Political leader fears funding for tree mortality projects may dry up


SHAVER LAKE, Calif. (KFSN) —

What spent years to grow, went down in just a matter of minutes. It was one of thousands of dead trees in Shaver Lake threatening roadways in the mountain community.

Because of that, crews for the past eight months have been working to take the trees down. Cory Burkarth with Caltrans said along with it helping reduce the spread of wildfires, the efforts are also ensuring the safety of drivers.

“150 to 200 foot tree could fall; if it hits your vehicle you’re not going to survive that.”

As workers, chopped down and cleared up trees reaching more than 100 feet, Assemblyman Jim Patterson was there in midst of it all. The Central Valley leader said Governor Jerry Brown, in his updated budget, cut funds for local tree mortality efforts from $52 million to $2-million.

Patterson told us even though we got a lot of rain this year, now is not the time to penny pinch.

“We still have a serious fire danger and we really do have a huge capacity issue and there are a lot more trees that have to come down and they will come down as we continue to use money wisely.”

Patterson is working with the state’s budget committee and hopes to see the funds go back by June.

We reached out to Brown’s office but have not heard back from them yet.

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