Forest Service Closes all Region 5 Forests, Grazing Permittees Exempted
Earlier today, Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien of the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5) announced the closure of all National Forests throughout the state of California.
“I have made the difficult decision to temporarily close all R5 National Forests in order to better provide public and firefighter safety due to extreme fire conditions throughout the state, and strained firefighting resources throughout the country,” Eberlien wrote in an email. The closure will be begin tomorrow night at 11:59 p.m. and will last through September 17 at 11:59 p.m. (unless extended).
Region 5 previously announced the closure of eight National Forests in the northern portion of the state in an August 19 order. An order announcing today’s decision had not been posted to the Region 5 Website as of press time.
Shortly after the announcement was made, the Region 5 office reached out to CCA staff to clarify that these closures do not apply to livestock grazing permittees. In an email, Region 5 staff wrote that “We do have exemptions to this closure, primarily [for] those that have specific types of Forest Service permits such as…grazing livestock.” Indeed, prior orders both this year and in the 2020 fire season have exempted “Persons with a Forest Service non-special-use written authorization to conduct nonrecreational activities, such as harvesting timber or forest products, or grazing livestock,” as well as various other classes of permitted Forest users.
If you are a permittee with questions or concerns about the Forest Service’s closures, or if you should have any other wildfire concerns with which CCA staff can assist you, please contact the CCA office at (916) 444-0845.
SWRCB to Host Compliance Webinar on Sacramento-San Joaquin Curtailments
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) will be holding a compliance webinar tomorrow from 9:00am to 4:00pm. The webinar will provide an overview of recent curtailment and reporting orders issued in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed and guidance to water rightsholders that are affected by curtailment orders. Participation information and the agendas can be found on the webinar notice.
The webinar will be broken into two sessions. During the morning session staff will describe the requirements that are applicable to all water rightsholders and claimants in the Delta watershed and describe appropriate compliance actions. In the afternoon session staff will discuss the enhanced reporting of water diversion and use that is required under the order for water rights and claims with an annual diversion amount of 5,000 acre-feet or more.
As a reminder, while rightsholders will be mailed any curtailments issued under the emergency regulation, water rightsholders and claimants in the Delta watershed are highly encouraged to either subscribe to the Delta Drought email distribution list, or frequently check the SWRCB’s drought webpage to receive updated information regarding water diversion curtailment and reporting orders and water unavailability. A list of water rights for which water would be unavailable under the emergency regulation can be found here.
President Biden Approves Major Disaster Declaration for Northern California Wildfires
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for areas of the state impacted by the Dixie Fire and River Fire. The disaster declaration was made in response to a request made by Governor Gavin Newsom the prior day and will make federal funding available to “affected individuals in the counties of Lassen, Nevada, Placer, and Plumas,” according to a White House statement.
The major disaster declaration makes federal funding available on a cost-sharing basis to the State, local governments in the four covered counties and nonprofit organizations in order to fund “emergency protective measures.” The declaration also opens up federal funds on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures throughout the state.
For individuals and business owners harmed by the Dixie and River fires, the declaration establishes those individuals’ eligibility for “grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help…recover from the effects of the disaster.” Some of those programs, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, were detailed by CCA Vice President of Government Affairs Kirk Wilbur in a November virtual workshop available here. An article about these programs was also included in the December 2020 edition of California Cattleman.
Residents and business owners in Lassen, Nevada, Placer and Plumas counties who have sustained losses from the Dixie or River fires may apply for assistance online here or by calling 1-800-621-3362 any day of the week between 7:00am and 10:00pm.
While the presidential major disaster declaration currently only covers areas impacted by the Dixie and River fires, it will likely be expanded soon to cover other areas of the state impacted by this year’s wildfires. According to a press release from Governor Newsom’s office, “Other fires, including the Caldor Fire, may be included once fire conditions allow state, local and federal officials to safely assess the scope of damage.”
USDA Announces Oct. 12 Deadline for CFAP 2
On Tuesday, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that October 12 is the deadline by which all eligible agricultural producers must apply for or modify their applications under Round 2 of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (“CFAP 2”).
As previously reported in Legislative Bulletin, FSA reopened applications under CFAP beginning April 5. CFAP 2 provides payments of $55 per head for a producer’s highest inventory of eligible livestock owned between April 16 and August 31, 2020. Cull cattle and breeding stock are ineligible for the per-head payment. More information on CFAP 2 can be found here.
Public Lands Council Annual Meeting Rescheduled, Goes Virtual
On Thursday, CCA affiliate the Public Lands Council announced that it is delaying its Annual Meeting until Tuesday, September 28 (the event had previously been scheduled for Sept. 8-10). Additionally, given rising COVID cases resulting in gathering restrictions in Oregon, the meeting – originally planned to be in-person in Seaside, Oregon – will be going virtual for the second consecutive year.
Due to rising COVID cases in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown issued a mandate that went into effect on Friday requiring all individuals – whether vaccinated or unvaccinated – to wear masks while gathering closely, even outdoors. While Oregon has not prohibited or limited in-person gatherings outright, PLC explained in an email that “As a result of meeting restrictions, Public Lands Council leadership and staff have made the difficult decision to postpone and amend plans for the Annual Meeting.”
Registration for the virtual event is only $50. Additional details regarding the event are available here and ranchers may register for the event here. Those who have already registered for the event scheduled for Seaside will have their registrations converted to the virtual format, and PLC is issuing refunds for prior registrants, less the $50 fee for the virtual event.
CCA Launches Producer Podcast
Everyday, The California Cattlemen’s Association is sorting through the issues impacting California’s ranching families and producers. CCA leadership has developed Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast to communicate those issues, discuss solutions and keep ranchers current on hot topics.
Just recently launched, this new tool—in addition to other publications put out by the Association—aims to connect members with the work CCA is doing in Sacramento and beyond. New episodes will be released every other Monday, consisting of a discussion with CCA leadership and leading experts on issues specific to ranching and producing beef in California. Click here to listen to the first episode and to tune into the introductory episode with CCA President Tony Toso if you missed it. In addition to being available on the CCA website you can now stream episodes on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
2021 CCA Scholarship Applications Now Available
Applications for the 2021 CCA Scholarships are being accepted now through October 1. In 2020, CCA awarded over $51,000 in scholarships to students studying agriculture, although scholarship amounts and quantities vary year to year.
Current CCA members (producer, feeder or YCC) that are currently enrolled (or accepted for fall 2021) at a university or college are eligible to apply. Past recipients of the CCA scholarship program may also apply again this year. For a complete list of awards and to download the application visit calcattlemen.org/scholarship. Contact Katie in the CCA office at email@example.com with any questions.