City of St. Helena Defensible Space and Fuels Management Plan


SCH Number
Public Agency
City of St. Helena
Document Title
City of St. Helena Defensible Space and Fuels Management Plan
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The City of St. Helena proposes to implement the Defensible Space and Fuels Management Plan, which identifies defensible space creation through fuel management activities as well as restoration efforts. The St. Helena Fuels Assessment and Treatment Plan area consists of seven project locations; six are located around the City center and one is located at the Bell Canyon Reservoir and water treatment plant. Proposed treatment activities would be designed to manage the wildfire-impacted vegetation on the hillsides surrounding the Bell Canyon Reservoir, with an attention to managing invasive vegetation and minimizing the risk of erosion on the slopes surrounding the reservoir. The treatment areas include: the Bell Canyon Reservoir, the Stonebridge water treatment plant and water tanks located south of the reservoir, the Valve House, sections of Big Rock Road, Pope Street, and Pratt Avenue, and areas from the Glass Fire Edge Fantesca Winery to Spring Street (Figures 1.1-1.7). All of the treatment sites encompass an area of approximately 50 acres. Proposed treatments would remove hazard trees, reduce ladder fuels, dead, dying, and diseased fuels, and brush in the project area. Vegetation management activities would be conducted using hand crews with weed whips, chain saws, and hand tools. Cut woody material would be chipped, and chipped material would be spread back onto the treatment site where possible. Chipped material would not be spread into riparian areas or within 15 feet of a building. Certain treatment sites like the Bell Canyon Water Treatment Plant would be more suitable for mechanical equipment use including a mini- excavator. No grading or new access roads would be required to facilitate proposed vegetation management activities. Fuel reduction treatments would occur within 150 feet of water infrastructure access roads. Proposed vegetation treatments would reduce wildfire risk in the area and increase community resilience by improving the safety of the roads and surrounding structures (including 1881 Big Rock Road from Howell Mountain Road to Brittany Lane, Old Howell Mountain Road, Pope Street, and Pratt Avenue) and abutting local streets as evacuation routes as well as transportation routes or potential staging areas for emergency personnel and equipment during a wildfire. Additionally, proposed treatments would result in improved ecosystem health and vigor by clearing out dead/dying/diseased plant material and refuse. Furthermore, the project would increase visibility along the project roadways and access roads, which would assist emergency personnel when responding to vehicle accidents or other roadside incidents; around the city and at the critical water facilities (including the reservoir and water treatment plant).

Contact Information

Mandy Kellogg
Agency Name
City of St. Helena
Job Title
Administrative Services Director
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


St. Helena
Cross Streets

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Article 19, CEQA Guidelines Sections 15301(c); 15301(h); 15304(i)
Reasons for Exemption
The project would involve minor alterations to existing vegetation to reduce fuel loads within the City of St. Helena and the Bell Canyon Reservoir. Proposed treatments would improve access along the city roads and critical water infrastructure roads for use as evacuation routes or potential staging areas for emergency responders and equipment during a wildfire. Project will require minor vegetation removal adjacent to the roads and structures. Vegetation treatment prescriptions are in line with standard practices and will be approved by the City of St. Helena prior to implementation. The activities will not result in the taking of endangered, rare or threatened plant or animal species or significant erosion or sedimentation of surface waters. Resource avoidance measures consistent with those identified in the Archaeological Assessment and Biological Resources Analysis completed for the project would be implemented to ensure the project would not result in impacts to the environment.
County Clerk


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