Summit County, Utah, United States
Defueling the Fire: Piloting a Resilience Fund for Weber River Watershed Communities
"Rapid climate change, increased catastrophic fire severity and expanding Wilderness-Urban Interface (WUI) population pressures, centers my immediate attention on the long-term need for climate resilience actions within Summit County. With 86% of our county residing amongst forested areas, our residents depend on our forested network for their livelihood; for work, for play, and for mental health. Our county values our forests for providing wildlife habitat, clean air, fresh water, and scenic landscapes. Summit County recognizes the interplay between communities and public lands. We are devoted to collaboration and directed action by stakeholders to improve forest health and restore watershed function. Summit County welcomes theCities4Forest 'Call to Action' and is committed to active forest management and climate focused initiates.”
— Thomas C. Fisher, County Manager
Summit County, Utah is piloting a Resilience Fund (RF) with key partners that pools funding commitments from local public and private entities to leverage state and federal funds for watershed health and wildfire resilience on USFS, state, and private lands. The RF will raise upfront capital required to meet high initial forest restoration costs and provide consistent funding to support fuel reduction re-entry work to maintain fire-resilient communities over the next 20 years. The RF will overcome traditional siloed land management budgets and enable more efficient capital deployment across a variety of land ownerships. Our work will be scientifically guided by recommendations from the U.S. Forest Service and a research team from Utah State University. The Fund will be designed to support short and long-term forest restoration in the Weber River watershed with an eye towards expansion to safeguard other watersheds and landscapes in the County. The partners are creating a Coalition for long-term cross jurisdictional planning, coordination, and public engagement, and current members include Summit County, Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, and MountainRegional Water Special Service District.
City image by Tom Horton