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Coastal District Update

Flynn Fire rehab and redwood sprouts
Flynn Fire rehab and coastal redwood sprouts

Flynn Fire rehab and coastal redwood sprouts

August 2014, William Morrison, Coastal District Manager –

Coastal Environmental Mitigations

We’ve just finished up on our environmental measures and reporting including erosion control, effectiveness monitoring, water use reporting, Northern Spotted Owl surveys, botanical surveys, permit renewals, and Timber Harvest Plan extensions.  We are in the process of preparing new Timber Harvest Plans on company properties in Humboldt and Mendocino County.

In addition, the company will be contracting road drainage improvement and construction work to be conducted this summer at the White Gulch THP area to ensure the road systems and all protections will be in place when timber harvest activities occur on that property in the near future.

Grazing Improvements

We’ve spent a significant amount of effort and time on working with our existing and potentially new grazing properties in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties.  We’ve done a thorough rangeland analysis and as a result have modified grazing duration and timing to meet preferred capacity thresholds for forage sustainability.

In coordination with our grazing lease contractors, several grants were submitted to the FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service Drought Initiative Grant Program earlier this spring to request funding to improve grazing conditions and avoid overuse. We’re employing strategies such as cross fencing and of water storage facility development to conserve water and avoid overgrazing.  All  requested grant opportunities have recently been confirmed, and we will be implementing and developing these improvements this summer and fall.

Coho Salmon Habitat Enhancement

Another significant amount of good news is that two of the previous Coho Restoration Grant projects which were submitted to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife last year have been recently awarded for implementation this year.

These grant projects are located on company properties at the Old Maguire Ranch for habitat enhancement and improvement of fish passage.  Enhancement of Coho Salmon Habitat will occur along the Upper Noyo River by the addition of large woody debris which will be strategically placed by the California Conservation Corps.

The other grant that was awarded is for the removal of a fish passage barrier located in Olds Creek upstream from the confluence of the Noyo River in addition to the placement of large woody debris along Olds Creek.  Ed Curti and the California Conservation Corps will be contracted to complete this grant work this year as well.

Dead redwood crop tree

Dead redwood crop tree

Post-Fire Reforestation

A recent monitoring and evaluation effort was conducted to examine the preliminary results and success of the reforestation efforts at the Flynn Fire area located on company properties near Comptche.

The area burned in 2012, was salvage logged in 2013, and then planted in redwood in 2014.  Expectations and the level of optimism were significantly low due to the fact that the majority of the area that burned is located on a southern aspect with extremely shallow and hydrophobic soils where the wildfire burned with high intensity.

Previous restoration work and similar reforestation experience suggests that these are the most difficult sites to reforest with redwood due to low soil moisture, low humidity, high temperatures, and high rates of evaporate-transpirational loss occurring within planting stock.

This gave us an opportunity to experiment with different redwood cultivars on this difficult site. Recent observations indicate that as expected, a percentage of the planting stock in the hottest areas of the burn already appear to be stressed.  Fortunately, portions of these drier sites have a significant redwood sprout density to make future timber stands possible. Had we not salvage logged and replanted, those areas would have permanent become dense thickets of brush and poison oak.

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