AUBURN, Calif. Sept. 28, 2016 – With an ever-growing number of drought-weakened trees dying from bark beetle infestation, the Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to remove hazardous trees that could damage or destroy county infrastructure.
County staff has identified approximately 1,800 trees in need of immediate removal. With an estimate of $1,700 per tree, the total cost of the project is expected to be about $3.1 million. After funding the tree removal efforts, the county will seek reimbursement through the California Disaster Assistance Act that would repay the county for 75 percent of the tree removal costs.
The magnitude of tree mortality in California continues to expand. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimates there are 66 million dead and dying trees in the state. Placer County is one of 10 counties identified by the state to be significantly affected by tree mortality. The governor has declared a state of emergency all across California due to dead trees and the county board of supervisors has declared a local state of emergency.
“This is an evolving problem both for Placer County and the state, as well. And the size and scale of the problem is enormous.” said John McEldowney, Placer County Office of Emergency Services program manager. “Our goal is to get to the root of the problem.”
While there are tens of thousands of trees in Placer County affected by the tree mortality epidemic, the county will first deal with dead and dying trees that pose a danger to county owned and maintained roads, facilities and key infrastructure. Trees in high hazard zones that threaten roads, evacuation corridors, critical community infrastructure and structures are targeted for removal. Stressed or dead trees on private property are primarily the responsibility of the property owner.
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There will be a bark beetle community meeting Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Alta Fire Hall, 33950 Alta Bonny Nook Road in Alta at 7 p.m. Numerous agencies will be participating.
The Placer County Resource Conservation District is now offering landowner assistance for private property owners who have affected trees on their land. A registered forester or arborist will be available to speak with landowners and do an on-site property inspection and make site-specific recommendations. Contact the district by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 916-600-3061.
A California forest stewardship helpline has been established where callers can speak with a registered professional forester and receive information on tree mortality. That number is 1-800-738-TREE (8733).
The Placer County Tree Mortality Task Force will have a booth at this weekend’s Auburn Home show at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn.
For more information, please visit the Placer County Tree Mortality Task Force web page: www.placer.ca.gov/trees