Assessment and planning will take place at the regional scale, followed by high resolution pilot projects that will be developed for up to three local communities to apply and ground-truth different strategies in each unique community. State and national information and trends will inform this process, outlined below. The results from this initiative are expected to inform state and national policy.
1. Establish a cross-sector, diverse advisory committee and regional network.
Create a cross-sector, diverse advisory committee to guide this plan and pilot project and that is expected to continue to guide implementation post-project. Members of the advisory committee will include the diversity of actors necessary to implement site-specific strategies and inform a regional vision and strategy. This may include the business and economic development entities interested in developing feedstock related projects in the region, sustainable forest managers, community fire resilience practitioners, Tribal, local, state and federal governments, landowners at different scales, financing entities, philanthropic organizations, NGOs, RCDs and other relevant entities.
2. Conduct a baseline analysis at the regional scale.
Conduct a baseline analysis at the regional scale to support an integrated, multi-benefit North Coast plan for vegetation management byproduct utilization and sustainable woody feedstock supply, including an analysis of the types and amount of vegetation that could be mobilized according to community scale vegetation management scenarios. This initial phase informs the Identification of sub-regional pilots.
3. Develop 1–3 sub-regional or community-specific pilot strategies.
Develop sub-regional or community-specific pilot strategies designed to aggregate underutilized feedstock and match it to climate resilient, environmentally beneficial, location-appropriate wood product market opportunities. Areas for pilots to investigate include:
- What is the best way to aggregate feedstock, especially from community scale vegetation management, in a manner that reliably connects the feedstock to businesses and drives watershed health and community-scale fire resilience?
- What types of organizations could perform the function of aggregating feedstocks from community vegetation management and what are the legal, financial, and political pros and cons of each type?
- What kinds of businesses already exist that could be diversified and/or expanded to utilize this additional source of feedstock? What is the current net profit potential of various options? How do different business options align with regional and community values?
- What innovative technologies show promise and do any of these offer a natural fit with the North Coast’s underutilized feedstock, infrastructure, and underutilized workforce?
The local pilots will focus on achieving community and watershed resilience and ensuring that the proposed solutions reflect the needs and preferences of local communities in alignment with regional values. The initiative is structured to provide the information and strategic analysis that relevant actors will need to take action together at the culmination of this initiative in 2024.
NCRP has a long track record of seeking solutions that simultaneously address interrelated needs of our communities. The woody by-product initiative will develop site specific strategies that reflect community values and identify synergies between community resilience, economic vibrancy, and watershed health.