Forest

Madera Projects - Southern Sierra All Lands Recovery and Restoration Project (SSARRP) (8GG18655)

In August of 2019, Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council (YSRCDC), was awarded $4.1 million in funding for the Madera Projects – Southern Sierra All Lands Recovery and Restoration Project (Madera SSARRP) which is a fuel reduction, reforestation, Lidar acquisition and planning project. Through multiple sub-projects, implemented by a diverse set of partners, Madera SSARRP takes an all-lands, landscape-scale approach to improve the administration and resilience of watersheds in the southern Sierra.

Y/SRC&DC continued project management of all aspects of 18655 including coordination of partners, reports, & meetings Project 2-4: Collection agreement updated. French Fire RFP developed, sent to contractors, & contractor selected. 240,000 seedlings planted (980 acres) Project 6: UW processed the original planned preliminary release of the lidar data from the USGS in December into lidar metrics. Under a data use agreement, we have shared these products with a number of agencies and stakeholders. UW continues to work with Cal Fire’s FRAP team and other collaborators to plan studies to analyze the drivers and results of burn severity patterns. UW continues development of tools and methods to be used to analyze the SSARR lidar data to support management activities. UW has completed a critical method to evaluate the SSARR lidar for forest studies through detection of standing tree mortality (snags). Three researchers in Dr. Kane’s lab worked to map snags with an expected completion date of early-to-mid fall. UW conducted 2 of a series of 3 online workshops to demonstrate new tools and resources for examining lidar-derived forest structure and condition. The first two workshops were held in late January (Optional SSARR Lidar Pre-Workshop: ArcGIS Online and accessing data) and Feb 3 (SSARR Lidar Workshop – Part 1). A third workshop is planned for May 12(SSARR Lidar Workshop – Part 2). Announcements for all 3 workshops have been shared widely with collaborators and stakeholders from local, regional, state and federal agencies and organizations. Continued to prepare a data set to analyze the patterns and causes of the burn patterns for the 2020 Creek Fire. We have begun the processing of the lidar data and NAIP imagery to map the distribution of standing dead trees (snags) across the project area. UW continues development of tools and methods to be used to analyze the SSARR lidar data to support management activities.

Project Administration & Coordination

YSRCDC provides overall management and coordination for the sub-projects described below

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Fuel Reduction

Fuel reduction treatments on public lands, implemented by the U.S. Forest Service Bass Lake Ranger District. The project area encompasses the French Fire burn area, Whiskey Ridge, and Kinsman Flat area in Eastern Madera County. When the North Fork power plant comes online, it will use woody biomass removed from Whiskey Ridge.

Status: Implementation planned for summer 2021.

Ecological Monitoring

Ecological monitoring implemented by the U.S. Forest Service Bass Lake Ranger District to evaluate reforestation and fuels management treatment effectiveness and validate Lidar data.

Status: Monitoring is planned for summer 2021 but unpredictable due to Creek Fire impacts.

Environmental Planning

Environmental planning for forest health projects in the area impacted by the Mission Fire (2017). The North Fork Rancheria (NFR) is working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to analyze the project area for forest fuels reduction, prescriptive fire, pest management, and reforestation.

Status: The NFR has selected a firm for the environmental planning and will move forward after contract signature.

Madera SSARRP

Funding for this project is provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of the California Climate Investments Program.

The Madera Projects – Southern Sierra All Lands Recovery and Restoration Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment —particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are located within and benefiting residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website at: www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.

Reforestation

Reforestation on approximately 1,250 acres within the French Fire burn area, implemented by the U.S. Forest Service Bass Lake Ranger District.

Status: Reforestation took place during the spring and early summer of 2020.  Unfortunately, the Creek Fire (2020) burned extremely hot through the project area and killed most of the planted seedlings.  Re-planting planned for spring 2021.

Climate Informed Framework

Development of a climate science informed framework through the collaboration of American Forests, the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) and the USDA California Climate Hub. This framework will be applied to planned and future restoration treatments to create forests resilient to climate change in the southern Sierra.

Status: Climate Informed Framework process with Bass Lake Ranger District complete.  Next steps and future partner meetings are being developed.

Lidar Acquisition & Analysis

Lidar acquisition and analysis of over 1 million acres in Mariposa, Madera and Fresno counties, implemented through a collaboration between the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Washington, Forest Resilience Lab (UW).

Status: The USGS used Lidar (which stands for Light Detection And Ranging) on aerial flights over the project footprint during the summer of 2020, right before the Creek Fire. The UW team processed an emergency release of this Lidar data to support Creek Fire response efforts.  The UW team then received the originally planned preliminary release of the Lidar data in December 2020. The UW team is developing Lidar tools, maps, and analyses to support and inform planning efforts for forest health and public safety.