A thinning project and variable retention harvest project is proposed for approximately 50 acres of the Bear Creek Watershed during the summer of 2023. The harvest is located on Spur 12, adjacent to a thinning project that was completed in 2012. This project has been designed for long-term water quality, forest health, and resilience goals.
The harvest project is planned for stands with a high proportion of Douglas fir and Hemlock. The Douglas fir is impacted by Swiss Needlecast and also shows signs of being overstocked.
The thinning treatment will reallocate resources to vigorous trees, improving forest health. In addition, a variable retention harvest, which breaks up the overstory canopy, increasing forest complexity and diversity, is planned for 11.5 acres of the unit adjacent to a pre-existing powerline. The spacing of retention trees mimics the spacing of historic (pre. 1900) forests on the Bear Creek Watershed, allowing for the development of healthy understory and shrub strata with widely spaced large overstory trees. The harvest unit is bisected by numerous spur roads, which require upgrades and repairs.
The net proceeds to the Capital Improvement Fund from these forest treatments are estimated to be $204,000 after harvest, road, and reforestation costs. This estimate is based on a statistical sample with plus / minus 10% estimated accuracy. This estimate is also subject to market fluctuations. Once bids are received, staff will return to City Council for a request for authorization to award a timber harvest contract. The work is currently anticipated to start in June and will take place through the summer and early fall.