What is the North Bay Forest Improvement Program?

The North Bay Forest Improvement Program (NBFIP) is an innovative incentives program funded through CAL FIRE’s Proposition 68 Wildfire Resilience and Forestry Assistance Grant. Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) in Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa Counties have partnered with Rebuild North Bay Foundation and the Clear Lake Environmental Research Center (CLERC) to form the North Bay Forest Improvement Program (NBFIP) to help private non-industrial small forest landowners (between 5 and 500 acres) implement non-commercial forest improvement activities such as thinning, planting, pruning, and fuel hazard reduction. In 2020, North Bay Forest Improvement Program was awarded $1.5 million from a CAL FIRE Wildfire Resilience and Forestry Assistance grant, which will provide three years of funding to develop and manage an incentives program to mitigate wildfire risk and improve forest health in this highly fire-prone region.

In total, the partnership will support forest stewardship activities across at least 40 projects in the four counties. At least 20 percent of the program dollars will benefit disadvantaged communities identified in the 2010 census as earning median incomes less than 80% of the state median. Possible treatments include planting site preparation, tree planting and protection, forest thinning, pruning, and woody fuels reduction. Forest management plans should be in place and environmental impacts review completed in order to participate. If you are in need of a plan, contact your local RCD. Projects will occur on forestland consisting of oak woodland, redwood forests, mixed evergreen and ponderosa pine.

“We view it as a pilot project, and we’re excited to build and refine a regional strategy for identifying and funding forest health and fire resiliency projects in partnership with CAL FIRE,” said  Lucas Patzek, project steering committee member and Napa County RCD District Manager.

The North Bay Forest Improvement Program is an incentives program, similar to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the California Forest Improvements Program, providing public funds to support private investment in forest health and resilience projects; reducing vegetative fuel loads and risks of wildfire, insect infestation, and disease epidemics on private properties in the North Bay’s diverse and valuable forestlands.