UFR Cooperative Regional Thinning

The purpose of the project is to: 1.) Reduce catastrophic wildfire in overstocked forests through forest thinning and 2. Restore the forest hydrograph by reducing the rate of conifer evapotranspiration and 3. Reduce conifer interception of rain and snow and enhance the infiltration of soil moisture by increasing spacing of dominant and codominant overstory trees. Projects that reduce forest densities closer to historic (pre-fire suppression) levels will be accomplished through a collaboratively developed suite of forest health enhancement projects that implement variable density thinning across the forested portions of the UFR region that increase the amount of groundwater available to retained trees and for downstream water needs; both as surface base and pulse flows; and as enhanced groundwater storage through implementing 7 fire bufferù thinning strategies. Increasing the retention of snow in targeted critical habitat and key re-charge zones; especially at higher altitudes through appropriate thinning of small conifer encroachment into meadows; wetlands; springs; aspen and oak groves and riparian forests. Thinning on ridgetops to mimic historic fire patterns; for example; has especially significant potential to store snowmelt longer into the summer; when the value of water is greatest and forest ecosystem needs for water are highest. (Woods et al 2006; Sun et al 2015). The phased; cooperative project will be designed and implemented at a broad; multi-ownership; landscape level; thus leading healthier ecosystems and processes; and greater fire and climate change related resiliency that is closer to the historic pre-fire suppression forest structure. (RMS#s 10;21;22;23;24;25;26;27;28;30). In addition; this project addresses and initiates monitoring of the relationship between higher forest densities and declining water yields. Decades of fire suppression; together with the lack of economic feasibility of potential pre-commercial and commercial thinning projects; and subsequent markets for such material; plus the inability to incorporate public benefits such as water resources into forest management regimes; have lead to widespread water stressed forest conditions that are prone to catastrophic wildfire. Dense forests transpire more water from the soil and intercept and evaporate more rain and snow than less dense forests. Variable density thinning allows more rain and snow to reach the forest floor; enhancing water availability by increasing groundwater recharge; decreasing loss from evaporation; and extending the life of the snowpack in these areas by days or even weeks. The Project meets the following UFR IRWM Goals: 1. Protect and improve water quality and water supply reliability. 2. Protect and improve the health of the environment including fish; wildlife and the land. Project meets the following UFR IRWM Objectives: 1. Restore natural hydrologic functions. 2. Reduce potential for catastrophic wildland fires in the Region. 3. Balance the needs of forest health; habitat preservation; fuels reduction; forest fire prevention; and economic activity in the Upper Feather River Region. 4. Build communication and collaboration among water resources stakeholders in the Region. 5. Protect, restore, and enhance the quality of surface and groundwater resources for all beneficial uses; consistent with the Basin Plan. 6. Coordinate management of recharge areas and protect groundwater resources. 7. Improve coordination of land use and water resources planning. 8. Address economic challenges of agricultural (forest products and services) producers.
Sponsoring Agency
Soper Company
Primary Contact
Ryan J. McKillop
Contact Email
Project Number
Matching Funds
Total Cost
DAC Benefit
DWR Resource Management Strategies
Agricultural Water Use Efficiency, Conjunctive management, Conveyance - regional/local, Economic incentives, Ecosystem restoration, Flood management, Forest management, Land use planning and management, Outreach and engagement, Recharge area protection, Sediment management, Surface storage - regional/local, System reoperation, Urban water use efficiency, Water and culture, Water transfers, Water-dependent recreation, Watershed management
Project Objectives
Address water resources and wastewater needs of DACs and Native Americans, Build communication and collaboration among water resources stakeholders, Continue to actively engage in FERC relicensing within the Region, Coordinate management of recharge areas and protect groundwater, Effectively address climate change adaptation and/or mitigation in water resources management, Improve coordination of land use and water resources planning, Improve efficiency and reliability of water supply and infrastructure, Maximize agricultural, environmental, and municipal water use efficiency, Protect, restore, and enhance the quality of surface and groundwater resources, Reduce potential for catastrophic wildland fires in the region, Restore natural hydrologic functions, Work with counties/communities/groups to maintain capacity for water-related projects, Work with DWR to develop strategies and actions for the operation of SWP facilities
Project Status
Potential Benefits
Assist the region in adapting to effects of climate change, Disadvantaged Communities, Generation or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. green technology), Native American Tribal Communities
Project Owner

To the owner of UFR Cooperative Regional Thinning

1 resource

  • UF-12 1 file Added 27 Aug 2016 UFR cooperative regional thinning