Moke Hill Sanitary District Tree Mortality (TM) Project

Jul 28, 2018 by

Moke Hill Sanitary District Tree Mortality (TM) Project

In early February, 2017, the Mokelumne Hill Sanitary District (MHSD) successfully competed for a CAL FIRE grant to reduce the number of dead and dying trees on its 80 acre parcel off of Old Toll Road in Mokelumne Hill.

Approximately 60 acres of MHSD’s property were burned in the Butte Fire.  An estimated 3,000 dead and dying trees ranging in size from 10″ to 120″ in diameter within 300 feet of MHSD’s internal service roads posed a direct threat to MHSD personnel, utility personnel and also to the Mokelumne Hill community which stands to lose critical infrastructure and personal and property loss from wild fire driven by winds up the Mokelumne river canyon.  These roads are essential to the operation and maintenance of the plant by providing access to the perimeter fencing, the spray fields, utility and communications (PG&E, ATT & Volcano Telephone) infrastructure and, as used in the Butte Fire, to provide access for fire fighting vehicles and equipment.

The MHSD application to CAL FIRE had strong support from the community.  The recent Butte Fire experience and “near miss” galvanized the community to support all efforts to reduce the community’s vulnerability to wildfire.  Letters of support for the CAL FIRE grant were provided by:

  • Mokelumne Hill Volunteer Fire Department
  • Mokelumne Hill Veterans District
  • Mokelumne Hill Community Historical Trust
  • Mokelumne Hill Main Street Association
  • Mokelumne Hill History Society

The MHSD Board of Directors wish to thank these partners, CAL FIRE  and the community for their support. Since the grant award of $155,000 from CAL FIRE, with a local match of $56,000 (in-kind) from the MHSD, much has been accomplished, including:

  • Removal of nearly 750 dead and dying trees along 3 miles of the internal road system that pose a threat to public safety
  • Reduced the potential for interruption of critical public services
  • Reduced the potential for degradation of the Mokelumne River Watershed and water supply by reducing the impact of wildfire, insects, disease and erosion
  • Ensured the maintenance of a serviceable internal road system that can support emergency response vehicles and equipment.

This project also complimented the Calaveras Foothills Fire Safe Council’s Moke Hill Fuel Break. The Moke Hill Fuel Break, constructed along the canyon rim adjacent to the MHSD property and the town was completed in late 2012 and was instrumental in preventing the Butte Fire from reaching the town.

Work by MHSD employees and contractors to reduce the number of dead and dying trees, erosion control and removal of brush and fuel will continue until the spring of 2019.

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1 Comment

  1. Julia Costello

    Excellent work! Congratulations to MHSD for obtaining and carrying out the grant!