Murphy Ranch Training Burn


SCH Number
Public Agency
Yolo County Resource Conservation District
Document Title
Murphy Ranch Training Burn
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The project proposes to reduce fuel loading and provide training opportunities for local and state fire agencies. A secondary objective is to reduce populations of medusahead (Elymus caput-medusae) to enhance grazing. To achieve these objectives the project proponent proposes to use broadcast burning within the project boundaries, which encompass 2,542 acres. To help ensure additional control of the medusahead populations, the land manager will apply a seed mixture of grasses and native wildflowers post-fire. Control lines are expected to primarily be wet lines created by fire engines. Heavy equipment will be restricted to existing roads and disc lines maintained by the ranch owners. Additional hand line construction may be necessary in places; this is expected to be minimal. All burning will be performed in accordance with the terms and conditions of a burn permit issued by the Yolo­ Solano Air Management District. Annual burns at this location are anticipated. Work may occur during nesting bird season. If work commences during nesting bird season (February 1st to September 15th) the project area will be surveyed for nesting birds no more than one week prior to operations by a qualified biologist. If nesting birds are located, the Yolo County Resource Conservation District will develop measures that minimize impacts and are consistent with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. A 25-foot buffer will be placed on all watercourses within the project area. Within this buffer: • No vehicles or equipment are permitted except on existing roads (buffer extended to 50 ft for vehicles and equipment). • No handlines are to be constructed. • No ignition devices are to be used. The biological assessment through the California Natural Diversity Database identified potential habitat for Bombus crotchii, a bumble bee under consideration for state endangered species listing, valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus), and the presence of Keck's checkerbloom (Sidalcea keckii), a federally endangered plant species within one mile. Avoidance measures will be followed to protect checkerbloom, beetle, and bumble bee populations. These include: • Water course buffers (listed above). • Pre-implementation surveys for elderberry bushes will be conducted; if found, activities will be modified by creating buffers to prevent impact. • Timing of burns to avoid peak native flower blooming and bumble bee activity season (March 15 -August 15). • Using a piecemeal approach to burn areas to ensure that not all habitat is burned at once. It is important to note that prescribed burning with a low to moderate intensity results in levels of disturbance that are overall beneficial to California native ecosystems. The proposed project would result in minor soil disturbance that is likely to improve the habitat for Keck's checkerbloom and Bombus crotchii populations. Additionally, regular use of prescribed fire in the project area will reduce the likelihood of landscape-wide, high-severity wildfires that result from fuel buildup.

Contact Information

Heather Nichols
Agency Name
Yolo County Resource Conservation District
Job Title
Executive Director
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


Cross Streets
County Road 68 and Highway 16
Parcel #
060-050-09, 060-040-01, 018-500-38, 018-430-074, 184-500-39, 184-500-28, 184-500-25, 184-300-71
State Highways
State Highway 16

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Class 4; California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 15304,
Reasons for Exemption
The project meets the requirements of Class 4 Categorical Exemption (minor alterations to land) Section 15304. Project implementation will result in alterations to the land that are best described as minor in scope, that will not significantly impact the aesthetic of the property, or biological and/or cultural resources, and that do not involve the removal of mature, scenic trees for any purpose. No exceptions apply which would preclude the use of a "Notice of Exemption" for this project. It has been concluded that no significant adverse environmental impacts would occur to aesthetics, agriculture and forest resources, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, energy, geology and soils, greenhouse gas emissions, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, land use and planning, mineral resources, noise, populations and housing, public services, recreation, transportation and traffic, or utilities and service systems.
County Clerk


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