Biological Survey Training Class For Staff

On March 21, 2024, we attended a Biological Survey Training Class to learn the process of scoping, surveying, protecting, and documenting locations of sensitive species (plants and animals) prior to starting fuels reduction activities. The training was instructed by Cheryl Balentine, a Contract Biologist with Sierra Timber Services, and myself, a California Registered Professional Forester with BCFSC.

The training included an overview of the scoping process to develop a list of state and federally listed species that may occur in project areas. Listed species include rare, threatened and/or endangered plants and animals, according to the California and Federal Endangered Species Act. The scoping process gathers potential listed species and their habitat that may occur within or adjacent to our project areas. 

The training also included a field visit to an ultramafic soil area (serpentine) that are known to have listed species that may be flowering or present at this time.  The first stop was successful in that the class found three out of four plant species including McNab Cypress (Cupressus macnabiana), Chaparral Sedge (Carex xerophila), Rock Toothwort (Cardamine pachystigma).  The group didn’t observe any Butte County Fritillary (Fritillaria eastwoodiae), but it should be flowering soon. 

The second stop focused on listed animals.  The discussion focused on an active Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nest next to Paradise Lake Dam.  Discussion centered on mitigation and protection measures for both plant and animals that the Biologist and Project Managers can produce to protect the sensitive species while continuing to move forward with fuel reduction projects.  Overall, the outing was a successful learning experience for the BCFSC Staff.

Written By:

Kieran O’Leary

Registered Professional Forester, BCFSC Staff