East Shore Lake Tahoe fuels reduction plan for public review | TahoeDailyTribune.com

East Shore Lake Tahoe fuels reduction plan for public review

Provided to the Tahoe Daily Tribune

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on a proposal to reduce hazardous fuels and restore forest health near several communities on Lake Tahoe’s East Shore.

Forest Service officials expect the proposal to be released later this week and will host two public meetings on Tuesday, March 31, 2009, to explain the proposal and answer questions.

The meetings will use an open-house format, with brief presentations at 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The location is the Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District, Station 3, 193 Elks Point Road, Zephyr Cove, Nev. In between the presentations, meeting attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the project in more detail at information stations, ask questions and submit comments.

Under this project, the Forest Service would treat excess fuels on National Forest System lands within the wildland-urban interface (WUI). The Spooner project encompasses the communities of Logan Shoals, Cave Rock, Skyland and Glenbrook. The LTBMU coordinated with the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District to identify areas for fuels reduction that coordinate with the Community Wildfire Protection Plans.

The proposal includes mechanical treatment on up to 365 acres, with materials removed either as sawlogs, or by chipping or masticating, piling and burning or removal as biomass. Up to 3,025 acres would be treated by hand using chain saws. In much of this area, the steepness of the slopes would necessitate crews going back into the unit multiple times to sufficiently reduce fuels. Because of this, follow-up prescribed fire treatments may take up to ten years to fully complete, although most of the forest thinning would be finished within 3-5 years.

The Forest Service proposes partial treatment of one 75-acre unit through cable yarding, in which logs are fully or partially suspended. If monitoring results from this type of treatment are favorable, the Forest Service may use this method in other units. All units would receive at least one follow-up prescribed fire treatment. In addition, the proposal calls for restoring aspen on 60 acres by thinning conifers that are encroaching on aspen stands.

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Comments on the proposal will be accepted for 30-days after the proposal release date. Check the LTBMU website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/ltbmu/projects to obtain the full proposal when it is released or contact Duncan Leao at (530) 543-2600.