Slinkard-Little Antelope Wildlife Area Browse Protection and Enhancement

Summary

SCH Number
2018038169
Lead Agency
Fish & Widlife 6 I/M (California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Region 6 I/M)
Document Title
Slinkard-Little Antelope Wildlife Area Browse Protection and Enhancement
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Received

Document Description
CDFW proposes to complete a re-treatment of an existing vegetation management project with assistance from CA Conservation Corps work crews. The project is designed to protect and enhance browse conditions for wintering mule deer within a 4,100-acre project area located on the Slinkard-Little Antelope Wildlife area in Mono County, CA. The primary objectives of the project are to: 1) protect remaining mixed stands of antelope bitterbrush and big sagebrush from catastrophic wildfire by eliminating continuous brush and pinyon pine fuel conditions; and 2) increase browse production by reducing pinyon pine competition and encroachment. The project will focus on re-treating approx five mi of fuel break created in 2009 along existing two-track roads located within the 4,100 acre project area. Fuel breaks are considered necessary to protect remnant bitterbrush stands from catastrophic wildfire by eliminating continuous brush and pinyon pine fuel conditions. The fuel breaks will decrease the risk of habitat loss from a wind-driven fire event. The project area is located within critical winter range for the West Walker deer herd. Since 1980, over 40,000 acres of important winter and transition habitat have burned within the West Walker deer herd range, including approx 12,000 acres of critical winter range habitat located in and immediately adjacent to Slinkard Valley. Approx 2,200 acres of high quality antelope bitterbrush habitat has been destroyed by fire. Antelope bitterbrush is preferred by wintering mule deer b/c it is high in crude protein and easily digestible. This project will help protect and enhance some of the last remaining un-burned bitterbrush habitat and important winter browse in the western portion of the West Walker herd winter range.

Contact Information
Alisa Ellsworth
California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Region 6 I/M
787 N. Main St, Suite 220
Bishop, CA 93514

760-872-1173

Location

Counties
Mono

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
15304
Reasons for Exemption
The project is 15304; the project will result in minor alterations to CDFW land and vegetation on an officially designated Wildlife Area to benefit wildlife and wildlife habitat resources. The project will not result in the taking of endangered, rare, or threatened plant or animal species or significant erosion and sedimentation of surface waters.
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