Forest Biomass Initiatives

Over half of Placer County is heavily forested landscapes in the central Sierra Nevada foothills and mountains. The forested land is at significant risk for catastrophic wildfire due to the buildup of unnaturally dense vegetation following decades of successful fire suppression and exclusion. To address the risk of catastrophic wildfire and improve air quality, the District has teamed with other public and private stakeholders to implement environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable forest management activities to restore these forested landscapes to a fire-resilient condition. This includes:

  • Mount Howell UnderburnProjects to evaluate the significant air pollution benefits of the utilization of waste biomass for energy as an alternative to pile burning
  • Protocol to determine greenhouse gas reductions from forest thinning and biomass energy activities
  • The assessment of strategically located and sized distributed biomass energy generation facilities
  • Advocacy for a biomass electricity rate that recognizes the full suite of environmental benefits

Additional information on the Placer County Biomass to Energy Facility can be found on the Biomass page.


  • Collection, process and transport of 15,000 bone dry tons of forest waste, providing a fueled generation of 15,000 megawatt hours of renewable electricity. All of the material was destined to be burned in the open. The projects have been able to achieve emission reductions of 90 tons of PM, 23 tons of nitrous oxides (NOx), 70 tons of VOCs, 900 tons of carbon oxide (CO) and over 6,000 tons of greenhouse gases.
  • Assist with accomplishing additional acres of forest management treatments. This acts to protect critical upland watersheds; improve air quality by reducing open pile burning and mitigating wildfire size and severity; generate renewable energy from excess forest wastes that reduces our reliance on fossil fuels; helps reduce wildfires and wildfire effects to forest health, wildlife habitat; provide a sustainable supply of wood products; protects forest recreation resources, and lowers wildfire fighting costs; and helps protect or increase local employment and rural community economic viability.

District Goal Achievement

  • Goal 1: Achieve and maintain air quality standards for public health and environmental protection
  • Goal 2: Promote climate action/energy conservation strategies
  • Goal 4: Promote Sustainable Growth