Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project
Almanor Ranger District, Lassen National Forest


NEW:
Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project Scoping Documents:
Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project Notice of Proposed Action - 12/08/2010
Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project Proposed Action Map 1 - Treatments - 12/08/2010
Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project Proposed Action Map 2 - Fuels - 12/08/2010
Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project Proposed Action Map 3 - Transportation - 12/08/2010
Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project and Almanor Ranger District's Proposed, Planned, Accomplished DFPZ Network (map) - 12/08/2010
Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project - Appendix B - 12/08/2010


Proposal for Collaboration
- October 6, 2009

"The Almanor Ranger District of the Lassen National Forest is beginning development of a possible forest restoration project near Mineral, in Tehama County, California.

The proposed Dry Hills Project area includes approximately 7,000 acres north of the town of Mineral. Past management activities, including fire suppression, which has resulted in accumulated surface and ladder fuels, have led to changes in this forested area. Over time these changes have affected wildlife, watersheds, the distribution of rare plants, and plants unique to the area.

The Almanor Ranger District is proposing to treat approximately 4,700 acres. This action will address a variety of restoration objectives and contribute to the safety of fire fighting personnel, neighboring communities, and the Lassen Volcanic National Park by continuing and enhancing the Defensible Fuel Profile Zone (DFPZ) network."


NEW DOCUMENTS - JANUARY, 2010:
Draft map: Draft Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project Proposal with Aspen and Meadow Information
Draft map: Draft Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project Planned/Accomplished DFPZ Networks
Draft map: Draft Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project Draft Proposed Action
Map: Draft Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project Proposal for RHCA Treatments
Map: Draft Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project Proposal with Individual Stands and Stand Numbers
Map: Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project Proposal for Transportation Changes
Map: Dry Hills Forest Restoration Project Proposal with Wildlife Information
Dry Lake Photos
An Ecosystem Management Strategy for Sierran Mixed-Conifer Forests


Project area maps (October, 2009):
Map One - Proposed Treatment
Map Two
- Proposed Changes to Forest Road System


On July 21 and on October 21, 2009, members of the Battle Creek Watershed Conservancy and the Greater Battle Creek Watershed Working Group participated in LNF-led tours of several proposed Dry Hills Project restoration sites within the Battle Creek watershed.

NEPA Coordinator Blair Halbrooks displays project site map

L to R - Peter Jacobsen, Glenn Graham, Blair Halbrooks, Mark Williams, Jim Smith and Ryan Foote

Fisheries Biologists Steve Tussing (center) and Ryan Foote (right) listen to LNF District Wildlife Biologist Mark Williams describe plans to remove all conifers of less than 29.9 inches (excluding healthy pine) from this 4 acre riparian site to create beneficial conditions for aspen to flourish.

LNF's Dry Hills Project proposal includes replacing this culvert on South Fork Digger Creek. According to the proposal, "The current 5 foot diameter culvert would be replaced with a bottomless arch culvert 12 to 20 feet in diameter. This would be done to decrease the risk of catastrophic failure of the current undersized culvert and provide for aquatic passage in this stream system."

Roads are deemed the number one cause of stream degradation due to sedimentation. Road density in Lassen National Forest is an issue and LNF is currently working with NOAA Fisheries on plans to decommission some roads and improve crossings on others.


Diseased stand of red fir in LNF

Past management practices have resulted in degraded species diversity in areas throughout Lassen National Forest. In many areas, red and white fir dominate stands and prevent the development of other species. Overcrowded stands of fir have become diseased, increasing the potential of catastrophic wildfire in the watershed. Proposed restoration includes thinning to remove small, shade tolerant species such as red and white fir in an effort to achieve forest diversity by promoting shade intolerant species.

The tour of proposed restoration sites included this slope where dead understory litters the ground because sunlight can no longer penetrate the thick fir canopy. The decline in Ponderosa, sugar pine, and other shade-intolerant species is attributed to the encroachment of fir-dominated stands that create dense shade and prevent other seeds from sprouting.

LNF's Dry Hills Project proposal states that "healthy, shade-intolerant pine (ponderosa, sugar, western white, and Jeffrey) and Douglas-fir would be favorably retained over shade tolerant species in all treatments. Although shade tolerant trees, particularly white fir, would be targeted for removal, as a species they would be maintained within the thinning treatments."

The project "would be designed to achieve forest restoration objectives, vegetation fuels objectives including defensible fuel profile zones (DFPZs), watershed restoration (riparian and meadow restoration)."

"The openness of crown fuels, reduced ladder fuels, and low amounts of surface fuel would result in a reduced risk of sustained crown fire. Post-treatment, stands would more closely reflect a Fuel Condition Class I as described in Protecting People and Sustaining Resources in Fire-Adapted Ecosystems, A Cohesive Strategy (Forest Service 2000)."

Aspen clones sprout in the dappled shade of a small clearing


South Fork Digger Creek downstream of a proposed restoration site

"In addition to providing habitat for wildlife, inner zones of RHCAs are important to the process, function, and structure of adjacent aquatic habitats. They buffer delivery of upslope flow and sediment to channels, provide shade to channels, moderate air temperatures, provide stability to channel banks, and deliver large wood to stream channels. The primary objective of the outer zone is to maintain microclimate and protect the inner zone from fire and wind damage. Within the proposed Dry Hills project area, there is a need to provide for continuity of upslope fuel treatment areas and those sensitive areas found within both the inner and outer zones of RHCAs. Treatment of these areas would further progress toward decreasing the risk of catastrophic wildfire, improving overall watershed conditions, and continue to trend toward meeting Riparian Management Objectives (RMOs)."


Diseased stands of fir crowd out species such as aspen, alder and willow in the riparian corridor along South Fork Digger Creek. LNF proposes to encourage the production of aspen clones and other hardwoods at this 4 acre site by removing all firs of less than 29.9 inches in diameter for a distance of up to 200 feet from the most distal aspen tree or shoot.

"Motor vehicle use within meadows, particularly Dry Lake (above), has also had an impact on meadow habitats, leading to ruts that divert water and affect the vegetation."

LNF proposes to reduce vehicle access into the meadow while continuing to support the use of the existing dispersed camp sites, including sufficient parking.


Battle Creek
Watershed Conservancy
P.O. Box 606, Manton, CA 96059


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Revised February 20, 2010