Scotts Flat forestry health project set to begin

January 16, 2018

Nevada Irrigation District (NID) is set to begin the removal of fire fuels, including hazardous trees and dense dying vegetation, on its property at Scotts Flat Reservoir. The project will significantly reduce the potential for catastrophic fire risk to forested lands adjacent to the reservoir and to nearby residential communities.

Work is scheduled to begin in a couple of weeks (weather dependent) and will focus on NID’s two campgrounds along the northeast portion of the reservoir. Forest thinning will be done with conventional logging equipment, mastication and hand crews using chainsaws. Machines can be used on slopes up to 40 percent. Steeper slopes will be treated by using chainsaws and hand crews. The project will be based on healthy watershed principles to optimize species composition and age diversity in the forest community that will remain.

The main outcomes of the project are to:

  • Lessen fire danger by reducing fuel loads with understory thinning and selective tree removal to develop fire resistance that will reduce susceptibility to insect-caused mortality and accelerate development of old-growth characteristics (i.e. large trees with full crowns)
  • Remove dead and dying hazard trees that pose substantial risk of injury to people and property.

“This is an important, wonderful project, and the forest really needs it,” said NID’s Watershed Resources Planner Neysa King.

Letters will be sent out to neighbors and residents of Scotts Flat and Casci Roads informing them of the upcoming project. In addition, a meeting and site walk with neighbors will be scheduled later this month to present the project and get input. Project work will begin shortly thereafter.

Frank Dial Logging and Forester Kevin Whitlock of Under the Trees are contractors on the project.

NID plans to sell merchantable timber to a local sawmill to help offset the cost of removal. That is estimated to net approximately $40,000. These funds will be placed in the NID Watershed Resource budget to be used on future watershed projects.

The project is slated to end May 1 to provide NID’s Recreation Department with sufficient time to prepare for the opening of the recreation and camping season.

State and federal data have indicated tree mortality has reached epidemic levels across the entire western slope of the Sierra Nevada, including a large portion of Nevada County. This is the result of prolonged drought, overstocked forests and infestation by bark beetles and other decay organisms. Scotts Flat has been ranked by Cal Fire as a Very High Fire Severity Zone based on inputs such as fuel, slope, brush density (ladder fuel) and tree density (crown cover).

Read more about the project here. Also, check NID’s website regularly for updates, photos and videos.


NID’s Mission is to provide a dependable, quality water supply; continue to be good stewards of the watersheds, while conserving the available resources in our care.


Contact: Susan Lauer

(530) 271-6735 ext. 335