Comments sought for meadow restoration project
Special to the Tribune
The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) is seeking public input on the Restoration of Fire Adapted Ecosystems project. Under the proposal, six impaired meadows in the Lake Tahoe Basin would be restored using a combination of tree removal, prescribed fire, stream channel repair, planting of vegetation and re-routing trails.
Healthy meadows are essential to the Lake Tahoe watershed. They filter sediment from water flowing into Lake Tahoe and provide important habitat for many plant and animal species. Meadows are often close to recreational facilities, such as trails and campgrounds and are valued for their scenic qualities.
Between 2000 and 2011, the LTBMU evaluated the health of 37 meadows around the Basin. Baldwin, Benwood, Freel, Hellhole, Meiss and Star meadows were selected for restoration based on their impaired condition due to past land uses such as grazing, changes in stream channel flow (both natural and manmade), Lodgepole pine encroachment, fire suppression and recurring drought. Project work would restore these impaired meadows and aid in their ability to respond to Climate Change by restoring a natural fire regime and repairing past damage.
The draft Environmental Assessment (EA) analyzes two alternatives, the No-Action Alternative and the Proposed Action, Alternative 2. Under Alternative 2, trees would be removed from approximately 228 acres and 359 acres would be thinned. Crews would remove trees and complete thinning by hand. Prescribed fire operations would take place on approximately 1226 acres. Roughly three miles of stream channel would be restored and willows planted on approximately 22 acres. Two segments (totaling 2.2 miles) of the Pacific Crest Trail through Meiss Meadow would be rerouted out of the meadow. Meiss Cabin Corral would be rebuilt utilizing Lodgepole pine removed from Meiss Meadow. Reconstructing the corral would allow pack animals visiting the area the opportunity for daytime or overnight stays.
Project work could begin as early as summer 2015.
The draft EA is available for viewing at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/FireAdaptedEcosystems.
The Forest Service will accept comments for 30 calendar days following the publication of the opportunity to comment legal notice in the Tahoe Daily Tribune on Jan.7, calculated to be Feb.6. For more information on the project and how to comment, visit the link above or contact Matt Dickinson at 530-543-2769, or email email@example.com.
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