Prosser Dam tree removal will be a long process |

Prosser Dam tree removal will be a long process

Court Leve/Sierra Sun file photoIn this June Sierra Sun file photo, Erin Case points out yellow Xs that were marked on trees around her Prosser Dam Road property that were to be cut by Sierra Pacific Power.

With some residents more willing than others to let Sierra Pacific Power cut down trees near power lines on their Prosser Dam Road properties, the removal project is underway.

Eighteen homeowners will be affected by a 90-foot easement for a 120 kV power line that runs through their lots. Sierra Pacific is also looking to clear trees 40 feet from a 60 kV line on homeowners’ property.

In all, hundreds of trees will be removed.

Art Chesterfield, Sierra Pacific vegetation management administrator, said the utility contracted Asplundh Tree company to begin work about two weeks ago. He said the tree removal “will be a process” in order to accommodate area residents.

“It’s a lot of work,” Chesterfield said. “It’s a challenge for them. It’s a challenge for us.”

At a meeting hosted by Sierra Pacific in early June, residents were encouraged to voice their concerns to company officials and ask questions about the need to remove trees. Chesterfield said at the meeting that he would be able to meet individually with homeowners and walk the property to examine the trees spray-painted with bright yellow Xs to be cut down.

He said since that initial meeting he has met with five or six homeowners and looked at each tree on the property to explain why it had to be removed. Chesterfield said there are residents who have not yet met with him.

Bobby Davis, who has lived on Prosser Dam Road for 11 years, said he’d rather deal with the trees himself.

“I told them I’d hop in a bucket and trim my own (trees),” Davis said.

Davis has several quaking aspen trees on his piece of land, many of which line the area underneath the power lines. He said he doesn’t want to see the trees cut down because he enjoys the beautiful fall colors and the privacy the trees provide.

Davis said a tree removal company contracted by Sierra Pacific came out to his property about four years ago and topped a number of trees growing under the power lines.

Chesterfield said the easement from the power lines is necessary for safety reasons, reduces the risk of potential fires and maintains the reliability of service to the company’s customers.

Davis said he’s “willing to make some compromise” and top some of his aspen trees to abide by the easement, but said he doesn’t want to see too many trees taken out because he enjoys his forest surroundings.

Pointing to his neighbor’s fenced yard with two horses peacefully grazing, Davis said a handful of the larger pine trees are marked with X’s. If the trees are removed there would be little shade for the animals, he said.

Many of the residents opted to have the trees cut and stacked as firewood. Chesterfield said Sierra Pacific offered to grind stumps for property owners, which was a concern for livestock owners.

Smaller trees about the size of a Christmas tree won’t be cut down.

Chesterfield said the tree removal along Prosser Dam Road is expected to be finished by October, weather permitting.

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