Recap of The Central Coast Regional Meeting


May 11, 2023

Over 300 people came together in Santa Cruz (with over 200 joining online) for the regional meeting of the California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force focused on the Central Coast region and ongoing efforts to create more resilient communities and landscapes in the face of wildfires and climate change. The meeting brought together a wide range of experts and agency partners for updates and in-depth panel discussions on the State’s progress on wildfire and forest resilience. Hosted by the California State Coastal Conservancy and San Mateo Resource Conservation District, discussions focused on the unique landscapes and land management issues of California’s Central Coast, with updates and panel discussions about real progress being made on the ground, and opportunities to network with partners from around the state.

If you couldn’t make it in person, or missed the real-time webinar, video recordings are available below.


  • Director’s Report: Director Wright provided an update on the status of the 99 key actions outlined in the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan, outlined the Task Force’s mulita-pronged “Roadmap to Resilience,” and highlighted Task Force partners’ achievements on the Central Coast. 
  • The Central Coast Mosaic: A panel of experts discussed the Central Coast’s unique ecosystems, safeguarding communities in the WUI, and indigenous land use practices of tribal communities in the region. The Task Force Interagency Science Team then introduced the new data tools for practitioners available in the Task Force’s Regional Resource Kits.
  • From Local Collaboration to Regional Action: Two panels of regional leaders discussed 1) the value of collaborative efforts for delivering on Central Coast resource priorities and, 2) how project implementors are navigating complex regulatory requirements.
  • Moving Towards A Regional Investment Strategy: A panel of Task Force partners discussed the challenges and opportunities for state-wide funding programs to align programmatically to support locally identified regional priorities.
  • Keynote address by Senator John Laird: Senator Laird (CA-17) is a champion of natural resources and authored SB 456 which codified the CA Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force. Among his accomplishments, Laird served as Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency under Governor Jerry Brown (2011-2019) and two-term mayor of Santa Cruz. In his keynote, Senator Laird reflected on the Central Coast as “ground-zero” in recent times for the effects of climate change.

View Full AgendaCAL-SPAN


• Amy Hutzel, CA Coastal Conservancy

Opening Remarks

• Wade Crowfoot, CNRA

• Jennifer Eberlien, USFS

• Valentin Lopez, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band

• Task Force Executive Committee

Director’s Report

• Patrick Wright

The Central Coast Mosaic

• Moderator: Steven Ostoja, USDA California Climate Hub

• Virginio Matzek, Santa Clara University

• Chris Dicus, Cal Poly SLO

• Peter Nelson, UC Berkeley

• Peter Stine, Climate & Wildfire Institute

From Local Collaboration to Regional Action

• Moderator: Kellyx Nelson, San Mateo RCD

• Anne Crealock, Marin Wildfire Prev. Authority

• Dylan Skybrook, Santa Cruz Stewardship Network

• Devii Rao, UC ANR

• Steve Auten, Auten Resource Consulting

• Madeline Cavalieri, CA Coastal Commission

• Len Nielson, CAL FIRE

• Paul Hann, State Water Board

Moving Towards a Regional Investment Strategy

• Moderator: Lisa Lurie, Santa Cruz RCD

• Valentin Lopez, Amah Mutsun Land Trust

• Brian Newman-Lindsay, DOC

• Robin Bellows, CAL FIRE

• Chris Zimny, NRCS

• Sherry Hazelhurst, USFS

Keynote Presentation

• Senator John Laird, CA 19th District

Closing Remarks

• Task Force Co-Chairs

Central Coast Regional Meeting

Registration for in-person attendance is now closed.

Central Coast Regional Meeting

Join us in person at The Cocoanut Grove on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk or remotely via Zoom. Hosted by the California State Coastal Conservancy and San Mateo Resource Conservation District, discussions will focus on the unique landscapes and land management issues of California’s Central Coast. The meeting will open with a Resource Fair to showcase local organizations at work in the Central Coast region. Field tours will be offered on May 12. We look forward to connecting, committing to action, and collaborating on real solutions to the daunting challenges facing our landscapes and communities.

MAY 11 & 12
The Cocoanut Grove
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
400 Beach Street
Santa Cruz, CA

Event schedule - May 11

8:30-10:00 a.m. Resource Fair

10 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Morning Session

12:15-1:30 p.m. Lunch

1:30-4:30 p.m. Afternoon Session

4:30-6:00 p.m. Reception

Free parking available in the main parking lot. Keep your ticket for validation.

field tours


San Vicente Redwoods: Demonstrating Compatibility of Forest Resiliency and Public Access

Destination: San Vicente Redwoods, a privately held property demonstrating the compatibility of forest resiliency, conservation, sustainable timber harvest, and public access. This unique property is managed by a collective of four land trusts: Peninsula Open Space Trust, Sempervirens Fund, Save the Redwoods League, and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. All of this nearly 9,000-acre site burned in the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire. On this field trip, we’ll see the efficacy of a prescribed burn conducted just months before the 2020 wildfire and we’ll visit a temporary biomass processing site and discuss the opportunities and challenges of processing forest residue onsite. Pending weather and site conditions, we hope to demonstrate the use of air curtain burners, a carbonator, and a pile burn side by side. After the 9 am – 11 am tour, stay for a networking lunch hour (cold drinks and light snacks provided) with attendees of the Together Bay Area Conference Field trip participants are encouraged to also attend the subsequent 12-2 p.m. field trip with Together Bay Area.

Start/End Time: 9am – 11pm (with option to 2pm)

Location:  VIEW MAP > 

Accessibility: Small section that meets outdoor accessibility guidelines, majority of tour along moderate difficulty trails.

Fall Creek Truck Trail Forest Health Project: Ladder Fuels Reduction Promotes Biodiversity and Resilience

Destination: Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell State Park, the focus of a 62-acre CAL FIRE Forest Health project. This primarily second-growth redwood and mixed conifer forest was nearly all burned at low to moderate severity during the 2020 CZU Fire and was used heavily by fire personnel during the event. The Forest Health project includes removal of dense ladder fuels and dead trees with the goal of lowering stand density and promoting greater biodiversity and resilience. This project showcases a great partnership between the RCD of Santa Cruz County, California State Parks and CAL FIRE.

Start/End Time: 2pm – 4:30pm

Location: VIEW MAP >  Meet at Trininty Bible parking lot at the bottom of El Solyo Heights Road in Felton (7301 Hwy 9, Felton, CA 95018)

Accessibility: No ADA access or restrooms. Personal protective equipment may be required.

Quarry Park Fuel Reduction/Community Protection: Community Engagement and Protection in the WUI

Destination: Quarry Park, just north of Half Moon Bay, is a focal point of significant community interest regarding management of fuel loads, particularly eucalyptus, in the Wildland Urban Interface. Learn how San Mateo Resource Conservation District and partners, including county parks and local fire agencies, brought fire science and deep listening to community engagement. We will tour a shaded fuel break project on site while discussing how projects are informed by fire modeling and permit strategies, and how biomass management and winter storm response affect their implementation.

Start/End Time: 10am – 12pm

Location:  VIEW MAP > 

Accessibility: Walking tour. Personal protective equipment may be required. Limited parking, please carpool.

Forest Health Work in the Butano Watershed: Envisioning Forest Health as a Process, Not a Project, in the Pescadero-Butano Watershed

Destination: The State’s first completed California Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP) project, also the first project approved by the California Coastal Commission to use a Public Works Plan as a novel approach to permitting in the Coastal Zone. We will visit two sites in southern San Mateo County impacted by the August 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fires: Butano State Park and Girl Scouts of Northern California’s Camp Butano. Over 2,100 acres will be treated to improve the health and resilience of the forest. Discussion will include recovery from fire, prescribed burns and fuels treatments, and permitting for long-term management.

Start/End Time: 10am – 2pm

Location:  VIEW MAP > 

Accessibility: Two vehicle stops with short walking tour from each.

Big Basin State Park Post-Fire Recovery: Reimagining Big Basin

Destination: The headquarters area of Big Basin State Park. The tour will highlight the recovery efforts that have been made to reopen the park following the CZU Lightning Complex incident. We will also be discussing the “Reimagining Big Basin” process that seeks to create a more equitable and resilient park. The tour will include a short walk-through old growth redwood forest that experienced high severity fire and give participants an opportunity to discuss State Park’s development of a forest management strategy for Big Basin and its neighboring parks.

Start/End Time: 9am – 12pm

Location:  VIEW MAP > 

Accessibility: Short walk through old growth redwood on accessible path.

Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority: Efforts of the Only Publicly Funded Wildfire Prevention Authority in the U.S. 

Destination: Showcased projects of the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA), the only publicly funded wildfire prevention authority in the U.S. The tour will highlight local collaborative programs led by MWPA including vegetation management, a countywide chipper program, defensible space evaluations/creation, evacuation planning, and route clearing. We will discuss the MWPA’s use of and reliance and the CalVTP and MWPA’s support of the recently launched Fire Foundry Program, an innovative workforce development program aimed at achieving equity in the fire and civic service and providing pathways to sustainable wage careers. Participants will meet at the MWPA office in San Rafael, the MWPA will provide vans to shuttle participants to each tour site.

Start/End Time: 11am – 3pm

Location:  VIEW MAP > 

MWPA Office: 1600 Los Gamos Drive, Suite 345, San Rafael


Accessibility: Some walking on uneven unpaved paths/trails; parts are fully accessible. Driving tour to sites with short walks at each.

Webster Project – San Luis Obispo County: a CAL FIRE Governor’s Priority Project

Destination: “The Webster Project” – one of CAL FIRE’s 2019 Governor’s priority projects – covering 1,200 acres of chapparal habitat in rural north county San Luis Obispo. The goal of this project was to reduce hazard fuel loading and mimic natural fire using prescribed fire. The tour will highlight the treatment of crushing chamise brush followed with prescribed fire to consume 10-hour dead fuels. Treatments are aimed at creating a diversity of resilient vegetation types while creating a safety zone and anchor point for firefighting efforts in the event of a wildfire.

Start/End Time: 1pm – 3pm

Location:  VIEW MAP > 

Accessibility: Will Meet at CAL FIRE Creston Fire Station, load into van, drive to project site- 15 minutes. Mostly driving tour with small walk out to burn units (100 feet from vehicle), No ADA.

Santa Lucia Conservancy: Balancing the Protection of Life, Property, and Biodiversity with Long-term Ecosystem Resilience

Destination: The Santa Lucia Preserve. The Santa Lucia Conservancy’s vision for fire and fuels management on The Preserve is one that harmoniously balances the protection of life, property, and biodiversity with long-term ecosystem resilience. This strategy includes shaded fuel breaks, prescribed burns, conservation grazing, invasive plant removal, a Preserve-wide fuel management plan, and lot-specific fuel management plans for individual homeowners. Join the Santa Lucia Conservancy and collaborating partners for a driving tour of The Preserve to learn more about how we collaborate with fire agencies, land management organizations, landowners, and our neighbors to implement these fire safety tools.

Start/End Time: 9am – 12:30pm

Location:  VIEW MAP > 

Accessibility: This is a driving tour.

Swanton Pacific Ranch and Big Creek Lumber Sawmill: Witnessing and Learning From the Effects of the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex

Destination: Cal Poly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch. The tour will focus on post fire redwood and Douglas fir forest management and restoration funded by CAL FIRE Forest Health program and guided by the property’s long term Non-Industrial Timber Management Plan. In August 2020, the CZU Lightning Complex Fire impacted Cal Poly’s School Forest, which has long been a hub of student learning, research, and demonstration of sustainable timber management practices. The fire, along with CAL FIRE’s funding support, has presented us with some unique opportunities to demonstrate fuels reduction and restoration and ways to experiment with preparing the forest for the predicted consequences of climate change. We are also experimenting with various methods of biomass removal, replanting, and redwood canopy retention while training a workforce on methods to increase the pace and scale of fuels management and vegetation treatment. Break for lunch, and then reconvene down the road for a tour of the Big Creek Lumber Sawmill. We’ll see the mill in operation and discuss the effects of fire on merchantable timber, as well as the effects of the CZU fire on Big Creek property, and the recovery work they are doing post-fire.

Start/End Time: 10am – 2pm

Location: VIEW MAP > 

Accessibility: Attendees will meet at a central location and carpool to tour location a short drive away.

Glenwood Open Space Preserve: demonstrating multiple benefits of a conservation grazing program

Destination: Glenwood Open Space Preserve. Join the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County for a tour of this beautiful preserve in Scotts Valley, just a few minutes off of Highway 17 on the way out of Santa Cruz. The Glenwood Open Space Preserve is home to a high number of rare and endangered species, including the Ohlone tiger beetle, Opler’s longhorn moth, and the Scotts Valley spineflower. This tour will show off the beautiful spring wildflowers in bloom and highlight how we manage fuels along the wildland-urban interface while preserving the endangered species through conservation grazing, among other methods.

Start/End Time: 1pm – 3pm

Location: VIEW MAP > 

Recommended Accommodations

Courtyard by Marriott Santa Cruz

313 Riverside Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection

611 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 425-5590


Hyatt Place Santa Cruz

407 Broadway
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 226-2300


Best Western Plus

500 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 458-9898


Questions? Please contact:

Thank You to our Sponsors

State and Federal Agencies Make Significant Investments in Urban Greening

State and Federal Agencies Make Significant Investments in Urban Greening

USFS Grants Will Increase Equitable Access to Urban Tree Canopy: The U.S.  Forest Service is requesting proposals from entities that are working to provide equitable access to trees and green spaces and the benefits they provide. The funding, made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, is part of a $1.5 billion investment in the USFS’ Urban and Community Forestry Program.  Of the total funding, the USFS is allocating nearly $47 million directly to the Pacific Southwest Region — $43.2 million to California. The application period ends June 1.

CNRA Invests Over $47 Million in Urban Greening: On April 6, the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) awarded 23 grants totaling $47.5 million through the Urban Greening Grant Program. The selected projects will create more sustainable communities by using natural and green infrastructure approaches, such as replacing schoolyard asphalt with native trees, plants, pollinator gardens and nature-based outdoor play areas, restoring wetlands or riparian corridors, or constructing new commuter paths to reduce vehicles miles traveled.

Learn More

CAL FIRE Forest Health Awards

CAL FIRE Awards $142 Million For Critical Wildfire Resilience Projects Statewide

CAL FIRE recently announce that $142.6 million has been awarded for statewide investments in projects intended to enhance carbon storage while restoring the health and resilience of existing and recently burned forests throughout California.
CAL FIRE’s Forest Health Program awarded 27 grants to local and regional partners implementing projects on state, local, tribal, federal, and private lands spanning over 75,000 acres and 24 counties. Fuels reduction and prescribed fire treatments funded under these grants are aimed at reducing excess vegetation and returning forest and oak woodlands to more fire, drought, and pest-resilient conditions.

“These investments demonstrate CAL FIRE’s ability to deliver on the Governor’s Action Plan and are vital to protect the health of our forests and the safety of our communities.”
  –  Patrick Wright, Director, California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force

Learn More

Wildfire & Forest Resilience Treatment Tracking and Mapping

Wildfire & Forest Resilience Treatment Tracking and Mapping

At the March 30 Task Force meeting, the Task Force’s Monitoring, Reporting and Assessment Work Group gave an update on their efforts to build an interagency treatment tracker. The group is assembling federal, state, local, private data on planned, active, and completed projects statewide, including those on forests, grasslands, shrublands, and covering approximately 60 different activities (type of work completed). The goals include tracking progress toward state/federal acreage targets; facilitating regional planning and monitoring; and assessing benefits/costs beyond “acres treated.” The Task Force anticipates having a publicly available treatment tracking map and dashboard by summer 2023.

Learn More


Planscape now lives on the Task Force website

Planscape Now Lives on the Task Force Website

A collaborative effort between CA Natural Resources Agency, USFS, UC Berkeley, Spatial Informatics Group and, Planscape is a decision support tool that empowers regional planners to prioritize resilience treatments across the landscape and inform the funding process. Planscape partners provided a demonstration of the tool at the March 30 Task Force meeting. This version of the tool is available for beta testing, with the region-specific scenarios released this summer through fall.

Go To Planscape


CA's Year in Fire graphic

California's Year in Fire

CA's Year in Fire graphic

California's Year in Fire

One of the highlights from the March 30 Task Force meeting was a preview of the Annual Wildfire Data Explorer which depicts California’s Year in Fire. A project of the Climate and Wildfire Institute, UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, California’s Year in Fire is a framework that works to more comprehensively account for annual wildfire impacts on social and ecological systems. This project will help decision makers better understand how wildfire impacts are trending and identify areas where we need additional investment. Next step in this project is to finalize the documentation for public review, with the results eventually housed on a public-facing website, updated annually. Sign up for updates.

Learn More

USFS Invests Nearly $200M to Reduce Wildfire Risk to Communities

USFS Invests Nearly $200M to Reduce Wildfire Risk to Communities

USFS Invests Nearly $200M from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Reduce Wildfire Risk to Communities across State, Private and Tribal Lands: On March 20, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $197M in funding for 100 projects across 22 states and seven tribes as part of the Community Wildfire Defense Grant program. Grants to California counties, cities and tribes totaled over $97M across 22 projects including: $10M in Tuolumne County; nearly $10M in Siskiyou County; $9.9M in Lake County; $7.2 M to the City of Ukiah and Mendocino County; $6.8 in Plumas County; and $6.4M in Butte County. Originally announced in 2022, the Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program makes $1 billion available over five years to assist communities impacted by severe disaster, those with high or very high wildfire hazard potential or classified as low income.

Read the Press Release


Recap of Sacramento Task Force Meeting


March 30, 2023

The California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force held its quarterly meeting at the California Natural Resources Agency in Sacramento and live on Zoom.
The agenda and video recordings are available below


  • Looking Back: Members on this panel highlighted major accomplishments from state and federal agencies in 2022, shared preliminary results from California’s Year in Fire analysis, discussed what field monitoring reveals about the effectiveness of fuels treatments, and what recent wildfires reveal about the effectiveness of defensive space and home hardening. Subjects covered include:
    – What have we accomplished?
    – How do we measure the impacts of fires? California’s Year in Fire
    – Are treatments working?
  • Moving Forward: Presentations covered the questions that components of the Regional Resource Kits are meant to address: What are our goals and how do we define them? What is the current condition of our landscapes? How do we most effectively plan and prioritize projects? Where are we currently investing? How do we measure the effectiveness of those investments? The Monitoring and Reporting Work Group unveiled the Interagency Treatment Tracker, and provided an update on the decision support tool, Planscape. Subjects covered include:
    – Where is management most beneficial?
    – How do we more effectively plan & prioritize projects? Planscape
    – Where are we investing? Interagency Treatment Tracker
    – How do we measure the effectiveness of our investments?
  • Wood Utilization Work Group: The Work Group provided an overview of preliminary proposed actions in future joint strategy for wood utilization. Panelists discussed the importance of private sector investments in a vibrant wood products market that advances the state’s sustainable forest management strategy. Subjects covered include:
    – Overview of Proposed Action
    – Panel Discussion with Industry Representatives

View Full Agenda

Welcome & Opening Remarks

• Wade Crowfoot, CNRA

• Jennifer Eberlien, USFS

• Task Force Executive Committee

Director’s Report

• Patrick Wright

Looking Back

Moderator: John Battles, UC Berkeley

• Patrick Wright, Task Force

• Leana Weissberg, UC Berkeley, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment

• Scott Stephens, UC Berkeley

• Yana Valachovic, UC Cooperative Extension

Moving Forward

Moderator: John Battles, UC Berkeley 

• Pat Manley, USFS Pacific SW Research Station

• David Saah, Spatial Informatics Group

• Mickey Kataria,

• Alan Talhelm, CARB

• Loretta Moreno, CNRA

• Stephanie Coppeto, USFS.

Wood Utilization Work Group Report

Moderator: Steve Frisch, Sierra Business Council

• Elizabeth Betancourt, Dept. of Conservation

• Helena Murray, USFS

• Matt Dias, California Forestry Association

• Julia Levin, Bioenergy Association of California

• Dan Porter, The Nature Conservancy

• Matt Sjoholm, Blue Forest Conservation.

Final Remarks

• Task Force Co-Chairs

Public Comment Sought on Proposal to List California Spotted Owl

Photo Courtesy of Anastasia Stanish

Public Comment Sought on Proposal to List California Spotted Owl

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is proposing to list two distinct population of the California Spotted Owl under the Endangered Species Act: the Coastal-Southern California DPS as endangered and the Sierra Nevada DPS as threatened. As part of this proposed listing, USFWS is including a 4(d) rule for the Sierra Nevada DPS that exempts the prohibition of take under the ESA for forest fuels management activities that reduce the risk of large-scale high-severity wildfire.  USFWS is seeking public comment on the proposed rule through April 24.

Read the Press Release