Resource Conservation District Budget Proposal

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Melinda Barrett, Executive Director of the Mariposa County Resource Conservation District (RCD), recently requested $25,000 in additional funding for new projects and programs. Barrett’s proposed $25,000 would assist with several advances in wildlife conservation, water conservation and wildfire prevention.

One way that homeowners in the county could be impacted by the funding is Barrett’s proposed expansion of the “home-hardening project.” She explained that the funds would allow for “onsite technical assistance” for homeowners. She also mentioned the addition of a rebate program for the supplies needed for such projects, which could be a financial incentive.

The RCD’s mission, as Barrett explained, is “to encourage and facilitate cooperative solutions to local resource conservation issues and problems.” Some of the ways that the RCD aids the community is “by providing technical, financial and educational resources to meet the needs of local land users and partners,” said Barrett.

One major project that the RCD is currently nearing completion on is the Bootjack fire station water tank. CAL FIRE was at the board meeting to support Barrett’s proposal, and informed the board about the impact the RCD has made in recent years, and since it was created in 1954.

In the last five years the RCD has collected a total project benefit of $36 million dollars. A total of $18,337,807 of those dollars were obtained through grants, which is the primary function of the organization.

Conservation of wildlife, water conservation and wildfire prevention are all main concerns of the RCD as it has to allocate the funds that it is able to obtain through grants and financial infusions from the county  to the necessary projects.

This can even extend to collaboration with Yosemite National Park where the RCD underwent “operation pick up sticks” to clear downed wood in an area that could be used as fuel during a wildfire. “The first forest health grant that the RCD obtained allowed 9,000 tons of downed wood to be taken to a cogeneration facility to be turned into enough energy to run 386 homes for a year,” stated Barrett.

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