Grants awarded to help with tree mortality

The Lakeshore subdivision at Bass Lake and the North Fork Biomass Disposal Facility have been awarded grants of $97,000 and $99,700, respectively, from the State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Prevention Fund to assist in tree mortality.

The grants are a result of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Emergency Declaration regarding Tree Mortality on Oct. 30, 2015. Many federal, state, and local agencies are identifying and coordinating resources to mitigate tree mortality hazards.

Lakeshore, made up of 46 homes on 12-acres of leased PG&E land, like so many other area in the state, has experienced an unprecedented attack by pine beetles accompanied by extreme drought conditions. Suddenly, the homeowners were faced with more than 200 large Ponderosa trees that were either dead or dying, with the cost of tree removal and clean up far exceeding funds generated by annual dues from homeowners.

The scope of work planned with the funds, as outlined in the grant application, includes removing dead trees, and cleaning-up all resulting slash by a licensed timber contractors. Remaining funds will be used to purchase a lockable equipment shed, a handheld leaf blower, and a log splitter. These items will allow Lake Shore to continue its “firewise” activities in the future without the need to hire workers for tasks the homeowners can accomplish themselves.

“We are strongly motivated to accomplish dead tree removal to stem the onslaught we have been facing,” said Bill Troost, who is chairman of the Forest Management Committee of the Lakeshore Beach Club, and author of the grant application.

Troost, a retired USC professor, said the beetle/drought situation threw the residents of Lake Shore Park down a financial hole.

“All of a sudden, we had so many dead trees our yearly dues surplus could never cover the costs to maintain a healthy forest for Lakeshore Park,” Troost said. “I’ve written a lot of competitive grants - it’s like athletics, you win some, and you lose some. I learned this through intercollegiate rowing in college along with the importance of perseverance. It’s super sweet when you win, and it was a thrill to win this one.”

The Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council was awarded the grant for North Fork.

Those funds will be used to develop the water and security infrastructure needed to build a 10-acre site to store logs at the old mill site in order to help mitigate tree mortality impacts in the Mountain Area.

Both awards are contingent on a number of required documents that must be submitted to the state by March 8.