Rick Hopson, Amador District Ranger will be making a presentation on the planned Caples Ecological Restoration Project which will utilize prescribed fire. The Caples Creek watershed is located approximately 30 miles east of Placerville, California and encompasses portions of Alpine, Amador and El Dorado counties. It is more than 20,000 acres in size and primarily managed by the Eldorado National Forest (ENF). Fire suppression over the past century has increased fuel accumulation, decreased forest health and resilience, and increased the time between natural fires in the watershed. Lengthening of fire return intervals has led to significant increases in fuel loading, tree density, canopy cover, and snag density as well as shifts in species composition. These conditions have greatly increased the risk of high intensity wildfires that could have significant effects on water quality during a post-fire recovery period.
The Caples Ecological Restoration Project environmental analysis that was conducted by the interdisciplinary team analyzed approximately 8,800 acres of prescribed burning within the Caples Creek watershed, which included approximately 4,400 acres in the lower elevations (western portion of the project area) and 4,400 acres of vegetative island burning in the higher elevations (eastern portion of the project area). This project would re-introduce fire back into the landscape to improve forest health and fire resiliency, meadow and aspen ecosystems, and wildlife habitat. Approval to implement the Caples project was signed in February, 2016 and will be implemented over the next several years.
Rick Hopson is the District Ranger for the Amador Ranger District, the southern-most district of the Eldorado National Forest, located in Pioneer CA. His education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Minnesota (1993) and a Master of Science in Forest Hydrology from Oregon State University (1997). Rick started his Forest Service career in 1994 as a Hydrology Technician on the Chequamegon National Forest in northern Wisconsin, and has worked as a hydrologist for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Inyo and Sierra National Forests in California as well as the Intermountain Regional Office in Ogden, Utah.
Workshops: For those that are interested in rural community development and wood utilization there is a two day workshop on May 16th and 17th in Sacramento sponsored by the Sierra Institute. On Day 1 participants will have an opportunity to hear project updates from community bioenergy and other wood utilization projects, learn about the outcomes of the state’s Tree Mortality Task Force work, and gain insights on financing and business plan development. The morning of Day 2 will feature presentations from organizations developing wood product campuses, insights on brownfields cleanup, and a dialogue on how rural communities can successfully partner with for-profit entities while ensuring community benefits. The afternoon of Day 2 will feature presentations on biomass feedstock and conversion technologies from researchers, as well as a facilitated conversation between community organizations and researchers associated with the Waste to Wisdom Project. Financial support for travel, accommodation and food is available from the Statewide Wood Energy Team.
On May 23rd and 24th a workshop in Sacramento focused on all-lands management and community capacity building is being sponsored by the National Forest Foundation, US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region and the Sierra Institute. Financial support for travel, accommodation and food is available from the Alpine Biomass Committee.
Both of these workshops offer the opportunity to learn more about how we can overcome the challenges to improving forest health and rural economies, and network with others that have been making progress in this regard with their communities. If you are interested in attending either of these workshops and want financial support please contact me.
The May meeting is scheduled for Tuesday May 2nd at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.
The Alpine Biomass Committee is supported by a grant from the National Forest Foundation with funds coming from Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service. This organization is an equal opportunity provider.