Forestry and Fire Protection, Department of
Downslope Calming Zone
NOE - Notice of Exemption
This 39 acre fuels reduction-shaded fuel break project will improve the fire safety of a portion of The Sea Ranch subdivision and its neighbors. This treatment will be an extension of the existing fuelbreak along 2 miles of Highway 1 and will help to reduce fuels within the likely path of fires pushed upslope of the highway, reducing fire intensity in those corridors thereby compartmentalizing fires and limiting them from spreading to 199 uphill residences. It will also provide for safer ingress and egress of evacuating residents and emergency response personnel. Additionally, it will increase the protection of local infrastructure; including the water treatment plant, power lines, cable and telephone systems. The Sea Ranch Fire Safe Council jurisdiction is made up of multiple ownerships of multiple acre parcels and The Sea Ranch Association (TSRA) Commons Lands.
The project is located in multiple Treatment Area: portions of private property and "commons land" (owned by TSRA), situated east of Highway 1 in western Sonoma County, less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean. Vegetation in the project area is predominantly redwood and Douglas-fir trees that are competing with overstocked hardwoods (mostly tanoak and pacific madrone) and brush. There are also hedgerow cypress and grasslands near the project area.
Personnel under supervision by a LTO or TSRA Staff crew will use chainsaws, handsaws, a chipper, and/or a masticator (depending on slope) to remove ladder fuels around homes and in key areas, in 10 Treatment Areas totaling 39-acres northeast of Highway 1. Dead and dying trees and shrubs will be removed and remaining trees will be limbed. Overall, slash treatment objectives are to reduce fuel loading and they will meet or exceed the standards for slash disposal in the Forest Practice Rules by the end of the project contract. All debris that is not generated with a masticator, (if available) or chipper will generally be chipped and spread over the landscape near the road or (on steeper slopes) lopped and scattered.
Sections 7, 17, 18
Notice of Exemption
Type, Section or Code
S: 15304, Class 4
Reasons for Exemption
This project fits under portions of 18.36.060 Class 4 Minor Alterations to Land, S:15304
Field review by Matt Greene RPF #2747 confirmed that no exceptions apply which would preclude the use of a Notice of Exemption for this project. 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. Documentation of the environmental review completed by the Department is kept on file at CAL FIRE's St. Helena office.