California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Loma Vista Community Perimeter Shaded Fuel Break
NOE - Notice of Exemption
The purpose of this shaded fuel break project is to reduce the volume of fuels on the periphery of residences in the Loma Vista neighborhood, located at the lower stretch of Soda Canyon Rd., north of Napa, CA. The reduction in ladder fuels and brush continuity in the approximately 100-ft wide fuel break will reduce fire intensity and improve the effectiveness of surface fire containment and air tanker drops in the event of a wildfire. The 3.7 mile project will encircle an unnamed ridge west of Soda Creek spanning both sides of Loma Vista Drive. The western side of the project is located on slopes facing Silverado Trail. The location of the fuel break was selected to connect lands that are already low in fuel volume in order to minimize work and impact. The area surrounding the project is semi-rural, with approximately 35 homes enclosed within the fuel break. Vegetation type is classified as grasslands and vineyards in the majority of the project area. Oak woodlands are located within the project but are largely bypassed. Where the work is located within oak woodlands, the treatment consists of removing lower branches of mature trees. Fewer than 10 trees, all smaller than 6 inches in dimeter are expected to be cut. Larger diameter material (larger than 6 inches) will remain as refugia for wildlife. Shrubs within the fuel break area will be cut and either chipped or cut further into small pieces and packed into topographic depressions outside the fuel break. All dead and dying vegetation will be removed.
This project fits under the description for a Class 4 and a Class 8 Categorical Exemption to CEQA. The Napa Firewise Consultant conducted an environmental review to confirm that no exceptions apply which would preclude the use of a Notice of Exemption for this Project. This review included an on the ground field inspection. A search of the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) for the project area resulted in the known presence of three special status herbaceous plant and several animal species within the project area. These are Castilleja ambigua var. meadii, Trichostema ruygtii, and Erigeron greenei. However, the treatment is confined to removal of shrubs and lower branches of trees and thereby would avoid impact to the herbaceous plants. All these species occur in grassy habitats, whereas treatments will be confined to shrubby and treed locations. No special status animals were found within the project area. No special status species were observed in the field during project planning efforts. The consultant concluded that no significant environmental impact would occur to aesthetics, during project planning efforts. The consultant 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. Documentation of the environmental review completed by the consultant is kept on file at Napa Firewise and the Soda Canton Firesafe Council.
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