Newspaper Archive of
Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
October 1, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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October 1, 2014

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 1B Rodney Lee uses a drip torch on the Genesee Wildlife Urban Interface on April 9. The 60-acre underburn covered 20 acres of Forest Service Heart K Ranch. Photo submitted Collaborative Underburn land and 40 acres of the Fall at the Heart K Ranch. Photo by Heather Kingdon Indian Creak flows through the Heart K Ranch, providing guests with a relaxing setting in which to spend a summer afternoon. Photo by Samantha P. Hawthorne Samantha P. Hawthorne Staff Writer Volunteers and organizations throughout Plumas and Lassen counties are working together to create a healthy forest and riparian habitat on the Heart K Ranch. Feather River Land Trust and the Feather River Resource Conservation District partnered to protect the historical property, rich in diversity, natural resources and cultural values. In 2006 FRLT was able to purchase Heart K from The Nature Conservancy and has since been working hard toward conservation. " Since the trust purchased the property and publicaUy declared its intent to create a healthy forest for people, plants and animals, the following organizations have also partnered with FRLT to help restore the land: California Indian Environmental Alliance, California State University Chico, Feather River College, Maidu Summit Consortium, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Plumas Audubon Society, Plumas National Forest and the Greenville and Susanville rancherias. Through their conaborative use of traditional land managementpractices and the Mountain Maidu's traditional ecological knowledge, the nearly 1000-acre forest property is being preserved to protect the variety of habitats that support a diverse animal and plant population. The goals behind the project are threefold: to improve water quality and riparian habitat by planting cottonwood and willow along Indian Creek; reduce wildfh-e risk by hand thirming 100 - 120 forested acres and removing conifers that are no more than 10 inches in diameter; and to employ local indigenous people. In the six months prior to its project update in July, FRLT focused on planning and permitting, public outreach, riparian restoration and forest health. During the current six-month period volunteers are focusing on riparian and forest restoration. A monarch butterfly wisps through the air in search of nectar from the blooming star thistle at the Heart K Ranch. With fall approaching, the thistle was one of the last flowers still in bloom. Photo by Samantha P. Hawthorne About Heart K The ranch is home to 884 acres of oak woodlands, old-growth conifer forests, riparian woodlands and mountain meadow habitats, as well as Taylor Lake -- a serene escape encompassing 80 acres of the ranch. Indian Creak flows through the Heart K, and although most of the area is dry due to lack of moisture, a large patch of meadow remains hydrated and green thanks to the creek running into it. As one of only areas currently blossoming, the meadow attracts a variety of butterfly and bee species, as well as other insects. River otters, black bears, beavers, mountain lions, golden eagles and the endangered willow flycatcher, along with other special-status species, have made their homes in the Heart K forest. In the Heart K forest alone, there are nearly 100 different bird species recorded. Not only do these animals make permanent homes in the area, others have been observed using it as a migratory corridor. The Maidu were the original settlers of the ranch. To this day,, Maidu families still use the grounds as a gathering place and to gather acorns -- a staple in their diet and a natural resource that is abundant in the forest. Although the ranch is private property, it is FRLT's goal to maintain the Heart K for public use and recreation. Its clean drinking water, carbon sequestration and diverse recreational activities are only a few of the hidden secrets of Heart K. Ecological health According to project leader Darrel Jury, past management actions haveled to unhealthy forests within the Heart K Ranch. Logging inthe 1990s throughout the forest caused the growth of new trees, all of the same age and struggling to stay alive. Rather than removing trees of an assortment of ages, loggers cut only large trees. This resulted in an even-aged, See Heart K, page 15B This Ponderosa pine stands tall on the road to the Heart K Ranch; it is estimated to be one of the oldest trees on the property at around 300 years old. Evidence of the local bear population is visible on the tree through claw marks running up its trunk. Photo by Samantha P. Hawthorne