Rainbow Ridge Forest Restoration Demonstration Project
What projects are being done on Rainbow Ridge?
A CalFire Fuel Break on the north ridge and a Forest Restoration Demonstration Project on the southern portion of the property. These are two separate projects, the first being headed by CalFire and the second being coordinated by the Shasta Valley RCD.
Why is the Forest Restoration being done?
Forests along Rainbow Ridge are heavily overstocked, resulting in weaker, sicker trees, crowded out habitat, and an increased risk of catastrophic fire.
What does Forest Restoration mean?
Research indicates that this area at one point was subject to frequent, low intensity fires as a part of the natural ecosystem. Since the suppression of fire, fuels, including overcrowded young trees, overgrowth of brush and dead and down trees and branches have built up. Forest restoration aims to mimic historic fire influenced patterns to the forest.
This ends up being a “skips and gaps” method of forestry where heterogeneous pockets of trees of various ages are retained in groups. This means that within a small area, you will have groups of dense, very young trees, areas of more spaced middle aged trees, some clusters of much older trees, as well as meadows/cleared areas, and clumps of brush. These openings make it easier for wildlife to travel through and access food, while separating types of fuels so that if a fire comes through, its access to the tops of large trees (resulting in a difficult to fight crown fire) will be hampered.
Who is doing the Forest Restoration work?
The Shasta Valley RCD is working with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the College of the Siskiyous (COS), the USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) and the local chapter of the Audubon to do various portions of the project. The landowner, Thamar Wherrit, will be involved at every step and will have the final say in every matter.
NRCS will be doing initial inventories of the project area to determine species, density, fuel loads and more. This will provide the baseline for activities. We will be utilizing the research of the USFS PSW to inform and review the prescription. COS will be involved with initial road inventories and marking the prescription. Students from COS will be doing this work under the guidance of their instructor(s). The Audubon will be involved with avian surveys from both before and after the project.
How will I be affected?
Benefits: Improved fire resilience, an opportunity to view and tour forest restoration in action and ask questions along the way.
Impacts: Potential increased traffic during project implementation on Wyheka Way in Mount Shasta.
Will I be required to do anything?
No, but the Shasta Valley RCD encourages you to stay informed about the project and welcomes any questions or comments about the process.