10 Mar 2009, 8:44pm
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by admin

Angora Tahoe restoration plan released

By Adam Jensen, Tahoe Daily Tribune, February 18, 2009 [here]

LAKE TAHOE — A proposal by the U.S. Forest Service to restore 2,700 acres of land burnt by the Angora fire won’t try to recreate the forest that was there before the blaze.

Instead, the Angora Ecosystem Restoration Plan aims to move the forest closer to historic — and fire-resistant — conditions, said Forest Service spokeswoman Cheva Heck.

Like forests all around Lake Tahoe, decades of fire suppression left areas near Angora Ridge overgrown and prone to high-intensity wildfire.

“That forest was unhealthy,” Heck said. “We don’t want to go back and duplicate that forest.”

The proposal includes fuel reduction on up to 1,398 acres in the area, with a focus on the forest near homes, Heck said.

Also in the proposal is a plan to restore Seneca Pond.

The restoration is likely to decrease the water level at the pond and could affect recreation at the popular spot.

“It will be more of a wetland and less of a pond,” Heck said.

Although the Forest Service held a meeting to receive public comment on the plan in summer 2008, release of the proposal on Feb. 11 began a 30- day public scoping period under the National Environmental Policy Act.

“If people do have issues, now is the time you go ahead and bring those up,” Heck said.

Implementation of the project is not expected to begin until Fall 2009 at the earliest.

A public meeting to explain the proposal is planned for March 3 at Inn by the Lake, at 3300 Lake Tahoe Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe. The meeting will run from 4-7 p.m. and use an open house format.

Comments concerning the project should be submitted by the end of the 30-day public scoping period on March 13.

For more information regarding the proposal, contact Duncan Leao or Richard Vacirca, Interdisciplinary Team Leaders at (530) 543-2600.

The proposal as well as project maps are available on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Web site: www.fs.fed.us/r5/ltbmu/projects.

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