Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) Control Program – Vegetation Treatment Order 2021
Under Executive Order B-52-18, California has a goal of treating 500,000 acres of vegetation per year to reduce wildfire risk. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and other local, state, and federal agencies are increasing the pace and scale of vegetation treatment throughout California to meet that goal. In addition, California entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (Pacific Southwest Region) to enhance science-based forest and rangeland stewardship in California. The MOU includes a goal for each party to treat 500,000 acres of forest and wildlands to reduce wildfire impacts, bringing the statewide goal to 1 million acres.
The increased pace and scale of these treatments has the potential to impact water quality. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is developing a statewide water quality order for vegetation treatment activities (General Order) to ensure they are conducted in a way that is protective of water quality.
Goals of the Vegetation Treatment General Order:
- Permit vegetation treatment types and activities that the Board of Forestry describes in the California Vegetation Treatment Program Environmental Impact Report, certified in December 2019.
- Vegetation treatment types include:
- Wildland-urban interface (WUI) fuel reduction to slow the spread of non-wind driven wildfire between structures and wildlands, and vice versa.
- Fuel breaks to provide responders with a staging area or access to a remote landscape for fire control actions.
- Ecological restoration of areas outside of the WUI by moderating uncharacteristic wildland fuel conditions to reflect historic vegetative composition and structure more representative of a natural fire regime.
- Support essential wildfire prevention activities and streamline permit coverage across the state.
In response to increasing California wildfire risk, Governor Gavin Newsom has set a goal to treat 500,000 acres of vegetation per year. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFIRE) and many local, State, and Federal agencies are increasing the pace and scale of vegetation treatment throughout California to meet that goal. The increased pace and scale of these treatments has the potential to impact water quality.
- Contact Chris Monary using the contact information below to be added to an email list for announcements and opportunities to comment.
- On October 27, 2020 Letters were sent to California Tribes to formally invite them to consult on the project.
- Board Meeting Hearing was held on December 15th, 2020
- Public comment period was 10/29/2020 – 1/29/2020
- Board Adoption Meeting was held April 20th, 2020
Chris Monary, State Water Resources Control Board
Phone: (916) 322-7782