United States
Department of


Reply to: 2410

Date: January 28, 1994

Mike De Lasaux
208 Fairground Road
Quincy, CA 95971

Dear Mike:

In response to your repeated request for Forest Service employees to review and comment on your "Community Stability Proposal", the employees on the Sierraville Ranger District, Tahoe National Forest, have completed such a review and provide the following comments for your consideration. As part of our review we also examined Mike Yost's draft paper, "Some Comments on Silviculture and Timber Management" and Tom Nelson's draft paper, "QLG "Ballpark" Objectives". We assumed that these draft papers were intended to provide further clarification on how to apply the Quincy Library Group's proposal and were important to review too.

COMMUNITY STABILITY PROPOSAL, ITEM #2. Ecosystem Management Strategies, Item "i". We assumed that Mike Yost's paper described the "how-to" and the expectations of this first strategy and our comments are for this paper too.

DESIRED FUTURE CONDITION: We suggest that you state a year that clarifies the time period you think is "pre-settlement." The year we would suggest is 1850. Conditions prior to 1850 would be considered pre-settlement, which is prior to the gold rush.

We recommend that you develop a Desired Future Condition (DFC) for different, major vegetation groups such as, true fir, mixed conifer and eastside pine type. On Sierraville Ranger District the true fir DFC would be a -..mature @-o overmature forest that covers approximately 80% of the forested acres. Size of trees would be equal to or greater then 30" dbh, and would require about a 200 year rotation to achieve. The size of trees would not necessarily be the same as the size of pre-settlement trees. Our goal would be to match the structural characteristics of pre-settlement times.

A mixed conifer DFC for Sierraville Ranger District would be about the same as the Quincy Library Group's definition but with the intent to achieve the structural characteristics and species mix of the pre-settlement period. We would be managing for approximately a 24"dbh tree typical for a Dunning site 3 which would require about a 150-year rotation.

An eastside pine DFC for Sierraville Ranger District would be similar to what the Quincy Library Group's definition reflects.

INTERMEDIATE CUTS: We recommend that you eliminate the diameter limit which I believe the Quincy Library Group agreed to do at the Susanville meeting in January.

We agree that a 3rd order watershed seems to be the right size for management purposes but be advised that we analyze about 3 to 5 3rd order watersheds when we plan for our management activities.

REGENERATION-HARVEST CUTS: Many of the forested acres on the Sierraville Ranger District have received some type of management since the late 1800's. Consequently, it's not unusual to find continuous blocks of even age stands which are beyond the thinning stage and need some regeneration harvest to provide for a diversity of wildlife needs or maybe correct some health proteins. As such we would not necessarily-!!,, start some type of thinning- to achieve our desired end.

We agree we should not cut any more then the annual growth in the watershed. But we feel strongly that a cutting strategy should be based on the DFC, stand structure objectives, wildlife needs and other resource objectives.

We think that group selection cuts regulated by area control would be fine for the mixed conifer and eastside pine types but not for the true fir type. We would not want to be too regimented in our approach in our true fir stands since this is also where we find our old forest dependent wildlife species, and the most sensitive watersheds, etc. We are learning that, because of past management and the needs of wildlife, we have to be very flexible in our strategy and what you do on one acre will not be the same for the next acre.

ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT STRATEGY ITEM- "ii": We concur with this objective. As the Quincy Library Group is well aware our only limitations with accomplishing this item are the lack of money and manpower, but we will continue to work towards this goal regardless of what resources we have available to us.

Regarding Tom Nelson's draft paper, item #3.: Fuelbreaks need to be placed where we will get the "biggest-bang-for-the-buck" in terms of tactical operations and strategic suppression planning. Consequently, the fuelbreaks would rarely be a straight 'line since you would attempt- to follow the land' forms and so your construction costs and acres would be 20% to 25% more then estimated. Also as a minor point, the math under item # 3, b) is not correct it should be; 50 blocks X 8.94 mi/side X 2 sides = 894 miles

(894 mi X 5280 ft/mi X 330 ft. wide) divided by 43,560 sq. ft/acre = 35,760 total acres

If you assumed this is a ten year plan, 35,760 acres divided by 10 yrs.

= 3576 acres/year or 89.4 miles/year.

Also, I am not a big proponent for a lot of fuelbreak construction. Where it is necessary we will construct the fuelbreaks, but I would rather spend that money on thinning and sanitizing timber stands with an underburn treatment. Then if we were to have a wild fire it would be a ground fire and not a devastating crown fire, which no fuelbreak will stop.

ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT STRATEGY ITEM "iii" : We agree with the concept discussed under this item. However, we are concerned that the set of guidelines from Jack Ward Thomas's SAT report are too fixed and would like to see some flexibility in the guidelines that allow for varying ground conditions. I understand that Quincy Library Group did review the Tahoe's Old Forest/Riparian guidelines and chose not to use them. I would ask you to reconsider them since they were developed for conditions in the Sierra Nevada mountains and allow for some flexibility in application dependent on the ground conditions. Whereas, The SAT guidelines were developed looking at different conditions in an entirely different kind of ecosystem and its guidelines are more appropriate for that area. If for nothing else, I would ask for purposes of experimentation rewrite your strategy showing Sierraville Ranger District using the Tahoe guidelines and the other two forests the Scientific Assessment Team (SAT) guidelines. During the 5-year implementation period, monitor and determine the best set of guidelines for this area.

Another request I would make of the Quincy Library Group is to develop a white paper that clarifies your position on range management as you have done with timber management, About half of Sierraville Ranger District's grazing permits are at the end of their term and we will be going through a renewal process over the next several months. We would welcome your timely input on any concerns you might have with the present program. In developing a white paper, I would suggest as preparers you include Holly George From the Cooperative Extension Service and Cici Cesmat or Shannon Downy from the Plumas National Forest. They all have excellent range expertise and knowledge of the area.

We appreciate the opportunity to discuss this important proposal with you. The sharing of ideas and experiences of what works, etc. can only continue to strengthen our resolve to implement this great idea for community stability. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions concerning our comments.



District Ranger

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