November 22, 2016 – The Little Hoover Commission, a bipartisan citizen-driven state government oversight body, announced plans Tuesday to conduct public hearings during 2017 on forest management and California tree die-offs that have reached 102 million and are expected to climb. The review will assess efforts by state agencies to manage the problem and coordinate with federal partners and public, private and nonprofit organizations.
A first hearing is scheduled for Thursday, January 26, 2017, in Sacramento in the State Capitol. Subsequent hearings and public meetings will follow, announced Commission Chair Pedro Nava.
“California’s forests are in mortal danger,” said Chairman Nava. “Stands of dead and dying trees are becoming postcard views in Yosemite Valley and throughout entire mountainsides in the Sierra Nevada. It is imperative that state government agencies and their partners effectively manage this damage and prevent further destruction that will rob wildlife and future generations of Californians of their magnificent forest heritage.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in November 2016 that approximately 62 million trees have died statewide on federal, state and private lands this year, up 114 percent from the 29 million that died in 2015. The tally brings to 102 million the number of trees that have died in California forests during years of drought and bark beetle infestations since 2010.