The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”) proposes to thin overstocked conifer stands, prune lower branches to remove hazardous ladder fuels and reduce surface fuels throughout the 460 acre By-Day Creek Ecological Reserve (BDCER) to reduce vertical and horizontal continuity of fuels and remove competition from many small, closely spaced, fire-vulnerable species into a smaller number of resilient larger trees, thereby improving overall fire resiliency.
The proposed treatments are derived from a forest management plan drafted by a registered professional forester in 2023. Specifically, trees 1-16 inches in diameter at breast height (dbh) will be thinned to improve spacing to 10 to 20 feet. The lower limbs of remaining trees will be pruned up to 18 feet high, but less than 50% of live crown. All cut and pre-existing slash material will be removed from a 100-foot buffer of By-Day Creek and all slash generated will be disposed of via pile burning, chipping, mastication or lopped and scattered. Some slash may be used to make wildlife piles at least 200 feet apart.
No new roads will be constructed. Work will be completed by hand crews and low-impact ground-based chippers, mowers, or similar equipment may be used for processing cut material.
Bird clearance surveys will be conducted within 21 days prior to initiating any project activities. Biological and vegetation surveys of the project area will also be conducted within 21 days of any work conducted to evaluate the current site conditions and to assess the presence/absence of special status plant or animal species. If special status plants, wildlife nursery sites, or active nests are found they will be appropriately buffered, or the treatment will be deferred or modified.
Pre-project surveys and project activities will commence in late summer 2023, or as access permits. Operations will continue, based on crew availability, until completed. Pile burning will occur as weather conditions permit.