The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy announced Wednesday that it has received $12 million in the state budget as part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to limit the state’s vulnerability to wildfires.
The new money will be used to reduce the risk of wildfire, strengthen wildfire resilience, increase carbon sequestration, limit the impact of climate change and dedicate more resources to local community infrastructure, according to the conservancy.
“The early action funding package recognizes that fire resilience strategies must be regionally adapted to the unique ecologies and communities around the state,” said Amanda Martin, the designee to the conservancy of the Secretary for Natural Resources. “The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy has been a leader in regional collaborative wildfire strategies and has been an anchor of the statewide Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program. These resources will allow Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to execute the projects identified under this regionally adapted fire-resilience strategy.”
The money is part of California’s $536 million Wildfire Prevention Early Budget Action Funding Plan.
Joseph Edmiston, executive director of the conservancy, praised Newsom for his leadership.
“The governor is executing a plan that will attack this threat with regional tactics,” Edmiston said.
“The conservancy is prepared to put extensive preventative measures and management strategies in place now before the Santa Ana winds begin,” he added. “Shovel-ready, immediate actions include the establishment of a 101 Freeway fire management corridor, removing non-native fuel sources, and planting ember-resistant native oak stands. Fire patrol, arson watch, inspection and coordinated deployment will also be critical.”
The conservancy has a proven track record of building strong partnerships with all levels of government, landowners, nonprofit, and community organizations, according to Chairwoman Irma Munoz.
“We will use these tools to bring the best solutions to our region of the state,” she said.
The conservancy began developing the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Plan last year to evaluate the diverse fire capacities within the region including differences in vegetation type and assess existing forest and biophysical resources.
The conservancy is a long-time and active member of the Santa Monica Mountains Fire Safe Alliance, an umbrella group of government agencies and other affected groups convened by County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to address environmental and community safety problems related to wildfire in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is a state agency established by the Legislature in 1980, and since that time it has helped preserve more than 75,000 acres of parkland in both wilderness and urban settings.