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Press Release: Volcan Mountain Foundation Awarded $1.55M for Forest Restoration


Nov. 17, 2023


Volcan Mountain Foundation awarded $1.55M for forest restoration

A state agency has approved a $1.55 million grant for Volcan Mountain Foundation to restore portions of the nearly 1,100 acres it owns and manages near Julian.

The Wildlife Conservation Board Nov. 15 approved funding for the foundation’s Volcan Mountain Montane Forest Habitat Resilience Project.

“We’re entering a new, important phase in our responsibility to steward the land we hold in trust,” said Volcan Mountain Foundation President and Executive Director Eric Jones. “Over the next few years, we’ll be applying science-based approaches to restore forest health and prepare it to withstand the next wildfire.”

Restoration plans target montane forests on the slopes of Volcan Mountain, where chaparral and oak ecosystems give way to high-value groves of mature conifers at the upper elevations.

Adjoining some stands of conifers, 37 acres are scheduled for reforestation with native conifer seedlings.

Within selected groves of conifers and hardwoods, plans call for manual and mechanical tree thinning, brush removal, and livestock grazing to prepare for reforestation.

To reduce fuel loads, the grant funds will pay to remove about 200 trees killed by the gold-spotted oak borer.

Volcan Mountain Foundation’s acreage is connected to nearly 41,000 acres in various levels of conservation status. In addition to conservation, the restoration project is designed to inform and educate.

“What we learn we will teach,” Jones said. “Working with neighboring, habitat-connected landowners, we will demonstrate best practices for the broader landscape and share these lessons with the next generation of nature stewards through our outdoor education programs.”

A management plan estimates the project will run for three years, with a 25-year monitoring phase, and pay great dividends to wildlife that calls the mountain home.

Montane forests provide critical habitat for range-restricted species such as the California spotted owl, purple martin and Townsend’s big-eared bats.

“This grant will enable the foundation and its partners to enhance the montane forest’s fire resilience and ensure that climate-restricted, forest-dependent wildlife species continue to have a refuge from climate change and devastating wildfires,” said Jonathan Appelbaum, resource ecologist and Volcan Mountain Foundation Board Member.

Partners in the project include the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County, Climate Science Alliance, Southern California Interagency Fire and Fuels Cadre, Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel Fire Department and Black Fox Timber.

“Our shared vision is a richly-forested mountain that provides varied habitat for abundant and diverse wildlife,” Jones said, “and has the structure to support a changing climate and naturally occurring fire regimes.”

For more information, visit www.volcanmt.org.

Contact: Eric Jones, Volcan Mountain Foundation, 760 765-2300 or eric@volcanmt.org