The Rancho Santa Fe Association will get about $275,000 to plant and maintain about 450 trees in the Arroyo Preserve as part of a Cal Fire grant awarded to Urban Corps of San Diego County.
Urban Corps was awarded $1.253 million in Proposition 68 funding from Cal Fire’s Urban and Community Forestry, Urban Forest Expansion and Improvement grant program to plant 2,000 trees throughout the county.
Urban Corps’ San Diego County Urban Forestry and Arboriculture Project has seven partners including the cities of San Diego, Imperial Beach, Vista, Encinitas and La Mesa along with the Rancho Santa Fe Association. The partners will work with Urban Corps on plant palette, location and watering and Urban Corps will be working alongside Tree San Diego, a local nonprofit whose mission is to increase tree canopy in San Diego.
“We are grateful to have been awarded this opportunity from Cal Fire This grant will allow for a large increase in tree canopy in the areas of San Diego that need it most, and at the same time our Corps members will be given the opportunity to receive important training in an area that will enhance their opportunities for permanent employment after they graduate from our program,” said Kyle Kennedy Urban Corps’ chief executive officer. “Urban Corps has a 30-year history of working on environmental projects, including tree planting throughout the County of San Diego, and this grant gives us the opportunity to give back in a way that will impact our community for years to come.”
In Rancho Santa Fe, the trees will be planted at the Association-owned Arroyo Preserve as part of The Cal Fire Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction Program grant award and will help to jump start the natural recruitment of native riparian species in the lower San Dieguito River Valley within the Arroyo.
The native tree plantings will also go a long way toward increasing fire safety, which RSF Association Parks & Recreation Assistant Manager and Horticulturist Caitlin Kreutz has said is one of the biggest challenges Rancho Santa Fe faces with its urban forest.
According to Jonathan Appelbaum, conservation manager for the San Diego River Park Conservancy, historically streams, rivers, and their associated riparian corridors formed breaks in the landscape where wildfires halted naturally.
“In more recent times, with riparian areas choked by highly combustible, invasive plant species like eucalyptus, palms, and Arundo donax that is no longer the case,” Appelbaum said.
Kreutz said the new trees will enhance existing habitat and help fulfill the re-vegetation conservation practice required within last year’s USDA National Resources Conservation grant, which funded removal of 15 acres of invasive species in the Arroyo.
“Native plant species are less combustible and less conductive of fire than introduced, invasive species,” Kreutz said. “Many native species retain greater moisture through the dry season, do not shed old branches and limbs, and are not prone to casting off burning embers great distances, which plays a major role in spreading fire.”
For more information, contact Caitlin Kreutz at Caitlin@rsfassociation.org.