Tuesday, 18 June 2024


The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Cal Fire Wood Products and Bioenergy Grants Program is announcing $15 million has been awarded for 16 projects across the state.

These projects will fund expansion in workforce development and businesses involved in creating healthy, resilient forests across the state as outlined in California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan.

The 16 grant awards support private businesses, nonprofits, schools and tribes.

“Cal Fire’s Business and Workforce Development Grants Program is proud to support businesses and projects that are doing the vital work of maintaining and enhancing the wood products infrastructure of California to support healthy resilient forests,” said Cal Fire Assistant Deputy Director for Climate and Energy, Alan Talhelm. “Projects that receive support from these grants not only support forest health and wildfire resilience, but they also support the people and ecosystems that depend on California’s forestlands.”

The awardees address a wide variety of projects. Two grants will subsidize transporting lowvalue forest biomass. These projects are essential for the transportation of material out of high wildfire hazard zones, which would otherwise be cost prohibitive.

Five workforce development grants will provide new job training opportunities. One example being the Quartz Valley Indian Reservation in Siskiyou County, which will offer fire and fuels training to 100 people over the next three years, increasing local capacity for fuels management.

A total of four grants will be offered to small forest operations businesses. Grant funding was also offered to projects that further reforestation efforts in California as well as projects that will help build a new forest bioenergy production facility.

“Cal Fire’s Workforce Development Grant gives my team the opportunity to help California,” said current grantee Taylor Parker of the Sierra Nevada Alliance. “Because of this funding, we are able to fill some crucial forestry gaps, increasing the quality of life for habitats and people in this process.”

With these grant offers, the Wood Products and Bioenergy Team at Cal Fire has now awarded $103 million to 89 business and workforce projects that align with the state’s climate mitigation and economic development goals.

Cal Fire’s Business and Workforce Development grant awards are funded with State of California General Funds. The solicitation will soon open for new grant applications. Please visit Cal Fire’s Wood Products and Bioenergy webpage for details.

Route 162 in Covelo at the decorative median island. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

COVELO, Calif. – Caltrans hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate the completion of a $1.5 million Clean California project to beautify downtown Covelo and improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and bikers.

The project was made possible through Gov. Gavin Newsom's Clean California initiative, a sweeping $1.2 billion, multiyear clean-up effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs, and engage communities to transform public areas into spaces of pride for all Californians.

The upgrades improved a nearly one mile stretch of Commercial Street (State Road 162) that serves as the main street through Covelo.

This included adding traffic-calming features from west of the Town Creek Bridge to east of East Lane, such as a decorative median island and speed table humps to reduce traffic speeds.

The Mendocino County town is located adjacent to the Round Valley Indian Reservation. The project added crosswalks and solar lighting with changeable banners featuring a Yuki Basket design selected by local tribes.

The tribal pattern represents the history and culture of the area and is designed to help reduce litter and discourage graffiti by adding value and a sense of community representation.

Ribbon cutting of the Covelo Clean California project Mendocino County District 3 Supervisor John Haschak and Covelo residents Kay Richards and Lew Chichester. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

“These investments will benefit the entire community in and around Covelo by creating a safer, more reliable transportation system,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “Pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists will all benefit from this project, as we continue to improve and rebuild our infrastructure.”

To create improvements that would best reflect community needs, Caltrans partnered with the Round Valley Tribes, residents, businesses and the Mendocino Council of Governments, or MCOG. After receiving feedback and planning for the project, construction took one year to complete.

“With the ongoing efforts to beautify and increase safety, we look forward to continuing to work with the community of Covelo to fine-tune these traffic calming measures that address the safety concerns for drivers and non-motorized users, said Caltrans District 1 Director Matthew Brady. “We are proud to make an investment into downtown Covelo and bring this Clean California project with pilot features to the community.”

The project is one of about 320 Clean California projects beautifying communities throughout the state.

Since launching Clean California in July 2021, Caltrans has removed an estimated 2 million cubic yards of litter from state highways – or enough to fill 634 Olympic-size swimming pools. The program has created nearly 8,700 jobs that have helped Californians overcome barriers to employment and drawn more than 10,000 volunteers to events ranging from community cleanups to large debris collections for appliances, tires, and mattresses.

For more information, visit https://cleancalifornia.dot.ca.gov/.

Solar lighting with changeable banners featuring a Yuki basket design selected by local tribes. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

A female wolf in the woods. Photo courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The wolf pack discovered this summer in Tulare County will now be called the Yowlumni Pack.

The pack was found in the Sequoia National Forest in proximity to the Tule River Tribe of California’s reservation and ancestral lands.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, or CDFW, is honored to partner with the tribe on formally naming the pack.

The tribe shared that the name Yowlumni comes from the Yowlumni band of the Tule River Yokuts.

“This was described by my mother, Agnes Vera, who was born on the Tule River Indian Reservation in 1926,” said Vernon Vera, a Tule River tribal elder. “She was the last fluent speaker of Yowlumni until her passing in 2010. She taught that the Yowlumni were speakers of the ‘Wolf Tongue.’”

CDFW is thankful for the tribe’s assistance in naming the Yowlumni Pack and connecting the cultural significance of the pack in the region to its name.

After months of collecting DNA samples for analysis and attempting to collar one or more wolves in the Yowlumni Pack, CDFW was successful in capturing and collaring an adult female wolf on Dec. 5. She is approximately 7 to 8 years old and 85 pounds.

CDFW staff will monitor her movements to glean information about the pack including determination of its home range, use of habitat, potential for livestock conflict and other data.

Based on the results of the DNA analyses and subsequent observations, CDFW learned that the pack consists of a breeding pair and six pups. CDFW previously reported there were four.

Information about California’s wolves, including current information about existing packs, wolf biology, conflicts with livestock and CDFW’s wolf management plan can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Gray-Wolf.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said it has identified human remains found earlier this month as belonging to a Piercy man whose disappearance had resulted in a search effort involving agencies around the region.

On Tuesday, the agency’s Coroner's Division reported they had identified the deceased body after recent dental comparisons were conducted by a forensic odontologist.

Dental comparisons confirmed the deceased person found during the Dec. 10 search efforts as being Scott William Graves, 63.

Graves’ family had reported him missing on Dec. 7 after last hearing from him on Dec. 4. At that time, he had tried to leave his property in the 73000 block of Island Mountain Road but it was too wet and the roads were unsafe for travel. He told family members he would try again the following day.

Search efforts began on Dec. 7 and continued until the remains were found three days later. Agencies from around the North Coast, including the Lake County Sheriff’s Office’s Search and Rescue team, assisted with the search.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Coroner's Division and sheriff's detectives are continuing investigations in an attempt to determine the manner, cause and circumstances of Graves' death.

Anyone who might have information that could assist sheriff's detectives in this investigation are urged to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100 or the WeTip Anonymous Crime Reporting Hotline by calling 800-782-7463.

Last Chance Grade. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — In a major milestone toward a permanent solution at Last Chance Grade, Caltrans has announced the release of an essential environmental document that could lead to the construction of a long-anticipated project for U.S. 101 in Del Norte County.

This coastal stretch of highway south of Crescent City is historically prone to landslide activity and indefinite maintenance costs.

As an essential artery that connects Del Norte County with its neighbors, closures of U.S. 101 at Last Chance Grade are devastating. This is why Caltrans and its stakeholders have been working hard — and working fast given the project’s magnitude — on a permanent solution for the area.

In a move that keeps this important project on budget and schedule, Caltrans is pleased to share the Last Chance Grade Permanent Restoration Project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) including a Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation — the aforementioned essential environmental document.

“This document analyzes two proposed alternatives,” said Caltrans District 1 Director Matt Brady. “One involves a bypass inland with a tunnel and the other would re-engineer the existing alignment. Circulating this information gives the public a chance to review and comment on the project description and the assessment of the environmental impacts of these alternatives. With added strength from partnerships and stakeholder coordination, these documents are based on years of new engineering and scientific studies.”

“This document represents the diligent work of Caltrans and the wider community of tribes, conservation groups, agencies, local governments, and business leaders,” said U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman. “Starting back in 2014, I convened the Last Chance Grade Stakeholder Group to make sure the public had a significant role in advancing the project. Since then, Caltrans has embraced that role and expanded its efforts to make this project one of its most collaborative ever. No solution to Last Chance Grade is perfect, and I encourage people to read and comment on the draft proposal and make sure your voices are heard.”

“The Last Chance Grade project is massive and everyone who has spent their time and effort on this project is deeply appreciated,” said California Assemblymember Jim Wood. “People who live in this beautiful area have lived with road failure and ongoing problems for decades and the public’s patience is much appreciated by me. I know that Caltrans has long-term and consistent safety as its top priority in making this a safer transportation corridor for the communities.”

“Highway 101 is the lifeblood of Del Norte County and the North Coast," said California Senator Mike McGuire. "The community desperately needs and deserves a permanent fix to Last Chance Grade. In response, the state secured $50 million to move this environmental study forward. Today, we've reached a huge milestone with the release of Caltrans' Draft Environmental Document, which represents six years of collaboration among a broad coalition of local and tribal governments and community organizations. While this is a day to celebrate, we know there's a ton of hard work ahead and we won’t quit until every last penny is secured to build an inland alternative to the Last Chance Grade.“

This document is available for review at lastchancegrade.com and at the Caltrans District 1 Office at 1656 Union Street in Eureka on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as at the Del Norte County Library at 190 Price Mall in Crescent City. Comments on this document are being accepted by mail or email until 5 p.m. on February 13.

The public is also invited to attend a virtual public open house regarding this subject on Wednesday, January 24, 2024, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Please continue to check lastchancegrade.com for the posting of the meeting link.

After receiving public comments, Caltrans is scheduled to coordinate with stakeholder working groups to help select a preferred alternative in the spring of 2024. If all goes according to plan Caltrans could begin construction as early as 2030.

The California Transportation Commission on Thursday awarded more than $300 million to 15 projects across California that will make the state’s transportation system more resilient to the impacts of climate change while also encouraging more walking and biking and enhancing public health.

The investments made by the commission total $309.2 million and will help fund projects with a total cost of more than $1.1 billion in climate-vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

Projects funded through the program will make surface transportation infrastructure more resilient to sea level rise, flooding, extreme weather events and other natural hazards exacerbated by the changing climate.

“Communities across California are experiencing the impacts of climate change,” said Commission Chair Lee Ann Eager. “The extreme storms, flooding, and devastating wildfires we see year after year have become the norm, and we must invest in our transportation infrastructure today to avoid costly repairs and preserve access and mobility options for Californians in the future.”

“The initial investments we are making today represent a critical first step in ensuring California’s transportation system can withstand the impacts of climate change,” said Commission Vice Chair Carl Guardino. “We look forward to working with Governor Newsom and the Legislature to ensure sufficient funding is available to keep our entire transportation system functional and safe for future generations.”

The adopted program includes the following projects:

Addressing Climate Change, Emergencies, and Sandstorms (ACCESS) Project (Coachella Valley Association of Governments)

This $75 million project will construct two all-weather bridges on Indian Canyon Road, which is often impacted by severe flooding and blown sand. These improvements will increase the resiliency of local disadvantaged communities by increasing their access to key destinations that are critical to their livelihood and well-being. The project also includes improvements to make walking and bicycling safer along the route.

Roe Road Phase 2 Project (Town of Paradise)

This $66 million project will provide alternative access to State Route 191 / Clark Road so residents have a second route for emergency evacuations in the event of a natural disaster. The project serves the climate-vulnerable communities south of Pearson Road which experienced the highest concentration of fatalities from the 2018 Camp Fire.

Coastal Rail Infrastructure Resiliency Project (Orange County Transportation Agency)

This $15 million project will help develop solutions to ongoing climate-related service suspensions along seven miles of the LOSSAN Rail Corridor between the cities of San Clemente and Dana Point.

The full list of approved projects can be found on the Commission’s website at this link.

The Local Transportation Climate Adaptation Program provides $400.5 million over five years, with $148 million in state funding from Gov. Newsom’s 2022-23 Clean Transportation Infrastructure Package and $252.5 million from the federal Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula Program established in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Remaining funds will be awarded by the Commission in a future funding cycle.

For more information, visit the commission’s website.

Upcoming Calendar

06.19.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
06.22.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.22.2024 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Love of the Land Dinner
06.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
06.29.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.02.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
Independence Day

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