2012 Planting Season Continues To Show Success for ReLeaf

With late winter storms our eighth season got a late start but all went well. The Mojave Desert Resource Conservation District continues to oversee the reforestation efforts in the San Bernardino Mountain area devastated by the bark beetle decimation and 2003 and 2007 Wildfires. Funding for each planting season has mainly been funded by grants received from American Forest. American Forest has again funded ReLeaf for the eighth season. Due to the closure of the CalFire Magalia Nursery, in 2011, we were limited to a smaller quantity of seedlings this season. This season we partnered with Southern California Edison, to provide our seedlings, and CALFIRE (California Department of Forestry), as technical advisors and hands on assistants.

Volunteers for this year’s plantings were recruited through previous planting projects and media notifications. The ReLeaf volunteer database continues to hold at around 325 volunteers from current and previous planting seasons. Media coverage for the 2012 planting season consisted of news print, and internet news. Volunteers traveled from all over Orange, Riverside, LA and San Bernardino Counties. Due to the 2007 wildfires and continued bark beetle epidemic more land is being treated to prepare the sites for planting in 2013 to assist in the recovery efforts. Using volunteers and planting crews, in just a one week period over 5,000 seedlings were planted in the San Bernardino Mountains. We are still finding seedlings from our first season that are now 7 years old and approximately 5 feet high. We have gone back into several areas to re-evaluate the growth and success rate of this project – currently per the reviews of our CalFire partners we are looking at a 50-55% success rate. All seedlings for the 2013 season are currently being grown by Southern California Edison, at their Shaver Lake Forestry Operation.

The goal of this project is to educate the public and to create a mixed conifer/hardwood forest with all native species spaced in a fashion that provides for a healthy forest. Erosion control in these areas will protect the waterways and natural resources as well as the neighboring properties from runoff and sediments. We continue to plant near running streams that feed to the Mojave Desert. These plantings will also provide different types of food and cover for the variety of wildlife in the forest. Composed of federal, state, regional and local agencies, as well as local stakeholders, this partnership includes, but is not limited to: CALFIRE California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Southern California Edison, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services, American Forests Global ReLeaf, Sempra Energy, Actor – Matthew Modine, Inland Empire Resource Conservation District, Greater San Diego RCD, Windermere Real Estate, Arrowhead Lake Association, Mountain Rim FSC, Arrowhead Communities FSC, Big Bear Valley FSC, Running Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, Lake Arrowhead Community Service District, California ReLeaf, Crestline and Lake Arrowhead Municipal Advisory Committee, MAST, US Forest Service, and Mountain-Desert Resource Conservation and Development Council. A Statement of Cooperation has been completed and endorsed by all partners.