The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino National Forest:
Joseph Rechsteiner, Acting Forest Supervisor for the Mendocino National Forest, has signed a decision on the North Shore restoration project.
The purpose of the project is to improve community wildfire safety by reducing fuels within the wildland urban interface while also restoring and reforesting burned areas from the 2018 Ranch Fire.
The project area is located in Lake County, about 11 miles southeast of Upper Lake, Calif., near communities on the north and northeast shores of Clear Lake.
“This decision allows for reforestation on just over 2,600 acres located on the Upper Lake Ranger District in areas that experienced high levels of tree mortality during the 2018 Ranch Fire, as well as fuels reduction on approximately 40,000 acres. This is a significant milestone for the Mendocino National Forest as the largest project decision signed to date,” said Rechsteiner.
Some of those fuel treatments could include prescribed burning, pile burning, hand thinning and mechanical treatment on areas with slopes less than 35%.
The forest’s interdisciplinary team consulted with Tribes and other state and federal agencies throughout the environmental analysis.
The team also incorporated feedback from the public, which was collected during comment periods, a public meeting and during field trips to the project area.
Project implementation is expected to occur over several years. Now that the decision is signed, forest managers will begin prioritizing areas to be treated within the project footprint.
Partnership agreements with the Clear Lake Environmental Research Center (CLERC) and the Tribal Eco-Restoration Alliance (TERA) are in place. A third partnership with the North Shore Fire Protection District’s fuels crew is also underway. These partnerships will be instrumental in getting the work done on the ground.
The Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest and Pacific Northwest Research Stations and the University of California-Davis will be conducting research on the North Shore restoration project. The varying degrees of fire severity across large areas provide a unique research opportunity, and the regimented monitoring required of research will provide a robust review of conditions before treatment as well as short-term and long-term impacts of treatments.
The final decision letter and environmental analysis are available online at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=55716.