The Mid Klamath Watershed Council is proposing the Western Klamath Landscape Fuels Reduction and Forest Health Project (project) which would include vegetation treatments on 31,234 acres of private State Responsibility Area (SRA) lands in western Siskiyou and eastern Humboldt counties (project area). The project consists of ecological restoration and wildland-urban interface (WUI) fuel reduction treatment types and the proposed treatment activities are prescribed burning, mechanical treatments, and manual treatments. The CEQA lead agency is the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE); its discretionary approval is the issuance of Forest Health Grant funding to implement treatments within a portion of the project area. CAL FIRE has prepared a Project-Specific Analysis and Addendum (PSA/Addendum) for the project as a later activity covered by the California Vegetation Treatment Project (CalVTP) Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Mid Klamath Watershed Council is the “implementing entity” reflecting its role as the lead implementer of treatments.
The project consists of vegetation treatments in the western Klamath Mountains within and adjacent to the 1.2-million-acre planning area of the Western Klamath Restoration Partnership. The elevation of the project area ranges from approximately 400 to 7,200 feet. The current conditions in the project area include overstocked forests, dense shrublands, and meadows that have been degraded and as a result are experiencing conifer, hardwood, and shrub encroachment. Proposed treatments aim to increase biodiversity, ecosystem health, and climate resilience by recreating pre-suppression vegetation distribution to establish functioning, resilient, heterogeneous forests and meadows at multiple scales and process-based restoration through fire. Vegetation removed during implementation of the proposed treatments would be processed through mastication, chipping and scattering, piling and burning, and lopping and scattering. Invasive plant and noxious weed biomass would be treated onsite to eliminate seed and propagules or would be disposed of offsite at an appropriate waste collection facility to prevent reestablishment or spread of invasive plants and noxious weeds. Invasive plants and noxious weeds would not be chipped and spread, scattered, or mulched on site.