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Lassen National Forest Partnering with Sierra Institute for Shared Stewardship Projects

Friday, September 13th, 2019

The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, on behalf of the South Lassen Watersheds Group and in partnership with the Lassen National Forest, was awarded funding provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of the California Climate Investments Program.

The Almanor Ranger District is partnering with the Sierra Institute and the SLWG to plan and implement these projects using collaborative authorities and a variety of techniques to mitigate catastrophic wildfire risk, increase carbon sequestration, and improve forest and watershed function across the groups focus area – a 600,000-acre multi-jurisdictional landscape.

The two current Lassen N.F. projects stemming from this partnership are the Robbers Creek/Mini Aspen Project (Robbers/Mini Project) and West Shore Community Wildfire Protection Project (West Shore Project).

In addition to improving overall forest and watershed health, the Robbers/Mini Project has an objective of improving stream and meadow system function and the West Shore project aims to protect communities from catastrophic wildfire while also improving recreation access and experience.

The desired outcomes for both projects are stand density reductions which will better mimic historical conditions, improved growing conditions for fire resilient conifers throughout each age class, and improved structural/landscape heterogeneity with the potential to improve carbon storage and resilience to environmental stressors.

The environmental assessment for the Robbers/Mini Project is being completed as a cooperative effort between the Lassen N.F., the Sierra Institute, and Forest Creek Restoration Inc. They will analyze the potential effects of fuels reduction and meadow restoration treatments within the project area.

The activities being evaluated to achieve these objectives include; reduction of meadow encroachment by removal of competing conifers, temporary fencing to exclude grazing in aspen stands until aspen establishment has occurred, improvement of channel incision using beaver dam analogs, and the alteration of riffles (shallow, rocky portion of stream with rough water) to reduce erosion.

“Collaborative projects such as these allow us to effectively engage diverse stakeholders and build the capacity to achieve landscape scale forest and watershed restoration in a timely manner, said Sierra Institute Collaborative Forestry Program Manager, Kyle Rodgers.”

On the west shore of Lake Almanor, the Lassen N.F., Sierra Institute, and key partners will analyze the potential effects of forest health and fuels reduction treatments as part of the West Shore Project. The objectives are to improve forest health and stand structure, reduce the risk of large-scale high severity fire, improve resiliency of communities within the wildland-urban interface to future fire events, ensure carbon sequestration benefits, retain wildlife habitat, and improve recreation experiences through facilities and access improvements.

“Taking preventive measures through these projects with a diversity of partners will not only benefit the ecological system but also allows us to cross jurisdictions to cover more acres,” said Deb Bumpus, Forest Supervisor.

This area acts as the headwaters for the State Water Project, provides critical wildlife habitat for threatened and endangered species, and has in recent years, experienced high severity wildfire. By working with the South Lassen Watersheds Group, a local collaborative promoting landscape scale projects on public (Lassen and Plumas National Forests, Lassen Volcanic National Park) and private lands, the Lassen National Forest is engaging diverse partners on these projects including private industry, other federal agencies, Tribes, and non-governmental organizations to increase the pace and scale of forest and watershed restoration.

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