Tree Mortality: 29 Million and Counting
CSAC Video Documents Massive Tree Die-Off in Sierra
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2016
Contact: Gregg Fishman, Communications Coordinator
916-327-7500, ext. 516
SACRAMENTO – California’s drought and an onslaught of bark beetles have killed more than 29 million trees in our forests, and the infestation and tree deaths are spreading. Tree mortality impacts the entire state because the affected watersheds can no longer filter water or sequester carbon. A wildfire among already-dead trees could be catastrophic on an unprecedented scale.
“If you drink the water and breathe the air in California, this affects you too,” said CSAC President and Amador County Supervisor Richard Forster. “More counties are being added to the list of those most affected, but whether you live in Amador or Alameda, you ought to be worried about the effect this is having on our forests and on our state.”
“The tree mortality we’re experiencing is really unprecedented,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CALFIRE director and state forester. “The California Tree Mortality Task Force has been working together to maximize resources to support the counties impacted.”
Not everybody can experience the loss of these trees firsthand, but CSAC, in cooperation with the Governor’s Tree Mortality Taskforce, has produced a video that shows the local devastation and discusses some of the potential impacts to air and water quality. See the video here.
“We have thousands of tons of dead trees up and down the state,” said Supervisor Forster. “The ones still standing can fall on people, roads and property and they pose an extreme fire risk. All Californians need to know how bad this is locally and how it is affecting the whole state.”
Governor Brown has earmarked $161 million in his latest budget proposal for tree mortality and there is an additional $30 million in disaster assistance grants that could be used for this issue. “Dealing with tree mortality is one of CSAC’s highest priorities,” said Supervisor Forster. “We want the Legislature to know how much these funds are needed.”
The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) serves as the effective advocate and unified voice of California’s 58 counties.