Placer County continues work on French Meadows restoration project
Placer County, along with the U.S. Forest Service will continue restoration efforts at the French Meadows reservoir, 30 miles south of Soda Springs, with plans to treat over 3,800 acres of forest this year.
“We’ve done a lot of work right around the lake. Now we’re going to begin working our way out,” said Brett Storey of the Placer County Department of Public Works. “This year we’ve got larger, more aggressive planning going.”
This year they expect to remove 9 million board feet of timber, three times the amount removed last year, and 15,000 green tons of biomass that will be chipped, hauled and used for energy production.
In 2019 workers treated 1,066 acres of forest, removing over 3 million board feet of timber which was sold to Sierra Pacific Industries and over 4,000 green tons of biomass.
Over 18 miles of road improvements were also completed.
Last year they completed over 440 acres of mechanical thinning and hazard tree removal, producing over $1 million in timber revenue.
“You can actually see through the forest now,” said Storey. “And it’s going to be much more healthy, much better for water supply and all the animals.”
Crews completed 300 acres of mastication, or grinding brush and spreading it around, in an area where the Star Fire burned in 2001.
“The forest service replanted and those trees are struggling because all the brush has grown back and those little trees don’t get enough sunlight and resources,” said Storey. “One of the prescriptions we have is to grind all that material and make it easier for those trees to get that solid foundation so it becomes a forest again.”
Last year the county worked with the California Conservation Corps to hand thin over 225 acres of forest. Storey said the corps did not charge the county any money and agreed to split the charge this year.
“(The state) is continually trying to find ways to help us clean up our forests,” he said.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.