With the purpose of encouraging creativity in partnership models for new sources of funding and financing, the Innovative Finance for National Forest (IFNF) Grant Program recently awarded $84,986 to the County of Humboldt’s Economic Development Division. The grant funding will be used for a research project into the feasibility of a Forest Health Fund, to subsidize forest thinning and biomass removal.
The CalForest WRX Alliance is a diverse group of stakeholders to improve social, economic, and environmental sustainability in Northwestern California including Humboldt County and the Six Rivers National Forest.
With drought conditions throughout the county, the threat of wildfires is a concern across the interior. The project aims to reduce severe wildfire risks from small diameter timber on public and private lands by unlocking opportunities to generate a positive revenue flow from forest resources that are currently low value. It seeks to use these products to meet demand in the manufacturing industry, particularly around affordable and low-income housing projects.
“The Cal Forest WRX Alliance is a great start of many parties coming together to work for the benefit of our whole community as well as for the health of our forests,” said 5th District Supervisor Steve Madrone. “Opportunity abounds and as we work together to find those places of agreement, then great things will happen.”
As part of the research funded by this grant, the project seeks to model landscape and market conditions such that the FHF capitalization needs, and fund structure are developed to meet the CalForest WRX Alliance goals for community and landscape wildfire resilience.
“Our agency is enthused to partner with the CalForest WRX Alliance on this important initiative,” said Scott Adair, Director of Economic Development for the County of Humboldt. “The industry which exists around maintaining healthy forest is critical to our economy and a part of the county Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).”