 2025.
  • Ag + Open Space, Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District and many other partners hosted the Living with Fire: Sonoma County Forest Conservation Conference – a 2 day event in June 2023 that highlighted wildfire resilience, forest health, sustainable resource management, technical assistance and funding opportunities for forest landowners and community organizations.

Coordination and partnership update

The vegetation management technical advisory committee, which includes Ag + Open Space, Permit Sonoma, Regional Parks, Climate Action and Resilience Division, UCCE, CALFIRE, Sonoma Water, Sonoma and Gold Ridge Resource Conservation Districts, Sonoma Ecology Center, Pepperwood Foundation, Fire Forward, WRA, Sonoma Land Trust and Fire Safe Sonoma, meets regularly to advance coordinated vegetation management efforts.

Community, equity and climate update

All future leverage efforts will be pursued to further equitable community needs that help us be more resilient to climate change and wildfire.

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.