Forest Service seeks comment on Emerald fire reforestation | RecordCourier.com

Forest Service seeks comment on Emerald fire reforestation

Staff Reports

Comments are being sought on a proposal to remove hazardous trees and plant seedlings at the site of the Oct. 14, 2016, Emerald fire.

"Restoration of the Emerald Fire area will help restore habitat for various wildlife species and provide benefits to the Lake Tahoe watershed," said Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Forest Supervisor Jeff Marsolais. "The restoration effort will also provide visual benefits to residents and visitors and allow for a more fire resilient landscape."

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking comments by April 28.

The Emerald Fire burned approximately 175 acres (96 acres of National Forest and 79 acres of private and other ownership).

The fire burned in an area that was populated by Jeffrey pine, White fir and widespread brush fields. Few trees remain and given the large number of shrubs that existed prior to the fire, it is expected that the shrubs would grow quickly, posing a challenge for natural seedlings to survive the competition. Planting seedlings early would increase the chance that they will become established before the brush grows back, which would significantly increase the chance that trees will reestablish in this area.

Native seedlings would be planted on approximately 60 acres total, 10 acres this spring and 50 acres in 2018. Planting this spring, would take place in areas along Highway 89 where burned trees were removed by the California Department of Transportation (Cal Trans) shortly after the fire. Planting in 2018, would take place throughout the fire area, except for power and data transmission line corridors.

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Prior to the planting, removal of hazardous trees would occur in all planting locations for the safety of crews planting seedlings as well as to minimize the impacts to power and data transmission lines over time.

Project work could begin as early as May 2017.

The proposed action is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/EmeraldRestoration. For more information on the project and how to comment, contact Matt Dickinson at 530-543-2840 or email mattdickinson@fs.fed.us.