Last week, the Natural Resources Conservation Service announced its has financial assistance for private landowners in California affected by wildfires in the last 18 months who want to implement conservation practices.

The funding comes from NRCS’s Catastrophic Fire Recovery Initiative, part of its Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Applications for this initiative can be submitted for primary consideration and ranking through Nov. 15.

This year, NRCS has about $1.5 to $2 million to award for this initiative, said Anita Brown, director of Public Affairs for the NRCS California office in Davis.

Priority concerns include immediate soil erosion protection; minimizing noxious and invasive plant proliferation; protecting water quality, fish and wildlife habitat; and bringing back forests and restoring livestock infrastructure necessary for grazing management.

Local property owners should be aware that these funds have historically been allocated to working landscapes, not the average home owner, Brown advised. While the property does not have to be a ranch or farm, it could also be a non-industrial private forest such as for recreation or other non-timber product. Jae Lee, assistant state conservationist for Field Operations in  the Riverside area office, said last year that most of the projects funded were in Northern California but he hopes to fund some Southern California work this year.

NRCS managed tens of millions of dollars of work on the Hill after the most recent bark beetle infestation. Lee suggested that interested parties call Robert Hewitt in the NRCS San Jacinto office at 951-654-7139.