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Lassen County Tree Mortality Taskforce September 19, 2016 Meeting Notes

September 19, 2016

Member Attendees:

LCFSC: Terri Frolli, Cathy Dirden; HLRCD: Larry Cabodi, Laurie Tippin; LMUD: Fred Nagel, CAL FIRE: Scott Rosikewicz, Ivan Houser, Don Gordon; OES: Eric Ewing; SPI: Steve DeBonis; SNC: Kristy Hoffman; SIR: Sarah Hubert; NRCS: Heidi Ramsey; HLP: Mark Shaffer; PG&E: James Brink; and USDA FS: Danny Cluck.


  • The County’s take on the Emergency Declaration (ED): there is not a large scale impact at this time.  Not having the ED doesn’t restrict us from filing grants; having it actually gives a higher priority for grants. The ED allows groups to work longer hours, the State will assist counties, and it’s a mechanism for up to 75% reimbursement of costs.  Discussion and concern about not having the ED in place and the risks. Will regroup tonight to develop a different Incident Action Plan.  
  • Plumas County is in the progress of creating an Incident Action Plan and presenting it to the County Board of Supervisors for an ED approval. Will monitor their outcome. Foresters are aggressively working around Paradise identifying hazard trees and building their infrastructure to harvest tree mortality.  Plumas County is developing a mobile app for property owners to use that feeds into a database. If they develop and it works, we may want to adopt it as well.
  • Educating the Supervisors and public: We need to focus on educating the public, public land agencies, and private land owners. Right now, no one is really bringing the issue of tree mortality on their private land to the Supervisors, so they don’t see the issue as an emergency. If education is provided, the public may begin reporting risks and issues prompting the County to take a different approach. We need to do our homework and determine the risk within the county. Also, the county needs more facts to show that Tree Mortality in Lassen County warrants and ED.
  • Need to focus on infrastructure – identifying trees along powerlines for Plumas, Sierra Rural Electric (PSRE), Lassen Municipal Utility District (LMUD), and PG&E, etc.  LMUD is applying for grant for removal along right-of-way, removing trees proactively. Need to address adjacent land owner issue along lines that have hazard trees on adjacent land. LMUD has hired a grant writer to begin obtaining grants for timber removal. PG&E is addressing the problem directly.
  • Form a Tree Removal Team:  Need a plan to dispose of trees and be aware of regulatory process; e.g. Lassen County Fire Safe Council (LCFSC) can use certain Exemptions to accelerate the environmental process. Green trees versus dead and dying; LCFSC continues with fuel reduction projects. We want to prevent the county from issuing an ordinance for private land owners to remove trees on their own without a plan of how to do it.  
  • Form a Risk Assessment Team: Develop a map to show areas where tree mortality currently exists and areas where risk is high. Then Tree Removal Team can outreach to the land owners to determine if a project is warranted. Find as many facts as possible.
  • Form a Lessons Learned Team: Mark to describe his experience at Lake Arrowhead. Work with counties that are already in the tree removal process for “lessons learned”, resources, political ramifications, etc. Invite guest speakers to our meetings for a better understanding of what they are going through.
  • Need to determine contingency planning once the Risk Assessment, Tree Removal Plan and Education Plans are developed. This is a long term venture.
  • Terri to make arrangements for next meeting: October 18, 2016 at 5:30 pm

Three Sub-committees were formed:

Public Education

Risk Assessment

Lessons Learned