How We Can Better Use Data to Prioritize Projects

Sonoma RCD is part of two Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Programs funded by the California Department of Conservation (DOC): the North Coast Resource Partnership (which covers the Russian River watershed) and the Inner Coast Collaborative (which covers the Petaluma River and Sonoma Creek watersheds). These programs focus on helping organizations like RCDs, land trusts, and open space districts improve forest health and fire resiliency.

Last month, three of our staff members attended an all-day workshop highlighting some of the tools that are available for identifying and prioritizing projects across the Inner Coast Region. They met at the California Natural Resources Agency Headquarters in Sacramento with partners across the Inner Coast Counties including Colusa, Lake, Napa, Solano, and Yolo. California Climate Hub researchers led the cohort through workshops that helped them explore the resources that are becoming available to help us track project development across the region and identify needs within our districts.

One of the tools the team became familiar with was “Planscape,” a free, open-source mapping and data online interface that can assess large areas via various map overlays. They saw how other regions use this tool to help communities become fire-resilient and promote other ecological benefits across the state.

These programs will help the Sonoma RCD with our outreach to land managers in the Petaluma River and Sonoma Creek watersheds by highlighting the importance of specific project ideas. We also expect that it will help us secure future funding to implement projects for fuels reduction, forest health, and fire resiliency.