1: Building Support and Capacity for Wildfire Mitigation in 6 key areas of Marin County and adjacent Communities
2: Promote fire adaptation and resilience to residents and help local agencies plan and implement fire adaptation projects
Education or interest in in environmental sciences, fire ecology, marketing, communications
Strong technical writing skills, interpersonal communications skills, and able to function well in a team environment
Ability to work with diverse stakeholders
Flexible, adaptable, and desire to contribute to community based initatives
Openings: 0 of 2
*These positions have been filled*
Focus Area: Fire/Forestry
Ecological Forestry, Watershed Management, Climate Mitigation & Adaptation, Fire Preparedness & Management, Education & Outreach
project 1 breakdown
Education & Outreach
project 2 breakdown
Education & Outreach
Goals & Needs
The Marin County Community Wildfire Prevention Plan and the California Vegetation Treatment Program outline recommendations for mitigation measures. Through qualitative research methods such as surveys, interviews and/or focus groups, the Fellow will form an understanding of the main concerns, challenges and desires of stakeholders and community members within each of the 6 identified areas. Concern from the community is expected to include the environmental impacts of vegetation management measures. This concern will be at the heart of the tension between land management, environmental preservation, and fire prevention. MWPA will provide the Fellow with contacts for key stakeholders in all 6 areas and provide introductions. The main stakeholders identified to date include: National Park Service, Marin Municipal Water District, North Marin Water District, Marin County Parks and Open Space, California State Parks, large private landowners, OneTam, Marin RCD, Marin Conservation League, Fire Environment Resiliency Networks, Ecologically Sound Practices Partnership, Audubon Society, FireWise communities, Fire Safe Marin and local leaders and community members.
Residents of the County of Marin passed Measure C in March of 2020 to create and fund a Joint Powers Authority to help adapt the communities and landscapes of Marin County to a future with more severe wildfire. This organization is known as the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA).
The Fellow will help the MWPA carry out its mission to lead the development of fire adapted communities using sound scientific, financial, programmatic, ecological practices, vegetation management, community education, evacuation, and warning systems with the support of its member and partner agencies.
This work will include working with partner organizations around public messaging for the promotion of practices that create fire adapted communities (such as fire wise landscaping and home hardening) as well as support for direct assistance programs to help vulnerable residents to do this work. Additionally, the Fellow will also support smaller member agencies (fire districts) in the planning, environmental compliance, and implementation of on-the-ground fuel reduction projects.
This position dives right into the challenges of taking big ideas to adapt our communities to a changing climate and a future with more fire and finding ways to actually implement them on the ground.
Capacity Building Projects
While Marin residents and businesses have become somewhat familiar with defensible space and vegetation management, these concepts often lead to images of barren land and desert-like landscapes, which in turn contribute to resistance from homeowners and businesses that prefer and have become accustomed to Marin’s natural environment. The Fellow will work with multiple partner organizations to assist in promoting a greater understanding of what living in a fire-adapted community looks like, including what residents and businesses need to understand to play their parts. To assist in this process, this project would include the following:
Help communicate technical and scientific information collected by MWPA and its partners, to the public in a compelling way.
Work with partners such as Fire Safe Marin and Marin Master Gardeners to pursue opportunities to demonstrate fire wise landscapes.
Research resources and partners that can help residents implement fire-adapted home landscaping. One partnership is in development with Marin Master Gardeners to create demonstration homes.
Occasionally serve as a representative for MWPA at community events- responsible for the planning and creation of engaging content for said events.
The final deliverable will be a report summarizing related research, lessons learned, future needs, and opportunities for public communication around these issues and presentation to the MWPA’s Board and Operations Committee.
The second and equally important project that will be the responsibility of the Fellow is to work on project-related planning, including environmental compliance, and implementation. This will include working directly with MWPA’s smaller, resource-constrained fire agencies in planning, developing and implementing wildfire mitigation projects specific to their areas. The fire agencies of Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, Bolinas and Inverness do not have the staffing or resources to implement local mitigation projects, and thus rely heavily on volunteers for wildfire planning and prevention work. For this project, the Fellow would work with MWPA staff and these agencies to identify, plan and implement wildfire mitigation projects. This work could include time in the field supporting crews. This work could also include assisting MWPA staff and contracted crews in coordination of direct assistance for vulnerable residents, particularly low-income and/or older residents, who need defensible space work done around their homes.
Organizational & Community Highlights
Marin County's wildlands, natural vegetation, and climate make our neighborhoods beautiful and desirable places to live but also leave residents and visitors vulnerable to wildfire. Marin has significant portions of the County included in moderate, high and very high wildfire severity zones as outlined in CAL FIRE’s fire hazard severity maps. The County learned important lessons starting in 2017 with the North Bay Fires, and the creation of MWPA approved by the voters in March 2020 is the direct result of the devastating fire seasons residents have witnessed and experienced first-hand.
At the same time, Marin has a strong tradition of land and environmental preservation. The Fellow can expect to gain significant professional development experience navigating the space between land preservation, fire prevention and ecological practices.
As a new agency (formed in 2020) dedicated to advancing fire prevention through the most advanced technological and environmental practices, MWPA includes 2 full-time staff (the Executive Director and a Planning and Program Manager who will supervise the Fellow) in constant contact with its 17 member agencies (list available on website). MWPA is built upon the existing strong partnerships and solid relationships between fire agencies, local governments, land management agencies and State and Federal partners, and the Fellow can expect a lot of exposure and opportunities to interact with MWPA’s network of stakeholders.
The workplace is located within the headquarters of Southern Marin Fire District in Sausalito, a few steps from the Bay. The Fellow’s desk is in an open floorplan, in a casual but respectful atmosphere. The Fellow can be provided a vehicle for work related travel and is expected to work independently, spending time outside the office as necessary, interacting with the relevant project stakeholders and getting to know the land and the community.