This proposal is to consider the allocation for a grant to the National Forest Foundation (NFF) for a cooperative project with United States Forest Service (USFS), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (LRWQCB) to thin 140 acres of forest, located within the Tahoe National Forest (TNF) 10 miles northeast of Truckee in Nevada County.
The proposed project is located in the Dry Creek Watershed, near the small rural residential development of Hobart Mills, in the Truckee Ranger District of the TNF. The project boundaries lie within the Tahoe Headwaters Treasured Landscapes-Unforgettable Experiences site, defining it as a region of priority for the USFS as well as the NFF to thin forests, prescribe fire,restore meadows, improve water flows, and repair trails.The Dry Creek Watershed is a complex modified landscape caused by early era logging and railroad grades, pockets of high severity historic wildfire with post-fire salvage logging,terracing, and uniform plantings. The watershed is now a mosaic of developed and wi areas, with roadways, residential development, utility corridors for gas, electricity and fiber optics, and reservoir construction and operation. It has also become a popular location for outdoor recreation enthusiasts including equestrians, off-highway vehicle users, mountain bikers, and hikers.
The USFS 2013 Dry Creek Watershed Assessment was conducted to provide an overview of the current condition of the watershed and to consider past activities and impacts. It identified opportunities for restoration actions that would reduce sediment production, improve hydrologic connectivity and function,and improve the overall health and resiliency of the natural resources in the watershed. The Watershed Assessment identified more than 30 specific areas within a 2,772-acre area where improvements to roads, drainage networks, and stream channels would slow or stop erosion. Many of the identified improvements are associated with roads, such as elimination,conversion, relocation, and rehabilitation and have already been completed.
Other recommended improvements, especially those for forest ecosystem (ecological) restoration and watershed improvement projects, have been completed. This project aims to increase the overall forest resiliency to fire, disease, and climate change by increasing heterogeneity (i.e. forest stand diversity), and to identify areas that can be treated by a reintroduction of prescribed fire. The project will also promote wildlife diversity by incorporating untreated areas and snags essential for local populations of terrestrial, aquatic,and sensitive avian indicator species. The watershed enhancements will focus on actions to improve habitat condition, reduce sediment delivery to streams, improve hydrologic function of upland areas, and reduce erosion.
The Wildlife Conservation Board’s (WCB)grant funding will assist with completing the last unfunded unit, 140 acres, within the Dry Creek project area’s 2,772-acres. Specifically, WCB’s funding will support the project by providing additional on-the-ground implementation through contracting to perform hand thinning within a specific 140-acre project unit. This project will restore native vegetation heterogeneity,improve wildlife habitat, reduce uncharacteristic severe wildfire risk, and improve recreational access via tree thinning and fuels reduction activities.
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