DAVIS, Calif., Jan. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California has launched an initiative to assist private forestland owners address tree mortality and other drought-related damage to improve forest health. Removing dead tree debris and other dry woody material will also help reduce the spread of invasive pests and reduce the threat of wildfire.
"California's ongoing drought has increased dry conditions and the potential for devastating wildfires and significant forest insect tree mortality," said Carlos Suarez, NRCS California state conservationist. "Protecting and enhancing these forestlands is critical for California's healthy and sustainable landscape."
Landowners of non-industrial private conifer forestlands in Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties are eligible to apply for assistance. Funding is being made available through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Approved conservation practices include treating or removing woody residue from dead or dying trees, forest stand improvement, and tree plantings.
The immediate consequence of tree mortality on California forestlands increases the potential for wildfires, further spread of forest insect tree damage, threats to critical public safety infrastructure from falling trees, reduced forest carbon stocks, loss of commercial timber values to landowners, and diminished wildlife habitat.
Eligible landowners are encouraged to contact their local county NRCS service center for more information and to apply:
Fresno County - (559) 276-7494
Kern County - (661) 336-0967
Madera County - (559) 674-4628
Mariposa County - (209) 966-3431
Tulare County - (559) 734-8732
Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties - (209) 223-6535
Since its inception in 1935, NRCS has worked in partnership with private landowners and a variety of local, state and federal conservation partners to deliver conservation based on specific, local needs.
SOURCE USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service