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Fall 2022 Project Spotlight: Blue Forest Conservation

Learn about how our consultants helped Blue Forest Conservation deal with the challenges associated with rural housing.


Problem Statement

The team was tasked to help Blue Forest Conservation address the lack of forest worker housing in rural areas. In particular, this affects Blue Forest Conservation because the lack of housing is one of the most critical roadblocks preventing them from successfully executing forest restoration projects. This was a unique challenge the shortage of rural housing in California is driven by a variety of factors that are different from typical housing models.

About Blue Forest Conservation

Blue Forest Conservation is a green finance organization which finances initiatives like forest restoration through their flagship Forest Resilience Bond which uses private funding to engage in forest restoration projects to reduce wildfire risk. For example, investors would purchase the FRB and Blue Forest Conservation would use those funds to carry out forest conservation work. The assessed benefits of such work (reducing fire risk, etc.) would then be paid by beneficiaries to repay bond holders. In particular, the Forest Resilience Bond targets an estimated $3.1 billion of sustainable investment capital that remains undeployed due to a lack of investment opportunities.

Project Agenda & Objectives

Our objective was to look at the different methods that Blue Forest Conservation could use to house its workers and then to look at the different ways Blue Forest Conservation could pay for those solutions. We broke down our problem solving into three main components:

  1. Literature Review: we started off by understanding the needs and specifics of the issue

  2. Solution Assessment: then we looked at and assessed the different solutions ranging from tiny homes to repurposing existing housing.

  3. Financing Methods: finally, we assessed different funding and financing methods from both public and private sources that could be leveraged.

1) Literature Review In More Depth

Our first workstream was to conduct informational interviews with locals in the region. This was important to understand the specific needs and challenges associated with the Plumas and Lassen counties as well as with housing for rural workers. This helped us understand what workers wanted and what different local leaders had considered.

2) Solution Assessment In More Depth

Our second workstream was to conduct a case study regarding what possible solutions had been implemented elsewhere. This was challenging as there was not direct comparison. However, we were able to look at housing models used by the agricultural industry and use them as a comparative baseline. We also looked at different solutions and assessed their viability. We used information from interviews and case studies to come up with a list of solutions and a rank based on their fit for the solution.

3) Financing Methods In More Depth

Our final workstream was looking at ways to pay for these solutions. First, we looked at funding methods centered around different government grants and legislation that could help fund or reduce the project costs. Then we looked at financing options that could be repurposed from existing low-income housing methods used in urban areas. Finally, we looked at different models that could combine all of these strategies.


The Impact of 180DC's Work

Our work will be used as a guideline and case study for Blue Forest to use when they are executing their future projects not just in the Plumas/Lassen counties but throughout all of Northern California.

If you feel that your organization can use our help, fill out our client interest form!

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