Weber Lake Vegetation Management Plan
Description of Project Area: This Project is located entirely within El Dorado County on the western slope of the north central region of the Sierra Nevada range in California. The Project planning area is within the Camino community region in an area containing Weber Lake and Weber Creek. The area is located entirely within an area ranked as a “Very High” Fire Hazard Severity Zone (FHSZ). This area is listed as a priority #1 item in the El Dorado County Fire District CWPP for the Pollock Pines sub unit. The area is a prime example of a WUI (Wildland Urban Interface) with more than 3,000 habitable structures that could be affected by wildland fire in the immediate vicinity. The river drainage, ridgelines, and canyon terrain alignment combined with typical prevailing wind directions will likely feed a wildland fire directly into the neighborhoods of Camino and Pollock Pines.
The vegetation is dominated by the transition from oak grass woodland into the lower montane conifer forest types. In fire behavior terms, this transition can be characterized as a surface fire with limited torching to an active crown fire. The steep topography of Weber Creek and Camp Creek are perfectly aligned with the south and southwest winds that dominant the CWPP area which also adds to suppression difficulty.
On the south side of Pollock Pines sits Weber Creek. This canyon has been the location of at least 3 major fires since the 1960s. These fires have been stopped on the ridge line that has Highway 50 running across the top. However, due to increased growth in this area, fire has the potential to cause major structural loss in the future. Further to the south is the Cosumnes River drainage. This was the site of the 2014 Sand Fire (4200+ acres and 20+ residences were lost).
Project Summary: Cal Fire awarded grant funding to El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) to conduct the Weber Lake Vegetation Management Project, which will reduce hazardous fuel vegetation along the north side of Weber Reservoir. All the treatment areas are designed to work in conjunction with each other, to mitigate the wildfire threat to the adjacent communities of Camino and Pleasant Valley and nearby communities of Pollock Pines and Placerville as well as critical water conveyance structures owned by El Dorado Irrigation District. Both the towns of Camino and Pleasant Valley are designated as Communities At Risk in the Federal Register. Water diverted at Weber Reservoir is an important source of EID’s overall water supply, a source of water to benefit fish and wildlife and other natural resources downstream of Weber Reservoir and a valuable asset to El Dorado County
Treatment Types: The desired treatment is to employ various treatment methods; mechanical mastication, hand thinning, piling, and lop and scatter where slope and access conditions would preclude mechanical treatments. These treatment combinations would reduce fire ladder vegetation both vertically and horizontally, by cutting all vegetation live and dead less than 10” in diameter and 60’ in height. In addition, all dead or dying trees greater than 10” diameter and greater than 60’ tall will be felled and either hand piled, masticated, or left in place for slope stabilization. Mechanical treatments will be limited to slopes less the 45 percent and areas identified as riparian zones for aquatics. All down existing woody fuel would be masticated concurrently with treatment of standing fuel ladder vegetation.
Total Acres: This project will, in total, treat 377.5 acres of land surrounding the reservoir.
Planning Years: 2018-2019
Implementation Years: 2019-2021
Responsible Agency: EID
Values to Be Protected: Return the Project area to a more managed, fire resistant condition and to protect local communities and EID’s critical infrastructure and water quality from the effects of catastrophic wildfire.
Contact: Dan Corcoran, EID – email@example.com