Park District Set to Receive $1.38 Million in Federal Funds for Wildfire Mitigation Work in the East Bay

April 19, 2024

The East Bay Regional Park District will receive $1,380,000 in federal funding secured by U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA14) for wildfire mitigation and safe, resilient forest work. On Saturday, March 23, 2024, President Biden signed bipartisan funding legislation, which included the funding request for East Bay Regional Park District’s wildfire mitigation work.  

“The federal funds secured by Representative Swalwell will reduce wildfire risks by removing hazardous vegetation from the East Bay hills,” said Park District Board President Elizabeth Echols. “The Park District Board and staff are grateful to Representative Swalwell for his leadership and contributions toward improving wildfire safety.”

The new funding will help thin and remove vegetation, specifically dead and dying trees in areas of Anthony Chabot Regional Park. In the fall of 2020, while conducting ongoing vegetation management work, Park District staff noticed significant tree die-off in its parks. Further investigation identified over 1,500 acres of dead and dying trees within Regional Parks, mostly eucalyptus, but also bay and pine. 

“I was proud to secure nearly $1.4 million in Community Project Funding for the East Bay Regional Park District,” said Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-14). “The Park District’s leadership in vegetation management and wildfire mitigation projects reduce the ongoing risk of catastrophic wildfire, keeping our homes safe throughout the East Bay and California.”

Wildfire safety is one of the Park District’s top priorities. Year-round efforts include monitoring fire danger and weather, maintaining professionally trained full-time and on-call firefighters, maintaining specialized wildland firefighting equipment, and removing flammable vegetation to reduce wildfire risks.

“We thank Representative Swalwell for his support and leadership in prioritizing the region’s wildfire mitigation work,” said Park District General Manager Sabrina Landreth. “This funding will allow the Park District to continue its interagency collaborative work at the local, state, and federal level.”

The funding will help reduce the risk of a catastrophic wildfire and create fire-resilient landscapes, which also lessen ongoing mitigation and maintenance costs. The Park District’s vegetation management plan includes providing valuable habitat for threatened plants and wildlife such as the pallid manzanita, monarch butterfly, and Alameda whipsnake. 

The Park District continues to work with its federal, state, and regional partners to secure additional funding for the project.

Trimming trees for wildfire management in parklands

The East Bay Regional Park District is the largest regional park system in the nation, comprising 73 parks, 55 miles of shoreline, and over 1,330 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and environmental education. The Park District receives an estimated 30 million visits annually throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.