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Los Gatos Creek Watershed Collaborative Forest Health Grant


From Seth Schalet, Santa Clara County FireSafe Council CEO

2023 has been a busy one thus far for the Los Gatos Creek Watershed Collaborative (A.K.A. The Forest Health Grant) and all collaborators, Midpeninsula Open Space District, Santa Clara County Parks, San Jose Water and the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council. Much of the planning work has continued and in November we started on the ground activities with our contractors. We were able to complete about 50 acres of work—then came the atmospheric river, then the next atmospheric river and so on through the month of January. The rain caused several wash-out areas and as the rain stopped, the sun came out, we started with safety inspections looking for downed trees, debris flow and other conditions to ensure we can begin ground activities again safely.

As of February, we are back to our onsite work. I want to thank the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council team, especially Stephen Harrington and our lead project consultant, Dave Manson, for their hard work and focus. As of this writing, we are pleased to announce we will be submitting an application for a new round of Forest Health Grant Funding. This collaboration includes a combination of existing Forest Health Grant partners and new partners brought on to create a targeted and impactful application. This new round of funding has an application due date of February 28th and when we do our next newsletter update, we will share more about this application with you. Good things continue and more will be revealed. Thank you to all our stakeholders and partners—especially CAL FIRE.

Status Update

With soils and vegetation drying out significantly after the January deluge, crews are busy working in the forest again in Bear Creek Redwoods Preserve. So far this month, about 47.4 acres have been treated. Crews are working efficiently and safely.

Next on our list is San Jose Water Company (SJW) property. We plan to begin operations there at the beginning of March. We are conducting pre-operational meetings, organizing our consultants and staff, and contacting residents in the vicinity.

Before & After Pics

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The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council (SCCFSC), CAL FIRE, San Jose Water Company (SJW), Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) and Santa Clara County Parks (SCCP) have formed a collaborative partnership known as the Los Gatos Watershed Collaborative to implement forest health treatments on approximately 938 acres strategically located throughout the Los Gatos Creek Watershed in the Santa Cruz Mountains. These treatments will thin underbrush and remove dead and dying trees to improve forest health and fire resilience.

The Los Gatos Creek Watershed Collaborative Forest Health Grant is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

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