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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Reforestation Project, Lewiston, California, USA

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Reforestation Project, Lewiston, California, USA
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Registered: December 2011
City/Town/Province: Auburn
Posts: 1
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During the summer of 1999 a Bureau of Land Management controlled burn got out of hand in Trinity Country, California. The fire burned more than several thousand acres of land and the town of Lewiston was heavily affected by the fire and what resulted from it. The fire had decimated trees, habitat, and beauty of this place. To return the environment back to its original state and create a place where the native species can thrive and trees can once more grow tall and cover the landscape, my father and I are reforesting the land around our house as well as clearing the brush that invaded the hillsides after the fire occurred. Over the past few years, and even up to today, we have cleared close to four acres of land and have planted over two hundred trees.
We are able to make this effort because we entered into a co-op agreement with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, or NRCS, and they help guide us with where to plant, what trees we need, how many trees we need, and other vital information that helps us bring the environment back to its original state. The trees we plant are the native species of Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and Sugar pine that inhabit the area. We plant these trees in the early spring, around February, and place cones around them so the deer and other wildlife do not tear them from the ground or nibble them down to the roots. When we plant the trees, they are usually about eight to twelve inches tall. We plant them as soon as we get them so that they can begin their growth period as soon as possible. To plant the trees we dig holes about six inches deep so that the root structure can expand in its new habitat. Not only will the trees grow up to provide shade and reduce erosion, they are also an essential part of the lives of the birds and mammals that call Trinity County home.
In order to create a place for these trees, we first clear a section of acreage that is full of brush, usually two to three acres, by hand with a chainsaw. The brush that grows in these foothills is called Ceanothus. Since it has been several years since the fire, the Ceanothus has grown rapidly and invasively. This brush can get up to eight feet tall and grows very dense and chokes off many native species. By removing this brush, we create open land for the new trees to grow, as well as allow the revival of wildflowers and native grasses. We usually burn the brush in large bonfires, but occasionally we leave small piles on the ground for quail and other ground animal habitat. After we clear the brush from a section of land we harvest any usable down timber that was left over from the fire, then we begin the planting process.
The planting process is not only the most important aspect to habitat renewal, but is the most rewarding as well. After we are finished planting we are able to see how much progress we have made and how we are doing our part to bring nature back to its full potential near our home. Once the trees are planted our work is far from over. We go around to each newly planted tree and place a cone around it that is held up by bamboo sticks so that the tree has a better chance of survival. Once the summer months role around, in order to ensure the highest success rate, we water the trees via hose from irrigation lines that we have put in throughout our property. We water the trees because the soil is poor at water retention. These irrigation lines are fed from two eight thousand gallon tanks that fill up with rain water each year. The rain water is runoff from our roof and downspouts from out garage and house so that we can help nurture these trees through the summer months when water is scarce.
Over the past five years, including this year, we have hand cleared over six acres and planted twenty-five hundred trees. This has been possible through hard work, dedication, and a want to help preserve and return the environment back to its original state. By clearing overly aggressive brush and planting trees we are reversing the effects of the fire and bring the land back to its original state. At the same time we are creating habitat for quail using brush piles, deer by installing a guzzler system that provides them with water, and we hope add bat houses and birdhouses to our project so that we can help even more of the wildlife. Reforesting this area is one step toward creating a more original and sustainable environment.
Date: December 31, 2011 Views: 6385 File size: 21.6kb, 2255.1kb : 4000 x 3000
Hours Volunteered: 80
Volunteers: 2
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 57
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 2.4
Native Trees Planted: 2500
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