Active Arch Cape Forest Management Begins
Updated: Jan 30
Following the Arch Cape Water District Board Meeting on January 19, the Arch Cape Forest has been approved to be "managed".
Springboard Forestry and the Arch Cape Forest Management Committee requested that the Arch Cape Water District Board approve multiple contracts to be sent for bids, meaning that the process of restoring the Arch Cape Forest to health has begun!
Three tasks were approved by the ACWD Board:
Hand Thinning, or the thinning of trees from overgrown forest plots. An estimated 640 acres of Arch Cape Forest requires hand thinning. Hand thinning involves cutting and leaving younger trees in overstocked forests. It helps to ensure more diverse, healthy, and resilient forests in the long term. The identified acreage which will undergo the most intense thinning is made up of young trees, between 10 and 25 years old. By thinning these areas, the remaining trees will be able to grow into healthy, old(er) growth trees, more easily able to store water late into the summer months, and provide a more sustainable water supply for the Arch Cape Community.
Road Maintenance, or the upkeep or roads required for accessibility in the Arch Cape Forest. The required road maintenance needed for the Arch Cape Forest includes brushing of approximated 13 miles of mainline and secondary roads into the forest. Additional work includes culvert and ditch cleaning throughout the property, Springboard Forestry has identified 137 culverts and cross drains that need repair. Maintaining culverts is important in ensuring that effective drainage takes place following rainfall within the forest. Other smaller items which were approved include water bar repairs, cross drain replacements, and road surfacing.
Forest Planning, or the development of long-term budgeting for the forest. Springboard Forestry is working to develop 5-year and 50-year budgets for the Arch Cape Forest, which include approaches around varying harvest levels. Some of the work that is necessary for this type of budgeting extends beyond the capacity of Springboard, and requires additional support. Future contracts around forest inventory tracking will require additional approvals, but were not deemed important for the immediate health of the Arch Cape Forest.
In total, the contracts that were approved by the Arch Cape Water District Board totaled $260,585. These contracts are all within the scope of the American Rescue Plan Act funding, which there is over $1 million dollars still remaining in the budget. This work will effectively establish a baseline of forest health that has been missing from the Arch Cape Forest over the past decade. The prior land owners of the 1,500 acre property that makes up the Arch Cape Forest harvested and replanted a highly dense forest, and it is the goal of the Arch Cape Forest Management Committee to return the forest to health.