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NRCS on target to finish tree removal project

The Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Watershed Recovery Project Team is on target to obligate $120 million to remove dead, dying and diseased trees, and ladder fuels from private lands in San Bernardino, San Diego, and Riverside counties in US by the end of 2006. Congress allocated the funds to NRCS for the project, which began approximately 18 months ago, to reduce the risk of fire and provide defensible
space for communities. The project is now nearly 50 percent complete.

A complete fuels condition inventory, identifying the number of dead, dying, and diseased trees in the three counties, is being conducted using satellite imagery and GIS. With this detailed information, NRCS foresters will determine future project needs and
evaluate previous projects that require additional treatments. Addressing secondary concerns beyond the immediate protection of life and property, NRCS will consider live ladder fuel removal on a case-by-case basis when advantageous to community protection. The Watershed Recovery Project is funded by NRCS’s Emergency Watershed
Protection Program (EWP). EWP was created by Congress to respond to
emergencies caused by natural disasters. The program is designed to help
people reduce imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fire, drought, earthquakes, windstorms and other natural disasters.