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Scotts Flat Reservoir Forest Health and Wildfire Risk Reduction

NID Partners with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to Reduce Fire Fuels

May contain: vegetation, plant, woodland, nature, outdoors, forest, tree, land, grove, and ground
Pre-treatment photo Scotts Flat Reservoir

The Scotts Flat Fuels Reduction Project Phase 4 is located on the north and east shores of the Scotts Flat Reservoir in the Deer Creek watershed near Nevada City in Nevada County. This storage reservoir is integral to the water supply infrastructure that Nevada Irrigation District (NID) manages for communities in Nevada, Placer, and Yuba Counties. Last year NID completed a significant fire fuels reduction project to remove trees with a diameter of less than 10”; chipping and spreading the material throughout a 300-acre project area at Scotts Flat Reservoir. The number of trees per acre was significantly decreased, and the average diameter of the keep trees was increased across all treated areas.

May contain: vegetation, plant, woodland, nature, outdoors, forest, tree, land, ground, and grove
Post-treatment photo Scotts Flat Reservoir

These changes in the characteristics of forest stands indicate the success of the project in reducing stand density, which decreases wildfire severity and risk of ignition, increases carbon sequestration rates, and improves forest health.

  • Average Pre-Treatment Trees Per Acre - 2,025       
  • Average Post-Treatment Trees Per Acre -   110       
  • Average Pre-Treatment Tree Diameter - 4.3"           
  • Average Post-Treatment Tree Diameter - 15.0" 

This project was Phase 4 of a 7-year effort to reduce understory ladder fuels and to thin the forest around Scotts Flat Reservoir where forested lands meet residential communities and critical water system infrastructure in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). The forest at this site now reflects a mixed-species composition and a mixed age distribution with improved functionality compared to pre-treatment conditions. Healthy forests provide more water and are more resilient to wildfire and climate change.*


*Conversation, Bales & Conklin. “Healthy Forests Do More than Just Prevent Wildfires.” Popular Science, 26 Apr. 2021,

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