Public Lands

North Yuba Landscape Resilience Project EIS

South Yuba River Citizens League
A river through a forest

Award Winning Project

North Yuba Forest Partnership was awarded the 2023 Partnership of the Year Award from the USFS Regional Forester in Region 5, as part of the annual Regional Forester Awards. The partnership team includes SE Group, South Yuba River Citizens League, Ascent Environmental, and Vibrant Planet.

SE Group was selected in partnership with Ascent Environmental to provide National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) support for the Tahoe National Forest (TNF). The TNF, as part of the North Yuba Forest Partnership, proposed forest restoration and fuels treatments within a 275,000-acre area of the North Yuba River watershed. Key objectives of the project included improving and restoring forest health and resilience, reducing the risk of high-severity wildfire; protecting and securing water supplies; and protecting communities from the effects of high-severity wildfire. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzed the effects of four alternatives, including the Proposed Action, a more treatment-intensive alternative, and a less treatment-intensive alternative. A Forest Plan amendment was proposed to allow treatments in protected activity centers and to allow the removal of large diameter trees.

SE Group’s responsibilities included providing feedback to the TNF on the purpose and need and Proposed Action; facilitating the NEPA scoping process including processing comments and leading the post-scoping interdisciplinary team meeting; assisting with IDT management; developing technical reports for Inventoried Roadless Areas, Recreation, Scenery, and Wild & Scenic Rivers; preparing sections of the Draft EIS and processing Draft EIS public comments; preparing the Response to Comments document; and preparing the draft Record of Decision.

Project Stats

  • 275,000
    acre area

A key innovative element of the NEPA process included the use of staged decision-making. This approach resulted in approval of the Proposed Action for certain project area-wide actions such as the Forest Plan amendment and invasive species management, as well as stand treatments only in a specific subarea where fieldwork was complete. Subsequent decisions will be necessary to approve treatments in other areas of the project area.