Big Valley Rancheria Fire Prevention Project


SCH Number
Public Agency
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)
Document Title
Big Valley Rancheria Fire Prevention Project
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The purpose of this project is to reduce wildfire risk and aid in fire suppression activities through fuel reduction treatments around tribal buildings and residences at Big Valley Rancheria. The project area is located on undeveloped tribal property on the southwest shore of Clear Lake, approximately 1.5 miles southeast of Lakeport. The project consists of two treatment units totaling 18 acres. Unit 1 is 13.3 acres and follows along the Rumsey Slough connected to Clear Lake; it is composed of freshwater forest/shrub wetland with valley oaks and dense understory shrubs. Vegetation will be thinned and pruned using manual treatment methods (no off-road heavy equipment or ground disturbance is proposed). Hand crews will employ chainsaws, pole saws, weed whackers, and hand tools to remove small trees, brush, and surface/ground fuels. Live trees (10 inches in diameter or less) will be removed when appropriate. Larger trees will be pruned to provide for a minimum vertical clearance of 8 feet. Access to the treatment area will be by an existing unpaved road and off-road hiking. Slash and debris created by this project will be burned in piles not exceeding 4-feet by 4-feet. Burn piles will not be located in identified sensitive resource areas such as the buffer zone of any watercourse or in the drip line of trees. Unit 2 is 4.7 acres of freshwater emergent wetland composed of patches of smartweed and rough cocklebur, and tule with widely dispersed valley oak and cottonwood trees. Fuel reduction work will consist of broadcast burning whereby fire will be used under a narrow range of climatic conditions to ensure control and follow a seasonal burn window to maximize beneficial effects on the plant and wildlife communities. A mosaic burn pattern is planned with an objective to consume up to 80% of tule thatch. Ignitions in the treatment area will include both interior and perimeter ignitions. Access to the treatment area will be by an existing dirt road, through the neighboring property to the south. Staging areas and control lines are preplanned and will not be made with heavy equipment. A walk-behind mower with metal blades will be employed to mow control lines in the tule. Grass and tule will be mowed and watered to create wet containment lines.

Contact Information

Estelle Clifton
Agency Name
Clifton Environmental LLC
Job Title
Principal & RPF
Contact Types
Project Applicant

Mike Wink
Agency Name
Job Title
Assistant Chief, Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


Northern California
Total Acres
Other Location Info
The project area is located on undeveloped tribal property (Big Valley Rancheria) on the southwest shore of Clear Lake, approximately 1.5 miles southeast of Lakeport

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Class 4/15304 Minor Alterations to Land
Reasons for Exemption
This project meets the requirements of a CEQA Article 19 Class 4 Categorical exemption “Minor Alterations to Land” (Section 15304, Public Resources Code) as the proposed fuel management activities entail understory brush removal, 10” DBH or less tree removal, thinning, pruning, and burning to reduce wildfire threat. Although this project will modify some structural aspects of the vegetation, it will not convert the vegetation type or result in removal of otherwise “healthy, mature, and scenic trees.” Field review by CAL FIRE staff confirmed that no exceptions apply that would preclude the use of a notice of exemption for this project. The Department has concluded that no significant environmental impact would occur to aesthetics, agriculture and forestland/timberland, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, energy, geology and soils, greenhouse gas emissions, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, land use planning, mineral resources, noise, populations and housing, public services, recreation, transportation/ traffic, utilities and service systems, or to wildfire. Documentation of the environmental review completed by the Department is kept on file at CAL FIRE Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit, 1199 Big Tree Road, St. Helena, CA 94574.


Disclaimer: The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) accepts no responsibility for the content or accessibility of these documents. To obtain an attachment in a different format, please contact the lead agency at the contact information listed above. You may also contact the OPR via email at or via phone at (916) 445-0613. For more information, please visit OPR’s Accessibility Site.

Download CSV New Search Print