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Placer Sentinel

Placer County Board of Supervisors Greenlights Next Contract for French Meadows Ecological Forest Restoration Project

Feb 26, 2024 11:25AM ● By County of Placer News Release

AUBURN, CA (MPG) - Feb. 20 marks another step forward for the French Meadows Ecological Forest Restoration Project as the Placer County Board of Supervisors voted to allocate a contract to advance critical forest health initiatives in the Middle Fork American River watershed.

Dowling Underground & Networking Inc. has been selected as the recipient of the contract, valued at $587,584, to spearhead non-commercial fuels reduction services across various land units surrounding the French Meadows Reservoir.

“Adding another almost 400 acres of treatment on the French Meadows project highlights our commitment to proactively address forest health challenges while fortifying the resilience of local ecosystems and communities against the escalating threat of wildfires,” said Placer County District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson.

The French Meadows Ecological Forest Restoration Project is a collaborative effort to evaluate and mitigate wildfire risks and safeguard the county's water resources across 22,000 acres of public land surrounding the French Meadows Reservoir, situated west of Lake Tahoe. This committed public-private partnership is doing its part to help increase the pace and scale of ecologically-driven forest management and fuels reduction endeavors throughout the Sierra Nevada region.

Project partners include USDA Forest Service, Placer County, Placer County Water Agency, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, American River Conservancy, and the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced.

According to Placer County Regional Forest Health coordinator Kerri Timmer, the restoration project is approximately 55% complete. Timmer is cautiously optimistic that the project will be completed by the end of the 2025 work season.

Competitive bids were solicited, with Dowling Underground & Networking Inc. offering the most competitive bid for non-commercial fuels reduction services. The significant disparity between the lowest and second lowest bid totals results in a cost savings of $75,666, underscoring the fiscal prudence exercised in the selection process.

With the approval of this contract, work under this solicitation is slated to commence during the 2024 work season.

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