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Dead Tree Removal Plan Released For San Diego County

Project Open For Public Comment Until July 30

Audio

Aired 7/2/10

San Diego County has a plan to remove dead trees in sections of the county; the goal is to reduce fire risk. The county was sued over the project, but there now appears to be more agreement than disagreement over the project.

San Diego County has a plan to remove dead trees in sections of the county; the goal is to reduce fire risk. The county was sued over the project, but there now appears to be more agreement than disagreement over the project.

The California Chaparral Institute sued when the county wanted to exempt the tree removal project from the state environmental quality act.

Rick Halsey with the Institute said the county's plan was too big and it did not include a public comment period.

But the county's updated plan has been changed slightly.

Halsey said the project is mostly in forest areas and not chaparral or coastal sage scrub ecosystems.

"The environment really does matter and dead trees provide some really important habitat," said Halsey. "And I think the county gets that. And they're going to leave trees that are obvious habitat sources now and I think they're going to make an effort to do the right thing."

The proposed project includes removing dead trees along the Julian Highway, near Pine Valley and possibly the San Dieguito River bed near Rancho Santa Fe. The dead trees would be removed up to 500 feet from roads and structures.

While Halsey said 250 feet would allow the project to reduce fire risk in more areas, he thinks the plan is moving in the right direction.

"I'm really encouraged going forward that we'll be able to create a fire management plan that will benefit everybody including the animals, the plants and the ecosystem and the human communities that are populated throughout the backcountry of San Diego."

The tree removal plan is open for public comment until July 30, 2010. Read about the plan here.

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