Tree Mortality ProgrAM
Placer County has removed 5,200 trees threatening county infrastructure, marking the completion of its hazardous tree removal project. While this program is now complete, many other agencies are also removing dead trees in Placer County, including Pacific Gas and Electric, Liberty Utilities, Caltrans and CAL FIRE. Hazardous trees on private property are the responsibility of the property owner to remove, but assistance may be available through the Placer County Resource Conservation District and county’s Fire Safe Alliance, depending on funding availability.
In 2015, then Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. proclaimed a state of emergency due to the extreme hazard of dead and dying trees throughout the state resulting from years of drought and bark beetle damage. Placer County was among the 10 counties most affected.
Placer County created the Placer County Tree Mortality Task Force in March of 2016 as an inter-agency forum for information sharing/gathering and coordination of plans and resources that included representation from local, state and federal partners.
Dead and Dying Trees in Placer County
Placer County, along with much of California, is facing an unprecedented threat from the millions of dead and dying trees in our forests. Five years of successive drought has stressed the trees, which has enabled native bark beetles to proliferate and kill stands of once healthy trees. While the record precipitation from the winters of 2016 to 2017 has helped, many affected trees will not recover and remain vulnerable to bark beetles; most foresters say the massive die-off is likely to continue for several more years.
HAZARDOUS TREE REMOVAL PROGRAM
In 2016, the Board of Supervisors approved the Hazardous Tree Removal Plan (HTRP) which outlined the steps needed to address the identification and removal of hazardous trees that threaten County infrastructure as well as the coordination and management of this process. Since then, Placer County has contracted with Mountain G. Engineering to assist in the implementation of the Hazardous Tree Removal Program.
How the program worked
Placer County is responsible for over 1,000 miles of public roadway. Aerial and ground surveys documented dead and dying trees within Placer County due to the drought. They found the trees that could affect county infrastructure, making most of the cost of removing them eligible for reimbursement by the state. Of the trees that were identified, 5,200 were authorized to be removed.
The tree removal program was a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional effort. Partners from state and federal agencies, such as Caltrans, CAL FIRE, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, as well as private landowners, worked together to identify hazardous trees and get them removed.
Lake Tahoe Basin Area
Marking in the Lake Tahoe Basin area was performed last summer. Some trees have already been removed and more will be removed as weather and road access conditions allow.