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NEVADA CITY Calif. November 14, 2016 – An informational meeting was held at the Rood Center in the Board of Supervisor’s Room concerning the health and care of trees and forests as pertinent to land owners in Nevada County. This meeting was organized by the Friends of Banner Mountain Association with the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County. At least 66 million trees have died in California since 2010, more than a third within the past year, according to recent estimates by the U.S. Forest Service.

Presenters included JoAnn Fites-Kauffman – Fire Scientist with the USDA Forest Service Regional Office; Dario Davidson, a Registered Professional Forester; and Pamela Hertzler, District Conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

JoAnn Fites-Kauffman offered perspectives on forest, tree and ground debris management from the point of view of fire protection. A key point made was the importance of avoiding ground material that can produce embers and ignite, spread or re-ignite existing fires.

Dario Davidson gave a brief overview on how to recognize tree health and forest health, along with management options, depending on individual property plans and goals. Questions included details on recognizing bark beetle infestation and the benefits of early removal of infested trees.

Pamela Hertzler, Nevada County’s District Conservationist with the NRCS, introduced several plans that are designed to assist property owners with forestry issues, including removal of trees infested with bark beetles. $4 million dollars has been allocated statewide for use by 18 counties in assisting landowners with bark beetle tree mortality.

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One of the questions itemized the nature of the problem by doing a bit of rough math: with 18 counties dividing $4 million, this amounts to $220,000 per county. This number can be doubled, as a 50% matching fund rebate is designated in the grant guidelines. Divided grant funds plus matching consideration totals $440,000. At $1000 per tree for removal, this accounts for only 440 trees—a very small fraction of what is needed. (State estimates 66 million trees are dead or dying, with 26 million in the Sierra dying since October 2015). Ms. Hertzler indicated that more funding may be dedicated, in part as a result of public demand.

Readers interested in assistance with tree removal and forestry issues are encouraged to contact Pamela Hertzler, District Conservationist by phone or email 530-272-3417 xt 3, pam.hertzler@ca.usda.gov.

Nevada County Resource Conservation District is holding a workshop on Tree Mortality and Bark Beetles on Friday, November 18, 2016 from 9am to 12pm. Register online at

http://www.ncrcd.org/index.php/contact-us/seminar-registration/

A future meeting to address fire insurance impacts for homeowners is planned. Watch for news at bannermountain.org or www.areyoufiresafe.com.