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Grant will help Siskiyou County develop climate resiliency plan

United States Forest Service
The Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou county

A Siskiyou County partnership has received a $1.5 million state grant to develop a countywide climate mitigation plan.

The grant comes from the California Strategic Growth Council, an inter-agency board investing in social programs, including climate adaptation. This month, the council approved grant funding to the Siskiyou Climate Collaborative Program, a partnership working on getting more climate funding for the region.

“Siskiyou County is a vulnerable population for several extreme climate events that are challenges to us, and our workforce and our outdoor recreation economy," said Kory Hayden with the Siskiyou Economic Development Council, who helped develop the partnership.

Wildfires burned over 80,000 acres in the county in 2022.

Hayden said the organizations involved want to focus on climate resiliency, but haven't previously had the time or funding to do so. The grant will enable them to catch up on that work. She said each partner is uniquely qualified to help with the development of the plan.

“The state is really prioritizing this work," Hayden said. "But a county like ours might not be ready to grab some of that funding that’s available because we don’t have a broad climate mitigation plan yet.”

With a plan in place, Hayden said local organizations will be able to apply for additional state and federal funding for projects including drought mitigation, job training and wildfire prevention.

She added they’ll also be able to help local cities develop their own community-specific climate plans.

Over the next year, Hayden said their collaborative will gather public input and begin writing the plan, with the hopes of finalizing it by the end of 2024.

The Siskiyou Climate Collaborative is comprised of the Siskiyou Economic Development Council, the Shasta Valley Resource Conservation District, the UC Agriculture & Natural Resources Cooperative extension program, the Siskiyou County SMART Workforce Center, the Siskiyou Outdoor Recreation Alliance and Nathan Johnson, a business consultant in the county.

Roman Battaglia is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the JPR newsroom.