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Fuel Break Project in Eastern Fresno County to Begin Soon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Robert Hopkins Yosemite Sequoia RC&D Council Phone: (559)877-8663 Email: rhopkins@ysrcandd.org

Fuel Break Project in Eastern Fresno County to Begin Soon

A Fuel break project to reduce hazardous fuels downslope from communities

[Prather, California April 6, 2020 —] Work is expected to begin this summer on the Blue Rush Site Preparation and Stand Maintenance Project, a shaded fuel break in Blue Canyon downslope from several communities including Shaver Lake, Cressman’s, Pineridge and Dinkey Creek in eastern Fresno County. This project is supported by a grant-funded partnership between the High Sierra Ranger District of the Sierra National Forest (SNF) and Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council (YSRCDC), who were awarded $999,960 in funding from Sierra Nevada Conservancy. The SNF and contractors will perform fuels treatments on at least 350 acres and create a shaded fuel break to protect upslope communities and infrastructure. Dead and dying trees, from drought and bark beetle mortality, will be felled and removed or piled. Live trees will be thinned to reduce forest density and increase resilience. Once completed, these treatments will also create a burn unit that can be used to treat an additional 900 acres through prescribed fire with the correct burning conditions and parameters. The Blue Rush Site Preparation and Stand Maintenance Project will have multiple positive impacts through the mitigation of wildfire within the Big Creek and upper Kings River watershed such as, increased public safety of community’s upslope of the project area, the protection of wildlife habitats and sustaining carbon sequestration. To downstream users, the Kings River watershed is a vital resource for farmland irrigation, recreation and hydropower. The Blue Rush Site Preparation and Stand Maintenance Project is part of several larger restoration plans, including the larger Blue Rush Project, the Dinkey Landscape Restoration Project (DLRP), and the Sierra Resilient Landscapes. The Blue Rush Project was created by the SNF in response to high levels of insect-related tree mortality to reduce hazardous fuels, mitigate hazardous trees, and improve forest health in Blue Canyon through reforestation. The project area encompasses approximately 4,837 acres. The DLRP is a science-based ecological restoration strategy that covers 154,000 acres in the southern Sierra Nevada within Fresno County. The DLRP aims to create resilient ecosystems and enhance the ability to adapt to wildfire. It promotes fire resilience, public and firefighter safety, key habitat for sensitive species, proper watershed function, healthy ecosystem processes, and landscape diversity. Sierra Resilient Landscapes is a proposed project that includes a balanced application of forest fuels reduction, pest management, biomass utilization, and reforestation. This project applies science-based restoration treatments that are anticipated to stabilize forest carbon stocks at a landscape scale. Funding for this project has been provided by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, an agency of the State of California, under the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) grant cycle and in support of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program. The Yosemite/Sequoia RC&D Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to natural resource conservation and economic development. The Council service area includes the rural and foothill communities of Fresno, Madera, Mariposa and Tulare counties.

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