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Chapter 6
Monitoring Strategy

Introduction/Objectives
This monitoring plan summary was developed to meet several objectives. First, to accomplish the reporting and monitoring requirements as set forth in the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act (Act). Second, to gather information to aid the work of the Scientific Review Team (required by the Act) that will be appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. This team will assess the success of implemented actions in meeting the objectives outlined in the Act. Third, this Plan is intended to assess the degree of implementation and effectiveness of the selected alternative in meeting objectives outlined in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). Finally, monitoring is recognized as an essential component of managing natural resources on public lands. This monitoring plan is intended to:

  1. Provide information useful to managers applying the principles of adaptive management
  2. Assist the public in gauging the success of implementing the resource management activities as designed
  3. Assess the effectiveness of the resource management activities in achieving resource objectives.
This monitoring plan is comprised of three parts. Part I (Annual Status Reports) lists project activity reporting requirements set forth in the Act, and not covered. Part II (Implementation Monitoring) assesses the degree to which actions were implemented according to standards and guidelines contained in the FEIS, in the existing Land and Resource Management Plans, or in site-specific direction. Part III (Effectiveness Monitoring) assesses the degree to which implemented resource management activities meet resource objectives and changes in social or economic indicators from communities within the project area.

Annual Status Reports
The purpose of this part of the monitoring plan is to track expenditures, outputs, and projections related to activities authorized by the Record of Decision and specifically required by the Act.

Implementation Monitoring
Implementation monitoring determines the degree and extent to which application of standards and guidelines and mitigation measures meets management direction and intent. Evaluation of implementation is important for a number of reasons. First, no rational assessment of the effectiveness of standards and guidelines can be made without first determining if those standards and guidelines were actually implemented. Implementation monitoring should evaluate performance in carrying out actions described in the Record of Decision. Tracking and reporting implementation of the resource management activities provides a record of accomplishment. Finally, adaptive management requires implementation monitoring so that managers can quickly act on results and make changes in management approaches and prescriptions appropriate to findings.

Effectiveness Monitoring
The purpose of effectiveness monitoring is to determine the degree to which implemented resource management activities met objectives. It is a critical component of adaptive management. The feedback of results into revised management approaches is slower than with implementation monitoring and varies with the specific resource attributes being monitored. The questions for monitoring effectiveness come from a broad pool of possibilities.

The Effectiveness Monitoring Section is structured around the four significant issues identified in the FEIS:

  1. Old Forest Values and Old-Forest Dependent Species
  2. Watershed Effects and Aquatic and Riparian Protection
  3. Economic Well-Being
  4. Wildfire Protection and Fuels Reduction
Additional question areas were derived using several sources, including: Finally, additional questions were developed based on the Interdisciplinary Team’s review of key assumptions made during the preparation of the FEIS (for example: an assumption that high snag densities would increase difficulty of fire suppression), and an assessment of the risk of activities negatively impacting resource elements or ecosystem properties (for example: an assumption that extensive land disturbance increases the risk of onsite impacts to soil quality, and offsite cumulative watershed effects). These questions were integrated with the FEIS issues.

Scales of Analysis
The monitoring plan addresses implementation at the site (individual unit) and project scale. Effectiveness is addressed at the site, stand, or subwatershed scale. Old growth and wildfire are assessed at larger scales. Economic and social data is collected at both the community and county scale.

One fundamental challenge of the Plan is to provide information that will prove useful for evaluating the effectiveness of the actions authorized by the Record of Decision for the 5-year project. Many of the issues addressed by the FEIS (and the Monitoring Plan) operate on temporal scales much longer than 5 years. Obvious examples are core elements of the Plan: fire regime, species populations, and the economic impacts of the pilot project on local communities. Assessing the effectiveness of management actions in affecting changes on these elements is impossible within the short time frame of the pilot project. The monitoring plan addresses several long-term questions by continuing, increasing, or beginning data collection that expands or establishes a baseline for future assessment. Other questions, especially those regarding implementation, are more easily assessed within the period of the pilot project.

Additional Considerations
The structure of this Monitoring Plan was influenced by several factors:

Data collected for the Forest Health Pilot within the pilot project area in 1997 and 1998, an effort that gathered substantial information, particularly on vegetation attributes. The utility of this data in establishing a baseline has influenced selection of attributes.

Ongoing monitoring activities within the project area. These efforts have focused on watershed issues, with one notable exception, the California Spotted Owl Demographic Study on the Lassen National Forest. The integration of this Plan with ongoing efforts was a design consideration.

The development of a Sierra Nevada-wide monitoring strategy through the Sierra Nevada Framework Project. This strategy is addressing ecosystem issues across the Sierra Nevada Range. The Plan attempts to integrate thinking from that effort, and recognizes that the broader-scale plan may supersede components of this Plan. Unfortunately, most elements of the Sierra Nevada scale plan have not been developed to the extent where this Plan can adopt them. Development of the Sierra Nevada plan was instrumental to this Plan’s focus on specific issues derived from the Act and the FEIS. An underlying assumption of the Monitoring Plan is that the status and trend of ecosystem elements not directly influenced by FEIS actions will be addressed at the broader Sierra Nevada scale. Adoption of Sierra Nevada scale monitoring could necessitate revisions in specific approaches and methodologies outlined in this Plan to facilitate a comparison of attributes at the larger scale.

Reporting
Results will be based on fiscal years. Data will be collected prior to October 1 of each year of the 5-year pilot project, and be analyzed, summarized, and reported by the following February 1 (to facilitate meeting the February 28 Congressional reporting requirement). An annual report presenting summaries of all data required by this Monitoring Plan will be prepared. Report drafts will be peer reviewed. Each Report will summarize results from both implementation and effectiveness monitoring. Those cases where implementation monitoring is found to be out of compliance with standards and guidelines or project objectives will be listed, corrective actions taken, or measures necessary to prevent future non-compliance will be presented. In addition to written reports, results will be presented annually in public forums within the pilot project area and posted on the appropriate Forest Service website.

Monitoring Plan Summary Limitations, Review and Revision
The summary presented here is intended to describe what will be monitored in enough detail to allow the reader to gauge what would be done, and how results will be used and reported. This summary requires further refinement prior to implementation. Sampling strategies (timing, locations, frequencies) and protocols need to be established, as does assignment of responsibility for the different components and actions required by the Monitoring Plan. The sampling strategy will be strongly influenced by the selected alternative identified in the Record of Decision. Available funding will also influence the final design of the Plan. A rough estimate of costs is included as Attachment 1. As the Plan is implemented, it is likely that ways of combining monitoring actions to increase efficiency will surface, and adaptations to the Plan should be made to accommodate those findings. The intent is to apply adaptive management principles (revise approaches based on findings) to the Monitoring Plan itself.

Portions of this Monitoring Plan overlap with the Sierra Nevada Framework strategy discussed earlier. Elements, protocols, or approaches may need to be revised when the Sierra Nevada Framework Project is implemented.

PART I - Annual Status Reports

This part of the Monitoring Plan tracks expenditures, outputs, and projections related to resource management activities authorized by the selected alternative and specifically required by the Act. The elements to be reported are:

Accounting of the use of funds and accounts made available under subsection (f)(1) for the previous fiscal year, including a schedule of the amounts drawn from each account used to perform resource management activities described in subsection (d). In addition to a tabulation of acres, (GIS) geographic information system-based maps of the pilot projects will be prepared to illustrate activities, and facilitate future modeling efforts. PART II - Implementation Monitoring
The purpose of implementation monitoring is to establish a framework for assessing the degree to which activities are implemented according to the selected alternative. The selected alternative, including mitigation measures, supplements standards and guidelines in the three Forest Plans and the broad scale direction affecting resource activities, such as the interim direction for the protection of the California spotted owl. Implementation must follow the requirements of biological opinions issued by the USDI Fish and Wildlife Service and US Department of Commerce National Marine Fisheries Service in instances where threatened or endangered species or their habitat may be present. The final source of standards for comparison are those provided in the planning and National Environmental Policy Act disclosure documents for the specific activities. These documents should provide site-specific objectives or mitigation measures that fall within the broad scale standards and guidelines.

Implementation monitoring for the Act is comprised of several components.

(a)Project evaluations
(b)Treated stand structure
(c)Best Management Practices Evaluation Process (BMPEP) implementation monitoring
(d)Soil quality monitoring
(e)Sensitive plant monitoring
(f)Noxious weed monitoring
(g)Air quality
(h)Structured interagency reviews
Project Evaluations
Objective: Assess the degree to which projects meet standards and guidelines, mitigation intent, and their resource objectives. Identify necessary changes to planning and implementation procedures so adjustments can be made throughout the course of the pilot project.

Approach: Three pilot project evaluations will be conducted on each Ranger District annually. Each National Forest will develop a list of pilot projects implemented during the fiscal year, for implementation monitoring in the following fiscal year. Projects will include timber harvest units, mechanized fuel reduction, and prescribed burn units. From this list, two projects will be randomly selected. The Forests will develop sampling strategies so that treatment types are selected in proportion to their frequency. The Forests will also develop a list of riparian and watershed improvement projects. One project per Ranger District will be selected from this list. An interdisciplinary team will conduct the assessments during a day of teamwork. The assessment will focus on issues most important for that project, and assess planning and implementation. The Forests will develop procedures to effectively document interdisciplinary team reviews. At a minimum, findings regarding the following resource areas will be reported for forest health and fuels projects:

Treated Stand Structure
Do silvicultural and fuels treatments meet CASPO, fuels, and other stand objectives?

Objective: Assess stand and fuels characteristics of treated (harvested or burned) stands. Provide information useful in assessing the effects of the treatments on vegetation structure, fuels (live and dead), and understory vegetation. Establish baseline for assessment of long-term effects and effectiveness.

Standards: Vegetation and stand characteristics (such as canopy cover, stocking, structure, and snags) of selected stands are compared against stand-specific environmental analyses, and larger scale (CASPO) objectives.

Approach: Establish photographic records for each selected stand. Follow Forest Service protocols for establishing the photo points. Collect stand data, using protocols developed for Forest Health Pilot (FHP) monitoring, on randomly selected silviculture and fuel treatment sites (number to be determined based on results from pilot testing), before and after treatment, and after approximately 5 years (to be refined) to assess post treatment changes. Include in a separate sample pool both reference plots (from FHP) and treated plots (FHP) to assist in assessing change in untreated areas. Use FHP monitoring results as a basis to determine the need to increase number of reference plots or add understory vegetation to existing plots. Consider expanding the number of reference plots by leaving portions of the treatment unit untreated. To reduce variation, ensure samples are from the same ecological type.

Best Management Practices (BMPs)
Are BMPs implemented during project activities?

Standards: Each individual best management practices evaluation process (BMPEP, USFS 1992) includes a set of standards for implementation against which to compare results from each site. The ultimate objective is for best management practices (BMP) implementation to be at 100 percent. Results for any individual BMP below 85 percent implementation trigger a review of the activity area before implementation of further projects. Individual evaluations that document poor implementation will be referred to the appropriate District Ranger for review and assessment of need for rehabilitation.

Approach: A sample pool of all treated stands, or other applicable tracking unit, such as unit or burn area, will be developed at the end of each fiscal year. From this pool, a representative number of stands, or units, will be selected, such that 30 evaluations of streamside protection zones (BMPEP evaluation T01), timber skid trails (T02), timber landings (T04), roads and road crossings (E08-09), road decommissioning (E10), and prescribed fire (F25) can be made each year. Results will be summarized and reported annually. An assessment of effectiveness will follow the implementation evaluations and be conducted at the same site.

Soil Quality Standards
Do activities meet soil quality standards?

Standards: Soil quality standards are derived from Forest Plans and project-specific objectives. The standards vary slightly between the three Forests in the pilot project area.

Approach: Soil quality measurements will be made at randomly selected sites. These will be the same sites selected for monitoring BMPs for skid trails and prescribed fire (see above). If defensible fuel profile zones (DFPZ) are inadequately represented in this sample pool, they will be added. At each unit, the protocols for soil quality assessment developed during the FHP project will be conducted. These protocols, measuring soil cover, compaction, down wood (large organic matter), and soil displacement will be supplemented with a measure of soil strength. Results will be reported annually. Each site will be photographed. Individual evaluations that document poor implementation will be referred to the appropriate District Ranger for review and assessment of need for rehabilitation. Additional information relating to the soil resource will be obtained from other elements of the Monitoring Plan, including down wood and measures of watershed disturbance.

Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Plant Species
Were threatened, endangered, and sensitive plants surveyed and protected?

Objective: Manage habitats and activities to achieve recovery for threatened or endangered plant species, so that special protection measures provided under the Endangered Species Act are no longer necessary. Manage sensitive plant species so they do not become listed as threatened or endangered due to Forest Service management activities.

Standards: Rare plant surveys are conducted prior to site-specific project-level planning. Protection measures are implemented for individual occurrences, as needed. Other recommendations and mitigation measures in the Biologic Assessment/Biologic Evaluation (BA/BE) and botany reports are followed.

Approach: A post-project evaluation of protection measures and other recommendations and mitigation will be conducted to determine if provisions for protection of plants were implemented and the trend of both the population and habitat before and after treatment.

Noxious Weeds
Were noxious weed introductions prevented and existing infestations suppressed?

Objective: Prevent introductions and the establishment of new infestations of noxious weeds, and contain or suppress any existing infestations.

Standards: Noxious weed inventories are completed as part of the site-specific project planning. Existing infestations within or adjacent to project areas are treated. Equipment cleaning measures are implemented on all projects. All imported materials are from weed-free sources. All staging areas used are weed-free.

Approach: A post-project inventory will be conducted to determine if provisions for control of noxious weeds were implemented, and if any new infestations occurred as a result of the project. A post-project evaluation of inventories made, infestations treated, equipment cleaned, weed-free sources and staging areas used, soil removal and disturbance effects, and post-project inventory will be conducted with existing records and field visits. Individual evaluations that document poor implementation will be referred to the appropriate District Ranger for review and assessment of need for rehabilitation.

Air Quality (Prescribed Fire)
Were provisions of the Smoke Management Plan implemented?

Standards: Burns meet provisions of Smoke Management Plans.

Approach: Conduct post-burn evaluations to assess adherence to Smoke Management Plan provisions for all burns.

Interagency Project Reviews
Approach and Objectives: In cooperation with affected agencies, the Forests will establish protocols patterned after those developed to monitor implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan. Evaluations will be conducted at the project-scale by Forest Service representatives involved in planning and implementation of the pilot project, and representatives of appropriate resource management and regulatory agencies. These agencies could include USDI Fish and Wildlife Service, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Plumas County Road Department, US Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Fish and Game, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, US Department of Commerce National Marine Fisheries Service, and others. The reviews will be scheduled well in advance to increase the likelihood of multiple agency participation, and take place after projects have sustained at least one winter following implementation. One evaluation will be conducted on each Ranger District annually throughout the course of the pilot project program. Projects which best represent the mix of resource management activities authorized by the Act on the Ranger District the previous year will be selected. The reviews will evaluate planning, implementation, and monitoring activities, along with the degree to which applicable standards and guidelines and mitigation measures were implemented.

Reporting protocols for these reviews will be developed. At a minimum, they will include attendees, site and project objectives, recommendations by the review team, evaluation of implementation and effectiveness, environmental effects, and photographs of important or representative project features.

PART III - Effectiveness Monitoring
The purpose of effectiveness monitoring is to assess the degree to which actions meet key resource objectives. Monitoring questions are structured around the four FEIS significant issues. Each issue has been divided into several components with associated questions. For each question, a brief explanation of the objective of the monitoring task, or the standard for comparison is provided. A brief description of the intended approach is also provided.

ISSUE 1 - Old Forest Values and Old-Forest Dependent Species
This issue centers on the degree to which resource management activities authorized by the Record of Decision will result in the fragmentation of old forest habitat or cause adverse impacts to old forest habitats and old forest-dependent species. A related concern is whether the resource management activities will provide adequate protection for areas of late successional emphasis (ALSE) and highly ranked late successional old growth forests (LS/OG ranks 4 and 5). This issue is addressed by evaluating three related system components: California spotted owls, terrestrial species, and forest vegetation. The forest vegetation component is discussed as topic number 2 in the implementation section.

California Spotted Owls
California spotted owls and their habitat are addressed by looking at four attributes: (1) protected activity centers (PACs) and spotted owl habitat areas (SOHAs), (2) spotted owl habitat, (3) population growth rates, and (4) spotted owl distribution and abundance.

Are PACs and SOHAs protected or replaced as specified in the California spotted owl interim guidelines?

Standards: Existing PACs and SOHAs are maintained, and all new nest sites are afforded nest protection. No decrease in the number of PACs and SOHAs shall occur over the life of the pilot project.

Approach: Monitor changes in number, condition, and location of PACs and SOHAs over the life of the pilot project within the tri-Forest area.

Is there a change in the amount of California spotted owl habitat?

Standards: Vegetation structure in the mixed conifer-pine, mixed conifer-fir, and red fir type within the westside and transition zones provide continued nesting habitat and is generally suitable for owl foraging and dispersal.

Approach:

(a)Monitor changes in the distribution and abundance of habitat, and habitat elements used by California spotted owls, based on current descriptions of suitable habitat. The methodology for monitoring changes would be to inventory and classify all habitat at the project-level for owl suitability, using aerial photographs and field verification, implementing silvicultural prescriptions to maintain habitat attributes, field verification of project layout and design, and review of post-implementation for suitable canopy cover of the upper and mid-canopy layers using densiometer, snag, and log transects.
(b)Gather baseline habitat data for each home range within the Lassen Demography Study and monitor changes in distribution and abundance of habitat and habitat elements within these home ranges. Document changes in habitat and relate to the long-term population study (Item 3 below).
Does the California spotted owl population within the Lassen National Forest Demography study area change?

Objective: Continue the existing long-term study and examine demographic responses to resource management activities.

Approach: Monitor California spotted owl population growth rate (lambda (k )) based on demographic data such as age-specific survivorship and reproduction. Methodology would replicate the current demographic effort on the Lassen described by Blakelsley and Noon (1999). Extend this effort for a minimum of an additional 15 years, 5 to 8 years during implementation and 7 to 10 years after implementation.

Does California spotted owl distribution and reproduction differ in treated and untreated landscapes within the pilot project area?

Standards: California spotted owl distribution within the westside and transition zones of the pilot project area is maintained.

Approach: Develop a plan to determine if treatments sustain California spotted owl populations as expected. All owl home ranges will be placed into one of two groups: (1) those that might be impacted by treatment, and (2) those that will not be potentially impacted (non-treatment). From each group, 30 home ranges will be randomly selected. Demographic study protocols will be applied to each of the 60 home ranges. No banding or radio tagging will be used. These surveys will be sufficient to establish non-occupancy, occupancy by singles, occupancy by pairs, ages of occupants (subadult and adult), non-reproduction, reproduction, and number of young produced, and turnover, or replacement events. These home range attributes will be tracked for a period of 10 years.

Terrestrial Species
Terrestrial species are addressed by evaluating changes in forest carnivore habitat, forest carnivore abundance and distribution, and responses of selected species to management activities.

Is there a change in forest carnivore habitat, or forest carnivore abundance and distribution?

Objective: Document any changes in the amount and distribution of suitable marten and fisher habitat.

Approach: Within general forest and forest carnivore networks inventory and monitor for the presence of forest carnivores and evaluate habitat suitability. Prior to project implementation, inventory project areas using techniques described in Zelinski and Kucera (1995). Post-project species monitoring will repeat the inventory methods for up to 5 years after implementation. Monitor changes in the distribution and abundance of habitat, and habitat elements used by forest carnivores, based on current descriptions of suitable habitat. At the project-level, inventory and classify all habitat for suitability using photographs and field examination, and implement silvicultural prescriptions to maintain habitat attributes, field verify project layout and design, and review post implementation suitability. Collect stand plot data on selected sites to quantify stand conditions and habitat attributes before and after treatment. Canopy cover in forest carnivore networks will be evaluated onsite before or during project layout to maintain a minimum of 60 percent canopy cover where defensible fuel protection zones enter or cross corridors, and in forested areas between group selection openings.

How do selected vertebrate species respond to the proposed resource management activities (construction of defensible fuel profile zones, group selection and individual tree selection harvest, and riparian restoration)?

Objectives: Evaluate impacts of resource management activities on early seral/open forest habitat species by comparing projected species’ responses, positive, negative and neutral, with realized responses. For selected species, assess trends in territory use, evaluate impacts of resource management activities that may occur in territories or management areas, and compliance with management plans.

Approach:

(a)Assess response of selected early seral/open forest species and closed forest species to landscapes subject to high density group selection, moderate density group selection, and low or no group selection. Passerine birds (both shrub/forest opening species, and closed forest species), upland game, and deer are the selected species. Conduct point counts through selected stands, including group selection cut areas and the surrounding forested areas, for up to 10 years for information on species trends. Deer response could be determined by utilization cages, pellet transects, and observational data. Pre-treatment baseline information is required.
(b)Assess response of bald eagles, peregrine falcons, goshawks, and other threatened, endangered, and sensitive terrestrial species. Monitor compliance with any existing recovery plans and Forest Plan monitoring procedures. Annual nest site monitoring, using present methodologies, should continue for the above species as directed within the Forest Plans.
Forest Vegetation
Effectiveness of the monitoring plan in meeting forest vegetation objectives is addressed by assessing several attributes. Two specific assessments derived from the treated stand structure monitoring are listed below.

Are the desired abundance and distribution of snags and logs achieved in defensible fuel profile zones and group selections?

Standards: Retain up to 8 snags per acre within the westside and transition zones, and 3 snags per acre within the eastside zone. Retain logs at 10 to 15 tons per acre within the westside and transition zones, and logs at 3 tons per acre within the eastside zone.

Does implementation of silvicultural prescriptions produce or retain desired stand elements such as logs, canopy cover, large trees, and early seral forage?

Standards: Meet CASPO interim direction guidelines for down log densities and reserve basal area in large tree retention. Meet canopy cover requirements for suitable habitat for California spotted owls and forest carnivores in existing suitable habitat.

ISSUE 2 - Watershed Effects and Aquatic and Riparian Protection
This issue relates to onsite and cumulative effects to soils, watersheds, and aquatic resources that could result from land management activities, including road building, relocation, or decommissioning, fuel treatments, and timber harvest. There are also concerns about land management activity effects on watersheds with past intense or extensive watershed disturbances. The Monitoring Plan broadens this issue to include questions from the Act related to water yield, specifically, the effect of management activities on water releases, water quality changes, and water yield changes, over the short-term and long-term, in the pilot project area.

The Plan addresses this issue by assessing trends in indicators of watershed disturbance, channel and riparian condition, effects on special habitats, and water yield. Soil quality is assessed in the Implementation section.

Watershed Disturbance
What is the effect of activities on indicators of watershed condition?

Standards: Standards for measures are developed during project-level analysis. The management objective is to meet project-specific standards.

Approach: Subwatersheds will be used to track disturbance levels in watersheds where activities occur during the pilot project period. Attributes of disturbance will include road density, near-stream road density (using buffer widths from the selected alternative), road density by topographic position (upper, middle, and lower slope), equivalent roaded acres, near-stream equivalent roaded acres (selected alternative widths), and the number of road-stream channel intersections. Data will be displayed in terms of pre-project and post-project conditions. Consistent protocols for these measures will be applied across the three National Forests.

Stream Channel and Riparian Attributes and Macroinvertebrate Assemblages
How do attributes (channel, riparian and macroinvertebrate assemblages) of streams in the pilot project area change over time? What is the trend in channel and riparian attributes and macroinvertebrate assemblages in subwatersheds with the highest concentration of activities?

Standards: Standards for the measures are developed during project-level analysis. The management objective is to meet project-specific standards.

Approach: The group of 37 "reference" watersheds (generally 3rd order watersheds - see attachment 3 for listing) sampled across the three Forests during the Forest Health Pilot (FHP) monitoring will continue to be monitored using physical and biological attributes. Invertebrate assemblages will be added to the core set of Stream Condition Inventory (SCI) variables using a methodology compatible with that adopted by the Feather River Coordinated Resource Management Group. The SCI protocols include measures of channel morphology, sediment in the channel substrate, shade, temperature, and large instream wood. These streams are sampled on a pre-selected basis over a period of 5 years, and provide a basis of comparison for other streams sampled.

Each Ranger District will select two additional subwatersheds for pre-activity and post-activity monitoring. Subwatersheds will be selected that have the highest concentration of activities, or otherwise pose the highest risk of cumulative effects. The selected watersheds will be monitored at least 1 year before, and for at least 2 years following project implementation. Data will be compared to project objectives, pilot project area references, and data from the Sierra Nevada Framework Project monitoring effort. Where appropriate, monitoring will include water yield, timing, and quality changes over the short-term and long-term as prescribed by the Act (Title IV, Section 401(j)(1)(C) and (k)(1)(B)).

Special Habitats
Are springs, seeps, and other small aquatic habitats protected during project activities?

Standards: Protect and enhance the condition of springs, seeps, and other small (less than ¼ acre) aquatic habitats, and headwater channels within the project area.

Approach: Review all sale area and project maps for "special" aquatic habitats, such as seeps, springs, and meadows, and headwater channels for units selected for BMPEP evaluation. Conduct a field reconnaissance, aided by aerial photography, of the selected unit to determine if features were accurately identified and mapped and the degree to which guidelines for protection of these features was met. The three National Forests will develop appropriate evaluation procedures to address this question, and include a photographic record.

Water Yield Component
What is the effect of the proposed treatments on modeled water yield and soil moisture characteristics?

(a)Water Yield Modeling
    Objective: Use models to estimate changes to water yield resulting from management activities at the subwatershed scale.

    Approach: A watershed will be selected from each of four watershed types within the pilot project area. These types are: eastside, central, westside, and Lassen volcanic plateau. Hydrologic processes within each selected subwatershed will be modeled using the Mike-She (Abbott et al, 1986), WRENS or other applicable system. Scenarios reflecting different mixes of activity types and densities will then be conducted to model changes in water yield and timing of runoff.

    (b)Soil Moisture

Objective: Assess differences in soil moisture resulting from silvicultural treatments such as thinning, group selection, and defensible fuel profile zones authorized by the Act.

Approach: Measure soil moisture before and after silvicultural treatments on soil types and topography representative of the pilot project area. Measure soil moisture in and outside treated areas, comparing soil type, aspect, precipitation, and topography as closely as possible. Untreated areas should closely approximate pre-treatment conditions in the stands to be treated, in terms of vegetation structure, density, and species composition. Sampled areas will represent soil types, aspect, and slopes within the pilot project area. Continue measures for 5 years, but report findings annually.

Best Management Practices
Are Best Management Practices (BMP) applied during project activities effective in meeting onsite objectives?

Standards: Each individual BMPEP (USFS 1992) evaluation has a unique set of standards for implementation and effectiveness, against which results from each site are compared. The objective is for 100 percent BMP effectiveness. Results for any individual BMP below 85 percent effectiveness, trigger a project area review prior to implementation of additional projects. Sites with poor effectiveness results will be reviewed in the field as soon as possible for potential remedial action.

Approach: A sample pool of all stands or other applicable tracking unit will be developed at the end of each fiscal year. A representative number of stands or units, will be selected from this pool, such that 30 evaluations can be made each year of streamside protection zones (BMPEP evaluation T01), timber skid trails (T02), timber landings (T04), roads and road crossings (E08-09), road decommissioning (E10), and prescribed fire (F25). Results will be summarized and reported annually. The assessment of effectiveness will follow the implementation evaluations conducted at the same site.

Amphibian Presence at Currently Occupied Sites
Do amphibians persist at currently occupied breeding locations?

Objective: Determine the extent of amphibian species distribution.

Approach: Using consistent protocols, visit locations in the project area with existing amphibian populations every other year of the pilot project period to determine persistence of amphibian breeding populations. Locations in offbase and deferred areas will be subsampled for a reference comparison. Species include foothill and mountain yellow-legged frog, Cascades frog, and red-legged frog. If project-level or other surveys identify additional breeding locations they will be added to those already surveyed.

ISSUE 3 - Economic Well-Being
This issue concerns the effects of management actions on local community economies within the pilot project area and addresses whether resource management activities prescribed by the selected alternative increase local community stability.

The Monitoring Plan will focus data collection at the community level in two general areas:

community well-being (described as "social" below) and economic activity (described as "economic" below). Community data can be aggregated to larger, county and pilot project area scales, if necessary.

The Monitoring Plan will collect data useful in assessing changes in both economic activity and community well-being. Multiple factors such as national economic trends, shifts in regional recreation patterns, and timber industry manufacturing decisions influence the economic stability of local communities making it difficult to assess changes in regional and local economic indicators, or to establish cause and effect relationships between activities resulting from implementation of the selected alternative. A time lag between the implementation of activities and economic and social responses may also be a challenge for evaluating changes.

Social and Economic Indicators
What is the trend in selected indicators of economic activity in local communities in the eight core counties over the period of the pilot project?

Objective: Collect information useful in assessing the economic impacts of actions prescribed in the selected alternative.

Approach: Collect the following information at the community or, where unavailable, county level. Most of these data will be collected annually over the course of the pilot project period.

Table 6.1 Social and Economic Data Collection
ELEMENT INDICATOR DATA COLLECTION BASE
SOCIAL DATA
Income
  • Income by industry sector
  • Median household income
County level
Educational attainment
  • Percentage of population with a high school diploma
  • High school drop out rates
Community level
Poverty
  • Percentage of population in poverty
  • Free and reduced lunch participation
  • Public assistance recipients
Community level
Unemployment
  • Unemployment
  • Unemployment estimates
County level
Population
  • Population age structure
Community level
ECONOMIC DATA
Business activity
  • Business name registrations
  • Business number, sector and relative size
  • Economic census data (5-year frequency)
  • Forest products industry roster
Community level
Electricity production
  • Hydroelectric production
  • Cogeneration power production
 
Timber sale activity by Ranger District
  • Number of timber sales
  • Type of sales (SSTS, SBA, etc.) Location of purchaser
  • Volume of timber harvest by type (sawlog, biomass, etc.)
  • Number of timber sales sold to locally-based businesses
  • Volume of timber harvested, by type, by locally-based businesses
 
Timber sale bid value Value of timber sales  
Receipts to counties Value of receipts County level
Tourism
  • Transient occupancy taxes
  • Forest Service recreation visitor days
County level
Forest Service employment Number of Forest Service employees  
Contracts
  • Number of Forest Service contracts
  • Value of contracts
  • Number of contracts to locally-based businesses
  • Value of contracts to locally-based businesses
 

ISSUE 4 - Wildfire Protection and Fuels Reduction
This issue addresses the effectiveness of activities designed to reduce the susceptibility to high intensity, stand-replacing wildfires, relative to other management strategies. The Monitoring Plan will collect information to assess the effectiveness of fuels treatments to meet fire management goals, and the impacts of fuel treatment activities on other resources. Components include the frequency, behavior, and severity of wildfires; post-burn review of fuels composition and other fire influencing factors; changes in stand structure as a result of treatments and over time following treatment; and impacts of prescribed fire on air quality.

Fire Frequency
What is the long-term trend in large fire frequency?

Objective: Add to the established baseline of fire frequency and distribution for future comparisons.

Approach: Track and map the number of fires per year greater than 100 acres.

Fire Severity
What is the trend in the severity of large fires on acres burned?

Objective: Add to and improve the established baseline on fire severity for future comparisons.

Approach: For each fire greater than 100 acres, use aerial reconnaissance and ground-truthing to create a map of intensity classes in compliance with Forest Service Emergency Burned Area Response (BAER) protocols (low, moderate, and severe). Report as classes of percentage of total area burned.

Fire Behavior
What is the effect of treatments on individual fire behavior and suppression actions?

Objective: Evaluate the effects of fuels present and areas treated for fuels reduction on the spread and containment of fires greater than 100 acres.

Approach: For each fire greater than 100 acres, conduct post-burn evaluations to assess the effects of stand structure and other fuel conditions, weather, resource availability, and suppression measures. Specifically address the influence of fuel treatments and the effect of snag densities on suppression tactics and fire behavior. Assessments will be made by teams with experience and expertise in fire behavior.

Treated Stand Structure
Do silvicultural treatments meet California spotted owl interim direction, and fuel and stand objectives over time?

Objectives: Assess the changes in fuels characteristics of treated areas over time, and assess the influence of canopy closure on response of understory vegetation.

Standards: Vegetation and stand characteristics including canopy cover, stocking, structure, and snags are compared against stand-specific objectives.

Approach: Data is collected as described in Implementation Section 2.

Air Quality (Prescribed Fire)
Do prescribed fire activities meet air quality standards? Do prescribed fires create a nuisance in terms or air quality?

(a)Post Fire Evaluations
    Standards: Prescribed burns meet provisions of Smoke Management Plans and air quality standards.

    Approach: Assess adherence to Smoke Management Plan provisions for all burns. Utilize data from Air Quality Management District (AQMD) recorders to assess impacts to air quality particulate matter less than 10 microns (PM10)

    (b)Complaints

Standards: The ratio of complaints to burn projects does not increase over the course of the pilot project period.

Approach: Log the number of complaints about air quality resulting from prescribed burns made to the Forest Service, AQMD, and County Health Departments. Track the number of projects discontinued due to complaints.

Other Concerns

Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Plant Species
How do threatened, endangered, and sensitive plant species respond to the resource management activities (defensible fuel profile zones, group selection, individual tree selection, and riparian restoration)?

Objective: Assess impacts of resource management activities on threatened, endangered, and sensitive plant species.

Approach: For direct impacts, examine the information obtained from implementation monitoring to determine if impacts occurred. Conduct field visits to determine the extent of impact and assess possible restoration activities.

Noxious Weeds
Were existing infestations of noxious weeds eliminated or contained? Did new infestations occur during or following pilot project implementation? Were all new infestations eliminated, or did some become established?

Objective: Determine noxious weed distribution and changes in abundance resulting from prescribed activities.

Approach: Compare weed levels in project areas, using pre-inventory and post-inventory surveys to determine the changes in distribution and relative abundance resulting from proposed resource activities. If distribution has increased, assess the need for control or eradication and follow-up visits for any infestations.

Attachment 1 Monitoring Plan Cost Estimates
ELEMENT ESTIMATED ANNUAL COST 

($)

ESTIMATED FREQUENCY ESTIMATED DURATION ESTIMATED TOTAL COST

($)

REPORTING 
Annual status reports
20,000
Annually
5 years
100,000
Evaluation and assessment report preparation
15,000
Annually
5 years
75,000
IMPLEMENTATION MONITORING
Project evaluations
21,000
Annually
5 years
105,000
Treated stand structure
55,000
Annually
5 years
275,000
Best Management Practices (BMP), including effectiveness
15,000
Annually
5 years
75,000
Soil Quality
30,000
Annually
5 years
150,000
Threatened, endangered, and sensitive plants/noxious weeds
10,000
Annually
5 years
50,000
Interagency reviews
6,000
Annually
5 years
30,000
EFFECTIVENESS MONITORING
Protected activity centers (PAC) and spotted owl habitat areas (SOHA)
5,000
Annually
5 years
25,000
California spotted owl demographics
150,000
Annually
8 years
1,200,000
California spotted owl distribution and reproduction
160,000
Annually
10 years
1,600,000
Carnivore habitat and distribution
60,000
Annually
10 years
600,000
Selected vertebrate response
20,000
Annually
10 yeas
200,000
Watershed disturbance
5,000
Annually
5 years
25,000
Channel, riparian, and invertebrates
44,000
Annually
5 years
220,000
Special habitats
10,000
Annually
5 years
50,000
Water yield -modeling (2 runs)      
70,000
Water yield – data collection
5,000
Annually
1 year
5,000
Water yield –soil moisture
9,000
Annually
5 years
45,000
Amphibians
15,000 
Biannually
8 years
60,000
Economic/social
10,000
Annually
5 years
50,000
Fire frequency (large fires)
3,000
Annually
8 years
24,000
Fire intensity
3,000
Annually
8 years
24,000
Post-burn evaluations
2,000
Annually
8 years
16,000
Stand structure (includes California spotted owl habitat)        
Air quality complaints
1,000
Annually
5 years
5,000
Threatened, endangered, and sensitive plants/noxious weeds
5,000
Annually
5 years
25,000
ADMINISTRATION
Database development and maintenance
15,000
Annually
5 years 
75,000
Administration and coordination
30,000
Annually
8 years
240,000
 TOTAL (includes California Spotted Owl Demographic Study)                                        764,000
The California Spotted Owl Demographic Study may be Funded as a Regional Project

Attachment 2 Monitoring Status of Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species
SPECIES STATUS DETERMINATION MONITORING
FORMAT IN FEIS
INVERTEBRATES
Shasta crayfish Threatened No effect Not monitored
Valley elderberry longhorn beetle Threatened Not likely Not monitored
California floater Sensitive No effect Not monitored
Great Basin ramshorn Sensitive No effect Not monitored
Scalloped juga Sensitive No effect Not monitored
Topaz juga Sensitive No effect Not monitored
Montane peaclam Sensitive No effect Not monitored
FISH
Central Valley spring-run chinook salmon Proposed endangered Not likely PACFISH
Central Valley fall-run chinook salmon Proposed threatened Not likely Not monitored
Central Valley steelhead Threatened Not likely PACFISH
Lahontan cutthroat trout Threatened Not likely Tahoe National Forest
Hardhead Sensitive No effect Not monitored
Eagle Lake rainbow trout Sensitive No effect Not monitored
Lahontan Lake tui chub Sensitive No effect Not monitored
AMPHIBIANS
California red-legged frog Threatened Not likely FEIS Plan
Mountain yellow-legged frog Sensitive No trend to listing FEIS Plan
Foothill yellow-legged frog Sensitive No trend to listing FEIS Plan
Cascade frog Sensitive No trend to listing FEIS Plan
Northern leopard frog Sensitive No effect Not monitored
REPTILES
Northwestern pond turtle Sensitive No trend to listing Not monitored
BIRDS
Bald eagle Threatened Not likely Not monitored
American peregrine falcon Endangered Not likely Not monitored
Northern spotted owl Threatened Not likely Not monitored
Northern goshawk Sensitive No trend to listing Forest Plans
California spotted owl Sensitive Trend toward listing FEIS Plan
Great grey owl Sensitive No trend to listing Forest Plans
Willow flycatcher Sensitive No trend to listing Forest Plans
Greater sandhill crane Sensitive No effect Forest Plans
Swainson’s hawk Sensitive No effect Not monitored
MAMMALS
Sierra Nevada red fox Sensitive No trend to listing FEIS Plan
Marten Sensitive No trend to listing Forest Plans
Pacific fisher Sensitive No trend to listing FEIS Plan
California wolverine Sensitive No trend to listing Not monitored
Pallid bat Sensitive No trend to listing Not monitored
Townsend’s big-eared bat Sensitive No effect Not monitored
Western red bat Sensitive No trend to listing Not monitored

 
 
 

Attachment 3 Reference Watersheds
FOREST STREAM 
Lassen Butt 
Cub 
Elam 
Jones 
Pine 
Rice
Rock (Lassen)
South Fork Bailey
Plumas Boulder 
Cottonwood (Plumas)
Florentine
Frazier
French 
Grizzly
Hungry
Little North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Feather River
Moonlight
Nelson 
Rock (Plumas)
Rowland
Rush 
SB Middle Fork Feather River
Slate
South Fork Feather River
Upper Little Grizzly
Willow
Willow at Conklin
Tahoe Canyon
Cottonwood
Lavezzola 
Lower Bear Valley 
Pauly
Perrazo
Sagehen 
Sagehen (upper)
Smithneck
Upper Bear Valley

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