Santa Barbara County will receive just under half a million dollars from a forest service funding program intended to help rural counties survive the decline in timber harvesting over the last century.

Funding of $500 million from the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2008 was announced Oct. 22.

 

Santa Barbara County’s payments will be spread over four years: $68,723 in 2008, $61,851 in 2009, $55,742 in 2010 and $263,580 in 2011, for a total of $449,897.

The money is intended to go toward schools, roads and stewardship projects, according to the forest service.

Kathy Good, Los Padres National Forest Service spokeswoman, said locally the funding will go toward roads and schools. It will be distributed by the Santa Barbara County administrator.

According to the forest service, since 1908, 25 percent of forest service revenues, such as those from timber sales, mineral resources and grazing fees, have been returned to states in which national forests are located.

 

The original act was enacted to provide assistance to rural counties affected by the decline in revenue from timber harvests in federal lands.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell said: “The reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools Act represents renewed and, in many cases, new opportunities, for counties, resource advisory committees, and national forests to work together to maintain infrastructure, improve the health of watersheds and ecosystems, protect communities, and strengthen local economies. We look forward to collaborating with communities to fully implement the act.”

California has received $55 million from the act over the last seven years, according to the forest service.

 

Reach Leah Etling at letling@syvjournal.com