This project is being funded by a CAL FIRE, Forest Health Grant utilizing funding from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The project proposes to remove hazardous vegetation in CALFIRE's highest priority areas in Lake County, where Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) fuel loads have created dangerous conditions and increased risk of catastrophic wildfire. Some of the identified fuel loads are a result of previous catastrophic wildfires; the Valley Fire (Sept. 2015) and the Mendocino Complex Fire (July 2018). This treatment plan was developed in concert with Tom Bendure at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The goals of the work are to promote reforestation in an area burned by the Mendocino Complex Fire and to clear hazardous fuel along High Valley Road (see Appendix A for Project Map). To achieve these goals, treatments will include the thinning of brush around planted and naturally regenerating trees to reduce competition for water and light; the removal of dead trees killed by fire and/or beetles; and ladder fuel treatments to reduce the likelihood of another catastrophic wildfire. A shaded fuel break will also be created along High Valley road to both facilitate evacuation for residents along the road and to facilitate access for CalFire and other firefighters into the Mendocino National Forest in the event of another wildfire. The project will reduce and/or remove brush and understory (small) trees, while retaining larger, dominant healthy trees (i.e.,> 16" Diameter at Breast Height) and well-spaced shrubs. Fuel reduction activities will avoid:
• Sensitive habitat, including riparian areas or wetlands.
• Cultural and historic sites.
• Disturbance to individual specimens of rare, threatened, or endangered species.
• Ground disturbance that could result in sediment delivery to watercourses.
Fuel reduction activities will be carried out using a variety of methods including mastication, hand crews, chipping, grazing, hand piling and machine piling, dozers and prescribed burning. Overall ground disturbance will be kept to a minimum and stumps will not be removed or disturbed. No more than 1 cubic meter of soil will be disturbed per acre, in conformance with CAL FIRE's guidelines. Any trees removed will be removed using the Tree Mortality Task Force Guidelines, 2016. No new roads or trails will be constructed. There will be no disturbance of known rare, threatened or endangered species or significant cultural resources.