Reducing fire risk to improve an ecosystem
The June Mountain Ski Area Whitebark Pine Restoration Project was covered in Mammoth Lake’s The Sheet.
Over 70 years of no fire activity, combined with periods of extended drought, have resulted in unnaturally dense and stressed forested lands in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Bark beetles, native to California, thrive on defenseless, dying trees, eating layers of the tree that carry nutrients, and infesting the tree with a fungus.
- Remove decaying Whitebark pine trees across 110 acres within the June Mountain Ski Area.
- Improve overall forest health and decrease the risk of high intensity wildland fires; Protect native species’ habitat such as wild Brown trout and downstream public water supplies.
- Develop and implement an education and outreach program centered on forest health and expected outcomes from this restoration project.
This project is being planned as a phased approach that will eventually merge into existing treatments. The first phase of the project is slated to restore 110 acres, targeting the removal of approximately 145 decaying Whitebark pine trees per acre, working in partnership with Inyo National Forest and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Over the course of three years, CalTrout will be monitoring the site conditions pre- and post-tree removal using photo-print monitoring of the forest understory, working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The overarching goal of the restoration project is to remove dying trees across 518 acres of National Forest System lands over five years. CalTrout is pursuing additional funding to accomplish this, and intends to leverage funds to implement further scientific research to measure long-term ecosystem changes and determine best alternatives for biomass utilization.