This is Phase II of a multi-year project that has a focus of fuels reduction by creating a fuel break within the community of Northstar, located above U.S. Highway 267 Leading into the Northstar Community Services District. For the forest understory, project work will be done by thinning overgrown clusters of greenleaf manzanita (arctostaphylos patula), bitterbrush (purshia tridentata) and mountain sagebrush (artemsia tridentata). For the existing fores stand, the focus will be thinning suppressed and intermediate, non-commercial sized trees 1" to 11" in diameter breast height, (DBH) such as white fir (abies concolor) and jefferey pine (pinus jeffereyi). Conifer trees and brush will be thinned by use of a Cal Fire Conservation crew using hand and pole saws, loppers and "pick-mattocks". Brush thinning will be performed by creating mosaics spaced from 4'-12' from one edge of the brush component to the next. Also, various age classes of brush will be retained to allow diversity and various growth rates. Suppressed and intermediate trees will be removed to allow canopy spacing, reduction of ladder fuels and to improve forest health. In addition to tree thinning, larger live conifer trees will be limbed up to 8' where the live foliage hangs. Smaller conifer trees will receive the lower one third of the foliage limbed. One out of every seven conifers will have live or dead limbs remaining in the limbing portion of the tree for native and migratory bird habitat.
The Washington Ridge Conservation Crew will be involved in the thinning and chipper feeding portion of the project. The Northstar Fire Department (NFD) will facilitate a rubber tracked chipper and operator. The biomass disposal would be treated by using the chipper on the project and if necessary, pile burning will take place in areas that the chipper cannot access due to topography. Burn piles will only be 8'x8' in size and nothing within 200' of the U.s> Highway 267 or in proximity to cultural resource sites. Burn piles will be treated in the fall and winter months by NFD staff and a 4-man contracted crew. Selective hazard trees may be removed that poses a safety issue. For example, hazard trees that threatens the District's trail system for public safety may be removed. Otherwise snags of various classes will be retained at a rate of 1-3 per acre.
Minor trail maintenance to facilitate emergency and utility response.
Help prevent wild fire.
The Department has concluded that no significant environmental impact would occur to aesthetics, agriculture and forestland/timberland, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, greenhouse gas emissions, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, land use planning, mineral resources, noise, population and housing, public services, recreation, transportation/traffic, or to utilities and service systems.