NCRP RFFC Demonstration Projects and Processes
The intended purpose of the Burning Across Boundaries Project is to support collaborative planning that can enable tribes and partners throughout the North Coast region to work together in utilizing prescribed fire as a tool for achieving long term forest and ecosystem health. The intended result is the broadening and strengthening of a network of tribal fire practitioners with varying degrees of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and fire experience. The proposed project will serve as a model for region-wide peer-to-peer training through the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program.
The Prosper Ridge Prairie Restoration Project is a multi-phase coastal prairie restoration project with the goal or restoring 800 acres of historic native grasslands on Prosper Ridge in the King Range National Conservation Area (KRNCA). This Phase includes mechanical removal of 60 acres of encroaching vegetation, installation of native grass and forb seeds and plugs on project sites, invasive plant removal, and broadcast burning of 200 acres of previously restored project sites. Using other funding sources, over 200 whole trees removed from these grasslands restoration sites will be transported by helicopter to active salmonid and riparian habitat restoration projects adjacent to the Mattole Estuary. Permitting for this phase is complete. These methods and results will be presented in a North Coast grasslands restoration manual intended to provide information to other restoration practitioners and used to scale and replicate this project to other areas.
The purpose of this project is to create a strategic fuelbreaks layer for the NCRP area to inform decision-making during fire suppression and increase opportunities for managed wildfire based on a shared understanding of risk. These Potential Wildfire Operational Delineations (PODs) will be based on Potential Control Locations, Suppression Difficulty Index and Quantitative Wildfire Risk Assessments. Additionally, State and Transition Models (STMs) will be developed for the WKRP Planning area. STMs show how vegetation and fuels change annually and after fires of varying severity. STMs combine cultural and scientific knowledge to quantify vegetation response to fires, allowing managers to understand how fuel management strategies affect natural and cultural resources, carbon storage, landscape and human adaptation to climate change and wildfires.
This project will create a template for state legislation and a “model” County Resource and Habitat Zoning (RHZ) district ordinance(s) utilizing formats similar to the “Williamson” and “Z’berg Forest Taxation Reform“ Acts. The RHZ would be a voluntarily entered zoning district with a ten year, annually self-renewing clause, which would result in greater wildland fire protection to communities, improved riparian and wildlife habitat, reduced non-native invasive species, reduced wildfire acres burned (and reduced carbon emissions), and will complement existing state and federal programs such as CFIP, EQIP and restoration grants. The final products of this effort included: Draft legislative language for RHZ; workshops with stakeholders; Draft model County RHZ District Ordinance; Examples of application of RHZ in three counties- one coastal, one central and eastern; economic costs and benefits of RHZ
The objective of the Siskiyou Prescribed Burning Demonstration Projects is to use these demonstrations to form and train Prescribed Burn Association (PBA) members in three locations in Siskiyou County. There are currently no PBAs in Siskiyou County although preliminary meetings to describe the benefits of forming such an organization have been held and interested parties have been contacted. The Scott River Watershed Center has taken the lead on these meetings and has reached out to the SVRCD to participate in the process representing the Shasta Valley and Mt Shasta areas. The partners plan on creating two or three demonstration projects, one in Scott Valley, as a second reducing juniper encroachment in the Shasta Valley, and the third focused on mixed conifer restoration in neighborhoods in the south county. These projects will be the training ground for members of the various PBAs to learn how to work as a team to achieve restoration burns on the landscape.
The purpose of this demonstration project is to create a North Coast All Hands All Lands Prescribed Fire Team. This team will leverage the skill sets and capacity of federal, state, tribal, and non-governmental partners, to improve forest health and fire resiliency by increasing the use and scale of cooperative prescribed fire across a pilot area within the NCRP region. The goal of this demonstration project is to create an All Hands All Lands structure for interorganizational coordination of personnel, equipment, and project opportunities in a pilot area within the NCRP region in regards to prescribed fire planning and implementation. This project will build more capacity with a skilled workforce, and create an ease of transferring resources from one area to another. This project is innovative in that it is seeking to establish an entirely new business model for sharing resources across organizations and geographies, tackling challenging issues such as professional qualifications recognition, legal liabilities and risk sharing, optimizing the utilization of human and equipment resources, and aggregating the collective capacity to scale implementation in both specific landscapes and across the broader region.
The Dry Creek Rancheria will use approximately 100 acres located in the Alexander Valley as a demonstration project for post burn fuel reduction and re-vegetation management using native plants and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. 50% of the demonstration property was burned in the 2019 Kincade Fire providing a data driven opportunity to teach and monitor impacts from burned versus untreated wildlands and to demonstrate reforestation and fuel treatments in the burned areas to reduce the probability and intensity of future fires. An educational program will be developed to showcase techniques for fire management in the wildland urban interface (WUI).
The Center for Social & Environmental Stewardship will partner with Northern Sonoma County Fire Protection District, the UC Cooperative Extension, Sonoma RCD, and LandPaths to pilot a fire-focused, paid workforce development and training program for underserved youth (ages 16-25). Youth will learn about and implement diverse fuels management strategies, as well as participate in a Wildland Fire Fighter Type 2 Certification course and other educational career-building activities. This project will allow for testing of UCCE’s innovative new web-based geospatial tool, which helps landowners identify, estimate costs for, and prioritize fire fuels management strategies for their unique properties. It will also protect critical high-risk infrastructure, including Lake Sonoma which provides water for 600,000 people, and Dry Creek, a key salmonid spawning stream.
This project will purchase and demonstrate use of a mobile “flame-cap kiln processing kit” containing 6 specialized portable metal kilns, called Ring of Fire kilns, to process forest slash onsite — converting up to 20% of the biomass into biochar that will then be available for improved soil health and carbon sequestration both within the forest and in local agricultural operations. These kilns also significantly reduce smoke pollution compared to typical open burn piles. In addition to the kilns, our proposed mobile system also includes a trailer to haul the kilns from location to location; a tow-behind trailer holding a 1,000-gallon water tank with a hose and sprayer needed to extinguish the fires and additional fire safety; and tools and clothing needed for the field team to manage the burn process. We will demonstrate the value of this approach as an alternative to standard open pile burning practices in several locations. The project will train crews from the California Conservation Corps, the Usal Forest Redwood Company, a network of Native American tribes organized and led by the Potter Valley Tribe in Mendocino County, and from the Scott Valley Watershed Council in the safe use of the kilns and optimal biochar production.
Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc. and Usal Redwood Management Company presentation: Down to Earth – Biomass to Biochar and Storing Carbon in the Forest Soils, March 10, 2021
The Scott River Watershed Council will create a biochar demonstration project on private forested land in the Scott Valley. The project will demonstrate the creation of biochar using innovative large scale and efficient carbonator technology. The demonstration will reduce smoke and greenhouse gasses (GHG) from a fuel reduction treatment on over 80 acres around the City of Etna and create value-added biochar which will be provided to local agricultural producers as a soil amendment. The production of biochar will be evaluated for economic feasibility, quality, scale, and market demand. The project will also include a workshop to introduce scalable biochar production and application to the region.
The project treats extreme fire hazard forest conditions and improves forest health by thinning overstocked stands using a mechanized harvesting system and removing encroaching conifers from adjacent oak woodlands. Approximately 50 to 75 percent of the stems are removed from the overstocked stands while retaining the healthiest trees in a free-to-grow stand condition. Hazardous horizontal and vertical fuel loading resulting from intermingling crowns and stand mortality will be reduced, resulting in resilient, fire-resistant stand conditions and reduced rate of fire spread in the event of a wildfire. Conifers are removed from areas surrounding true oaks to maintain open oak woodlands in which prescribed fire can be safely introduced, further reducing wildfire hazard while improving forage and herbaceous ground cover. Treatment of this stand type is cost prohibitive without funding assistance. The return, in addition to improved forest health and fire resilience, is data describing the economics and true costs of the proposed treatment and merchantable wood product recovery, for broader distribution and review, benefiting public agencies, public lands, tribal lands, and industrial and non-industrial private timberlands.
The Tenmile Creek watershed has a great deal of over-stocked coniferous and hardwood-conifer forests, and also oak woodlands being over-topped by fir trees. Both conditions lead to a build-up of fuels that increase the threat of catastrophic fire, and cause increased tree evapotranspiration that is significantly depleting stream flow. ERRP wishes to promote forest health implementation to thin forests and restore oak woodlands and this project would create a Forest Health Plan template, plans for 12 participating land owners, create demonstration sites, and a watershed scale planning document to prioritize activities. CalFire Climate Change Initiative (CCI) grants are a major potential funding source for forest health improvement, but associated Air Resources Control Board Greenhouse Gas plan protocols require a huge amount of tree-diameter data to calculate carbon savings; which make it cost prohibitive. The ERRP forest health team will devise a new plan template that will be more reliant on remote sensing and drone photos and less labor-intensive and cost-prohibitive.
The project will develop a unique, user-friendly greenhouse gas (GHG) benefit calculator toolkit tailored to the North Coast’s redwood region. No similar tool currently exists. The purpose is to facilitate GHG calculations when applying for funding to implement fuel reduction activities within the Partnership boundary. The toolkit’s standardized inventory methodology and analytical tool will streamline the process of GHG calculation and reduce costs to apply for funding. The tool will analyze several fuel reduction activity types based on pre-modeled forest stands and will comply with methodology required for CCI Forest Heath grant applications. This toolkit allows end-users to produce rigorous GHG modeling results through a cost-effective process and will empower local communities to apply for climate resiliency funding for forestlands on the North Coast.