Calif. Aims at Statewide “EIS” for Fuels Management Projects

Greenwire today: “Efforts to clear fire-prone Calif. forests face hurdles.” Excerpt:

Forest treatment projects must obtain approvals under the California Environmental Quality Act. Butte County Fire Safe Council Executive Director Calli-Jane DeAnda said the environmental review process typically uses up 10 to 15 percent of grant funds local fire agencies receive for forest management projects. The reviews can take years.

The state has been working since 2010 on an environmental impact report that would cover all vegetation treatments in California under one overarching environmental document. It would identify environmentally sound processes for various natural landscapes. Then, if a project were proposed that met the guidelines for its landscape, it could be approved through a “checklist scenario,” according to Board of Forestry and Fire Protection Executive Officer Matt Dias.

Some projects wouldn’t fit the template, he said, and would require more review, but the idea would be to get projects approved and moving forward in a matter of weeks instead of years. A goal has been set to complete the document by the end of the year.

Maybe we need a western US EIS for fuels management projects on federal lands.

 

3 thoughts on “Calif. Aims at Statewide “EIS” for Fuels Management Projects”

  1. It seems like a good approach, but I note that the State has been working on it since 2010. Could be worth it, though.

    I noticed Halsey’s comment “Rick Halsey of the California Chaparral Institute said Cal Fire should place more focus on making communities more fire resistant, not on clearing vegetation.

    “We have a home ignition problem,” he said, “not a vegetation control problem.”

    He said it makes more sense to spend some of the vegetation control dollars on fireproofing measures like ember-resistant vents and fire-resistant rooftops.”

    I am for fire resistant buildings, but I still don’t think it is good for fires to go through communities. If veg treatments make that less likely (and in my area of the country, that idea is accepted), I’m all for them.

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