Continuing to address the crisis of dead and dying trees in Placer County, the county Board of Supervisors today approved the latest in a series of contracts to remove trees threatening county roads and infrastructure. The $164,525 contract, funded through the county Office of Emergency Services, went to Tree Pro Tree Services Inc. of Penryn, California, to remove 118 trees from the Dutch Flat area down to the Meadow Vista area along the Interstate 80 corridor. Work is expected to begin this month and the contractor has 60 days to complete the tree removal.
Arborists with the county’s consultant for the project, Mountain G. Enterprises Inc., have identified approximately 10,500 dead or dying trees countywide that could fall onto county roads or other county-owned infrastructure like trails and parking lots. About half of these are on federal land and most of the rest are on private property or in the county right-of-way. To date, the county has completed two projects in the Foresthill area that removed 262 trees.
Many other agencies are also removing dead trees in Placer County, including Pacific Gas and Electric, Liberty Utilities, Caltrans and CAL FIRE. Hazardous trees on private property are the responsibility of the property owner to remove, and some assistance is available to them through the county’s Firewise Communities Program and the Placer County Resource Conservation District.
Only trees that threaten county roads are eligible for removal by the county on private property, and only property owners who have granted the county right-of-entry approval will have trees removed. Affected residents have been notified of the removal schedule and can expect intermittent lane closures in area neighborhoods as work crews remove the trees. This is an ongoing county-wide project.
Disposal of the trees is included in the contractor’s work. Possible uses for the removed timber and material include lumber, wood chips and renewable energy produced at local biomass facilities.
Nearly all felled trees will be removed, but a limited number determined to be in ecologically-sensitive areas will be left in place. Trees deemed to have died before Placer County declared a local emergency in December 2015 due to the tree death crisis have been marked with white paint and won’t be felled by the county.
An estimated 129 million trees in California were killed by drought and bark beetles between 2010 and 2017, according to the state’s Tree Mortality Task Force. Placer County remains under a declared emergency due to the tree death crisis and is counted among the 10 hardest-hit California counties. That makes Placer eligible for reimbursement of 75 percent of the project costs through the California Disaster Assistance Act. The county’s 25 percent cost share is 100 percent reimbursable up to $364,000 through a CAL FIRE grant program.
More information about the tree death crisis in Placer County is available at placer.ca.gov/trees.