MRCA Applies for Red Rock Tree Removal Grant

The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) is planning to remove 30 large, non-native eucalyptus and pine trees in Red Rock Canyon. The trees, planted more than 50 years ago when the property was a Boy Scout camp, have been identified as a fire hazard.

The MRCA is applying to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services’ (CalOES) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for funding to cover the project, which is defined as a hazard mitigation project for hazardous fuel reduction.

The HMGP is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) proportionally as part of any Presidential Disaster Declaration in California that followed the Woolsey Fire. Projects on land owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) are eligible, so long as they are consistent with the California State Hazard Mitigation Plan.

While many of the applications being submitted during CalOES’ application period for HMGP projects are related to the aftermath of the Woolsey Fire, the Red Rock Canyon proposal seeks to mitigate future fire risk.

The trees “pose an elevated risk during fire related events,” the staff report on the proposal finds. “Removal of these trees is a good fit for HMGP funds, and fuel hazard reduction within this wildland-urban interface area is consistent with the State Hazard Mitigation Plan.”

The MRCA is seeking $63,700 for the tree removal project. If funding is not secured, the project will be postponed until suitable funding is secured. If awarded, the grant requires a 25 percent match of $21,250 for a total maximum project cost of $85,000. Funding for the match is expected to come from funds granted for fire resilience activities.

The size of the trees and the narrowness of the access road are a challenge. The report specifies that “arborist crews supported with small equipment” would be utilized for the project. The report states that each tree will be individually assessed in preparation for the grant application, and that the removal project can take up to two years to complete, indicating that not all of the trees would be removed at once.


Suzanne Guldimann

Suzanne Guldimann is an author, artist, and musician who lives in Malibu and loves the Santa Monica Mountains. She has worked as a journalist reporting on local news and issues for more than a decade, and is the author of nine books of music for the harp. Suzanne's newest book, "Life in Malibu", explores local history and nature. She can be reached at

  1. Thank you Suzanne for reporting this. The MRCA has done many wonderful purchases of land and the most recent on the Calabasas Motorway has been the latest and greatest. We have been concerned about that one for a long time.
    Which leads me to my dismay over them chasing after grants to destroy 30 eucalyptus and Pine trees under the guise of protection from Fire. This is wrong wrong wrong.
    We can’t help but notice only non-native trees are targeted.
    It is a falsehood to think taking out those trees will protect us from a wildfire. It was proven from the Woosley Fire that recently destroyed thousands of trees that the fire doesn’t discriminate native and non-native. If it is in the path of the fire and the conditions are right it all burns. We must stop with the lies.
    Many of us were able to accompany Simon T in his helicopter post-fire. What I saw was euchs that didn’t burn. As a mater of fact they helped in the protection of the mountains.
    Look we can argue back and forth on this issue. I am not interested in that but I can tell you this, 1. Trees give off oxygen 2. we have lost too many trees already why kill more. Stop the madness. Take out dead trees but if it is alive just care for them and love them.
    Roger Pugliese
    Topanga Association for a Scenic Community

  2. I hate this non-native purging. Let’s not denude Topanga. Everything blew in from somewhere. If we take down everything that was not here when Saddle Peak was under water, we’d be left with seaweed.

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