AUBURN, Calif. (KTXL) — Placer County will thin out an additional 3,000 acres of the French Meadows Forest Restoration Project to reduce wildfire risk this year.
The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to add the additional acreage in hopes of protecting the county’s water supply during an expected severe dry season.
According to a fact sheet released in 2019 when the project first began, wildfires in recent years have burned thousands of forested acres in the area, causing topsoil — hundreds of thousands of tons — to erode into the river system.
The soil in the waterways clogs the water supply infrastructure, which lowers water quality and hastens the decline of the wildlife habitat and watershed, according to project officials.
According to the release, the restoration project covers 22,000 acres of public land around French Meadows Reservoir, west of Lake Tahoe.
When the project first launched in 2019, over 12,000 acres of forest were planned to be thinned by hand, as well as machinery and animal chewing.
The project has been awarded a grant from the Nature Conservancy worth approximately $1.6 million to fund the thinning of the additional acreage.
The grant money comes from private sources and CAL FIRE grant funding, according to the release.