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French Hazard Wildland-urban Interface Project

– Project Description

The French Hazard Wildland-urban Interface Project was a hazardous fuels reduction and vegetation restoration project that addressed the need to treat within the WUI to reduce the risk of wildfire to values such as private property, forest infrastructure, wildlife habitat, visuals, and water quality.

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Project Summary

The project area, located 7.0 miles west of Cascade, Idaho, included approximately 6,223 acres that fell within one of two Forest priority landscapes designated by the Governor of Idaho and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture for forests at high risk of insect and disease mortality under Section 8204 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill).

The French Hazard Project implemented a suite of vegetation management treatments (commercial and noncommercial thinning, prescribed burning, and mastication) and associated road management activities to restore species composition and stand structure and reduce undesirable species and stand densities while favoring retention of larger diameter, more fire-resistant trees throughout the project area.

Reducing fuel loads, ladder fuels, and stand densities would decrease the likelihood of crown fire and improve the resiliency of treated stands should a wildfire ignition occur. In addition, activities occurring within the WUI would create or enhance defensible space for suppression resources should a wildfire threaten adjacent private properties. Restoring vegetative conditions reflective of the fire-adapted ecosystem, reducing hazardous fuels, and minimizing risks to public health and safety would allow for safe and effective wildfire management in the urban environment.

 

Tasks

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Provided facilitation, meeting documentation, and visual aids for a public meeting and field trip to collaborate with agencies and the public

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Completed the content analysis of comments received during scoping and identified issues

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Identified and developed additional alternatives and modified the proposed action in response to public comments

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Authored technical reports for air quality, botany, noxious weeds, climate change, fuels, fish, hydrology, soils, rangeland, recreation, visuals, Congressionally designated areas, socioeconomics, transportation, vegetation and wildlife

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Participated in consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service regarding listed and endangered species

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Authored the environmental assessment, decision notice, and finding of no significant impact

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Maintained and indexed the project record

Climate Change and Forest Restoration

Halting the loss and degradation of forest ecosystems and promoting their restoration could contribute over one-third of the total climate change mitigation that scientists say is required by 2030 to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Forests also  protect biodiversity, play an integral part in the carbon cycle, support livelihoods, and can help drive sustainable growth.