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California 2023 - Creek Fire Restoration

Planting Location: Shaver Lake

Project Description/Objective: Post-fire reforestation of Edison Forestry land surrounding Shaver Lake. 3,000-acres burned in the 2020 Creek Fire. Planting will be done by professional commercial tree planting crews in accordance with industry best management practices. Crews consisting of twelve planters and a foreman will use hoedads to strike the earth, open a wedge, plant the tree, and tamp/backfill. This is the most efficient and least carbon intensive form of reforestation. Eliminating equipment ensures minimal impact on the land. This planting will consist of 750,000-seedlings planted over the course of five years at approximately 150,000-seedlings a year. The multi-year approach allows for modifications in timing, densities, species, distribution, and methodology to ensure the greater success each subsequent year.

Ecological Benefits:Reforestation will provide the following benefits:

- Retention of soils/reduced erosion. The soil surrounding Shaver Lake has the potential to increase sedimentation in the lake leading to loss of aquatic life. The loss and stress of aquatic life compromises the food source for species adjacent habitats, compromises recreational activity (a catalyst for regional economic development), and impacts long term stability.

- Preventing type conversion. Type conversion occurs when chaparral and shrubs replace historically established conifers. The result of which is loss of habitat and significant changes to Fire frequency, intensity, and behavior. Forests have the ability to naturally regenerate except in conditions where fire intensity and severity compromise the seedbed. This occurs when temperatures exceed temperatures that allow for and promote sprouting. The increase of a few degrees can be the difference between regeneration and sterilization. Chaparral have greater seed count at greater depths with greater longevity. The loss of soil retention leads to runoff that exposed non-conifer species. The only true remedy for this is reforestation. Type conversion is the equivalent to habitat loss. Most species that currently exist and will return from existing forests will be unable to survive. This occurs for flora and fauna.

- Greater carbon sequestration potential. Reforestation will directly lead to greater carbon storage. This is due largely to the greater above and below ground carbon of the relatively quick growing conifers. Soil carbon sequestration also increases notably as canopies better prevent solarization of the soil and allow for a greater accumulation of carbon through organic decomposition. The carbon, water, nutrient, and nitrogen cycles are improved leading to increased ecosystem services.

- Positive water movement sustaining peripheral ecosystems. The movement of water above, on, and below the earth is essential. The movement and conservation of water is essential to the before mentioned cycles. This occurs in three primary ways; hydraulic lift, increased infiltration, and water exchange through mycorrhizal networks. Hydraulic lift is the trees ability to bring water from below the surface to the ground leading to increased moisture and growth during periods of drought. Increased infiltration occurs as a result of shading the ground and pathway development through roots allows for greater collection of ground water. Most importantly for this planting is the exchange of water between vegetation through mycorrhizal networks. This bring water from the lake and lower ground water sources to surrounding trees. As the surface vegetation is destroyed by fire the root system almost immediately begins to fail. With out being addressed a continued die-off can occur.

Community Benefits: Loss of soil retention reduces the efficiency of its power generation, essentially to the rural Sierra Nevada Mountain communities through reduction in water quality. Increased maintenance or potential shutdowns due to complications with water beyond the correct conditions may lead to increases in operational costs having a potential economic impact on the service area. Recreation is an essential economic driver for the area. Loss of the Forest compromises water conditions crucial for sustainable fishing and detrimental to esthetics for those seeking vacation. Reforestation has a tangible impact through inspiring the community. Crews and labor will act as a minor, yet important, economic contribution to the local economy through lodging and dinning.

Types of Trees:Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir, Incense Cedar

Number of Trees Donated by Noble Oak: 43,320

area of burned trees

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