Fuels Reduction and Burn Area restoration for Wildfire Resilience in Sonoma County

Summary

SCH Number
2021060144
Public Agency
California State Coastal Conservancy (SCC)
Document Title
Fuels Reduction and Burn Area restoration for Wildfire Resilience in Sonoma County
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Received
Posted
6/7/2021

Document Description
The Conservancy Board authorized disbursement of up to $150,000 to LandPaths to conduct approximately 60 acres of fuels reduction and burn area restoration on the Bohemia Ecological Preserve, Riddell Preserve, Rancho Mark West Preserve, and Ocean Song Preserve properties in Sonoma County. The four preserves are owned and stewarded by LandPaths, a Sonoma County nonprofit organization. While each LandPaths preserve has unique habitat features and management histories (see Site Description below), they have each experienced recent wildfire impacts. Heading into another severe wildfire season, the preserve properties will be made more resilient to wildfire through implementation of the following forest health and wildfire management activities: fuels reduction focusing on grasses, broom, coyote brush, and small trees; forest thinning to reduce sub-canopy Douglas fir cover; creation and maintenance of shaded fuel breaks on existing road systems within forested areas of the preserves; and establishment of defensible space around existing critical structures on the preserves. Work will primarily be conducted by hand using loppers and hand saws and access to work areas will be by foot or on roads. The majority of the work will occur on the Bohemia and Riddell Preserves, which have not burned in recent years. Two of the LandPaths preserves experienced particularly severe wildfire impacts in 2020: 75% of the Riddell Preserve and over 80% of Rancho Mark West burned in the Walbridge and Glass fires respectively. These burned areas pose an increased fire risk as standing/dead/dying vegetation from prior wildfire serves as ladder fuel. The proposed project will conduct post-fire recovery and restoration within portions of these burned areas by removing dead and dying vegetation from the 2020 fires, chipping on-site material, and introducing fungal mycelium inoculated wood chips as needed for increasing soil moisture and available carbon in burn-scarred areas. Additionally, the project will remove flammable nonnative species that are highly adapted to spread into fire disturbed areas and create further fire fuels. Removal of these invasives and restoration actions will promote growth of native plant cover that does not pose such high fire risk and, once established, can outcompete invasive plant cover.

Contact Information
Julia Elkin
California State Coastal Conservancy
Lead/Public Agency
1515 Clay Street, Floor 10
Oakland, CA 94612

Phone : (510) 286-0736
julia.elkin@scc.ca.gov

Location

Counties
Sonoma
Regions
Northern California
Other Location Info
The project area consists of 60 acres across four preserves owned and managed by LandPaths; two in West Sonoma County (Ocean Song Preserve and Bohemia Ecological Preserve) and two in North Sonoma County (Riddell Preserve and Rancho Mark West Preserve).

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
15304; 15269
Reasons for Exemption
Section 15304 (Minor Alterations) exempts projects that consist of minor alterations in the condition of land, water, and/or vegetation which do not involve removal of healthy, mature, scenic trees except for forestry and agricultural purposes. Section 15269 (Emergency Projects) exempts emergency projects, including: emergency repairs to serviced facilities necessary to maintain service essential to the public health, safety, or welfare, including those repairs that require a reasonable amount of planning to address and anticipated emergency; and specific actions necessary to prevent or mitigate an emergency.
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