MENDOCINO Co., 9/8/23 — The City of Ukiah has received a grant for $921,031 from the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) as part of a statewide initiative to build local resiliency efforts, which will go towards hiring for a new “Chief Resilience Officer” for the city, as well as supporting the city’s efforts towards preparing for and mitigating disasters such as wildfires and floods.
The new position will “work collaboratively with city departments, the community, tribal partners, and key stakeholders at the county, state, and federal levels to coordinate the city’s resilience strategies and ensure the effective deployment of resources,” taking on tasks including strategic planning and “identifying nature based solutions,” according to the city’s announcement. The job has a listed pay range of $78,358.44 – $95,245.20 and the posting and full description can be found here.
The grant is part of the “Prepare California Jumpstart Initiative,” a statewide grant program run by Cal OES to support “socially vulnerable and high hazard risk communities” in expanding disaster preparedness and community resilience programs. In emphasizing the need for expanded preparedness programs, the City of Ukiah cites the proximity of a number of significant wildfires over the last several years, including then Redwood, River, and Ranch fires, as well as recent flooding and extreme heat events.
“We have been working to update our planning documents, execute a Climate Emergency Initiative, and hardening infrastructure. With this funding we will be able to build on that foundation and create alignment between planning efforts and identify further solutions to address emerging threats,” notes City Manager Sage Sangiacomo in the city’s announcement.
Here’s the press release from the City of Ukiah:
CITY OF UKIAH AWARDED GRANT FROM THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES TO PURSUE COMPREHENSIVE LOCAL RESILIENCY STRATEGY
Ukiah, CA. [September 5, 2023] – The City of Ukiah is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a significant grant of $921,031.00 from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) under the “Prepare California Jumpstart Initiative,” a competitive grant program that provides state funding to eligible socially vulnerable and high hazard risk communities.
This grant funding will be instrumental in strengthening the city’s resilience efforts, particularly in enhancing Ukiah’s ability to coordinate plans and response efforts, and to secure funding for long-term mitigation measures that reduce risk and improve preparedness. Climates changes contributing to wildland-urban interface fires, extreme heat events, and potential flooding events are creating high risk hazards for the City of Ukiah, with the threats becoming even more serious for our most vulnerable populations. A coordinated approach is needed to identify gaps and opportunities for improved resiliency, and then work toward shared goals in a strategic way.
This Cal OES grant will fund a new Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) position within the City. The CRO will work collaboratively with city departments, the community, tribal partners, and key stakeholders at the county, state, and federal levels to coordinate the city’s resilience strategies and ensure the effective deployment of resources. The CRO will play a pivotal role in aligning our city’s strategic planning documents, identifying nature-based solutions, and managing the communication and outreach for these projects.
The pursuit and award of this grant highlights the City’s commitment to ensuring that Ukiah remains a safe, resilient, and thriving community. Key to the successful implementation of these new resources will be proactive engagement with non-government organizations, climate action groups, fire safe councils, and local businesses to further Ukiah’s resilience goals.
“The City of Ukiah is committed to resiliency in all facets of our City operations, and we have been working to update our planning documents, execute a Climate Emergency Initiative, and hardening infrastructure. With this funding we will be able to build on that foundation and create alignment between planning efforts and identify further solutions to address emerging threats,” said City Manager Sage Sangiacomo.
The funding for these efforts is particularly timely as semi-rural communities throughout the state are facing increasing threats attributable to the changing climate and extreme weather events. In 2018 the River Fire, part of the 459,153-acre Mendocino Complex Fire, burned to within three miles of Ukiah city limits, and the Ranch Fire simultaneously burned to within seven miles of the city. The Redwood Complex Fire burned nine miles from downtown the previous year. Any major wind shifts with these fires could have been catastrophic for more than 16,000 residents and hundreds of businesses and community services in Ukiah.
Extreme weather has increased flooding even in locations that have not previously flooded. In 2019, flooding severely damaged a residential neighborhood and critical infrastructure, including Ukiah’s water treatment storage facilities and perc ponds, and resulted in the loss of power and access to vulnerable neighborhoods.
“The City of Ukiah appreciates the support from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in providing these critically needed funds, and we will be working closely with Cal OES to ensure the smooth implementation of this program,” added Sangiacomo. “The creation of the Chief Resilience Officer position empowers Ukiah to launch local initiatives, improve resilience and mitigation project scoping, and amplify outreach efforts for mitigation, preparedness, and recovery. Through these efforts, we can shore up Ukiah’s defenses against emerging threats while also preserving our idyllic character that draws so many to our community.”
The complete job posting can be found at https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/cityofukiah and entering “Resilience” into the search bar.