SONORA, CALIFORNIA – Sierra and Stanislaus National forests are hosting a public engagement session Aug. 12 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., to gather information on a resiliency project within the national forests.
Participants will help develop the proposed action for a new large-landscape vegetation project.
SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST
1600 Tollhouse Road
Clovis, CA 93611
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
RSVP to (559) 297-0706
STANISLAUS NATIONAL FOREST
19777 Greenley Road
Sonora, CA 95370
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
RSVP to (209) 532-3671
Participants are asked to call the national forest office where they wish to join the discussion and RSVP so each meeting knows how many participants to plan for. Once participants have RSVP’d, each forest will share pre-work materials with attendees.
Moving Toward Resiliency within the Mokelumne to Kings Landscape project, known as MOTOR M2K, is a vegetation management project that will help move both forests further toward becoming more resilient ecosystems. Participants will assist team members from both forests to develop the proposed action for the environmental analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. Discussion topics will help identify possible conditions where actions such as salvage logging, the California Spotted Owl conservation strategy, treatments in wilderness or roadless areas, or herbicides, should be considered under the proposed action.
The meeting will begin with a joint session at both forests simultaneously, with a presentation about MOTOR M2K and the framework the Forest Service is currently considering for the project and guidelines for how the discussion session will be conducted. Both forest meetings will discuss the same question in separate locations and rejoin for a joint discussion of items identified during the separate group discussions.
“This project represents a new approach to increasing resiliency on our national forests at a pace and scale that is needed to address the threat of wildfire and tree mortality,” said Michael Jow, project co-lead for MOTOR M2K. “To be successful, we need all our partners in the community to participate in the collaborative process that we will implement and monitor over the next 10 or 15 years,” he added.
The forests’ landscapes continue to be greatly modified by fire, insects, disease and drought – leaving a less healthy and less resilient system. The goal of this project is to change that trajectory.
“This is the first large landscape project in the California region,” said Jason Kuiken, Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor. “Both the Sierra and the Stanislaus need to become more resilient, but it’s a big project – one that needs a large footprint to be effective and efficient. That’s why we’re designing a new way of restoring the balance of prescribed fire and other treatments on the landscape. To do so, we need each participant to bring their education, experience and capacity to this project. The challenges before us are many, but with our collective dedication, we believe we can overcome those challenges.”
Dean Gould, Sierra National Forest Supervisor, sees the new large-landscape project as a good step to help bring the Sierra National Forest closer to resiliency. “The Sierra was one of the forests suffering a terrible blow from the bark beetle infestation. Our location in the Sierra Nevada seemed to be a sweet spot for bark beetles – we have many hazard trees that need to be removed, and MOTOR M2K looks like an excellent tool for us to regroup and revitalize both forests, since the Stanislaus was also devastated by the beetle infestation.”
In just over 30 years, the Sierra and Stanislaus national forests have experienced extensive loss of their mature forests. In 2013, when the Rim fire devastated the landscape, it was the largest fire recorded in the Sierra Nevada, and the third largest in California. Just five years later, it now ranks fifth in California, surpassed by the Thomas Fire in 2017 and by the Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018. Wildfires have been growing increasingly larger, more intense and costlier, and most scientists and managers see this trend continuing. MOTOR M2K is designed to create greater resiliency on the Sierra and Stanislaus national forests.