Forestry

Forestry

The Tahoe Donner Forestry Department is dedicated to maintaining the health of the forest within the association’s 7,000 acres while minimizing the threat of forest fires. Forester Bill Houdyschell and his team are nationally regarded as leaders in their field and manage a variety of programs detailed in the pages listed to the left.

The Forestry Department manages:

477 acres of reforestation/fuel breaks

618 acres of fuel reduction zones

1,344 acres of common area and maintains approximately two thirds for fuel reduction

LANDOWNER MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES

Desired Forest Condition For:

Fire protection objectives:

Increase the level of vegetation and fuels management to help lessen the effects of a wildfire on the property, subdivision, association common areas and facilities.  Wildland fire typically travels in a northeast direction due to prevailing winds coming out of the southwest on the eastern slope of the crest of the Sierras.  The association has created and manages 1,096 acres of re-forestation/fuel break areas located at strategic locations throughout the property.  There are additional possibilities for the creation of these type areas.  The unimproved road system needs to continually be maintained or improved.  Mastication of the timberland understory under the mature forests will be of great value to forest health and wildfire security.

Forest Health objectives including insects and disease concerns:

Thinning and pruning along with understory competitive brush removal will help reduce the impact of insects and disease normally found in a mixed conifer stand.  The owner would like to increase the productivity of the property through intensive forest management; managing a vigorous, healthy forest through; site preparation and tree planting, pre-commercial thinning and pruning, commercial thinning and vegetation management.  Continue to re-forest areas burned over by wildfires of the past.  Advance a program for planting rust resistant sugar and western white pine along with incense cedar to maintain a diverse forest.

Invasive plant and animal, concerns:

The owner would like to eradicate any populations of invasive plants to allow the native species to thrive.

Recreation concerns:

Increase the recreational opportunities within the open space of the property.  These opportunities will include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and downhill and cross-country skiing.

Wildlife:

Forest lands can be improved by removing or modifying large areas of green-leaf manzanita and/or snow brush which pose a threat from wildfire.  Current management practices along with unmanaged adjacent areas help maintain suitable habitat for a wide variety of species including those with large home ranges.  The owner would like to continue current management practices and improve the overall wildlife and fish habitats throughout the property.

R and E as well as other desired species habitat improvement:

This is an excerpt of a report prepared by Lorna Dobrovolny, staff environmental scientist, of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: “There are many plant and wildlife species that depend on diverse habitats for their survival.  The Tahoe Donner Community lies within the range of wildlife species considered to be in a precarious state of decline.  Examples of special-status wildlife include wolverine (Gulo gulo), Sierra marten (Martes americana sierrae), great gray owl (Strix nebulosa) and Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator).  These species can have home ranges that extend for miles.  They need forests that contain critical habitat elements such as snags, down logs, high density cover and most importantly food resources (prey).  At this time, Euer Valley provides these elements.  Euer Valley in its current state is an important biological resource.  It also provides a connectivity corridor to and from northern sections of land with known occurrences of special-status species.  Until such time as wildlife and/or rare plant surveys are completed, DFG recommends a purposeful neglect strategy or, in other terms, minimal forest management.  If surveys are conducted in the future and special-status species are observed, management activities should favor improving habitat for them.”  The goals outlined by Lorna are in line with the goals of the association for this portion of the property.

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