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Madera and Mariposa counties to benefit from Sierra Nevada Conservancy grants

Large patches of dead and dying trees are seen in the Sierra Nevada mountains from a helicopter tour Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Mostly ponderosa and sugar pine trees are dying off in large numbers around Bass Lake and throughout the Sierra Nevada due to a bark beetle infestation brought about by years of extreme drought in California.
Large patches of dead and dying trees are seen in the Sierra Nevada mountains from a helicopter tour Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Mostly ponderosa and sugar pine trees are dying off in large numbers around Bass Lake and throughout the Sierra Nevada due to a bark beetle infestation brought about by years of extreme drought in California. ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

Madera and Mariposa counties will receive part of a $3.1 million grant awarded by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy for projects that will reforest land and reduce tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada, announced Sierra Nevada Conservancy spokeswoman Brittany Covich.

The state agency will award Madera County $488,320 for its Eastern Madera Wildlife Restoration Project, which will clean up dead trees from the French Fire in 2014. About 225 acres will be treated with herbicide, and 350 acres will be reforested with trees. Reforesting will also improve water quality, said Covich.

Mariposa County will receive $498,985 for its Gentry Creek Watershed Restoration Project. The Yosemite-Sequoia Conservation and Development Council will use the grant to treat 300 acres of trees affected by bark beetle mortality on privately owned land that is surrounded by land managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. The project will remove dead trees and improve Gentry Creek, a tributary stream of the Merced River, said Covich.

The grants were made available by Proposition 1 and the Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, and are the fifth set of grants given under Prop 1, Covich said.

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPan

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