Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Control Program – Vegetation Treatment General Order

Overview

Under Executive Order B-52-18, former Governor Jerry Brown set 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. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is developing a statewide water quality order for vegetation treatment activities (proposed Vegetation Treatment General Order) to ensure vegetation treatments are conducted in a way that is protective of water quality.  The proposed Vegetation Treatment General Order would require project proponents to follow the California Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP) developed by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (BOF).

 The CalVTP streamlines California Environmental Quality Act compliance for vegetation treatment projects conducted within the State Responsibility Area, guiding project proponents in identifying and implementing mitigation measures and practices to reduce environmental impacts, including impacts to water quality.  See below for links to the CalVTP Programmatic Environmental Impact Report as well as to a map viewer that shows the location of proposed vegetation treatment projects. Vegetation treatment types described in the CalVTP include fuels reduction in the wildland-urban interface, fuel breaks, and ecological restoration of the landscape to reflect historic vegetative composition and structure more representative of a natural fire regime. Vegetation treatment activities described in the CalVTP include:

  • Prescribed pile burning and broadcast burning,
  • Mechanical treatment to cut, uproot, crush/compact, or chop existing vegetation,
  • Manual treatment to cut, clear, or prune herbaceous or woody species,
  • Prescribed herbivory to reduce target plant populations,
  • Ground-level application of herbicides, and
  • Maintenance of vegetation treatment activities.

Goals of the Vegetation Treatment General Order:

  • Maintain and protect water quality from vegetation treatment activities.
  • Support increased pace and scale of vegetation treatment to reduce wildfire risk in California.
  • Streamline permitting requirements for vegetation treatment activities conducted in accordance with BOF CalVTP Programmatic Environmental Impact Report, certified in December 2019.

Board of Forestry CalVTP Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR)

The Board of Forestry has prepared a Final Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR), which evaluates the environmental impacts of the CalVTP in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Board of Forestry certified the Final PEIR and approved the CalVTP on December 30, 2019.

Public Outreach

Comment and questions were accepted from March 5 to April 20, 2021.  A draft of the proposed Vegetation Treatment General Order and the public notice for comment are available below.

Workshop

A Staff Workshop was held March 30, 2021 for outreach and education of stakeholders and the public.

Board Meeting for Adoption

The public board meeting date is:

Tuesday, July 6, 2021
No Physical Meeting Location
Video and Teleconference Only
(Authorized and in furtherance of Executive Orders N-29-20 and N-33-20)
Video Broadcast: https://video.calepa.ca.gov/

Additional information about participating telephonically or via the remote meeting solution will be available at least 10 days before the meeting at the Remote Meeting page (https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/board_info/remote_meeting/). 
This public meeting is currently scheduled to take place via video and teleconference only, but the format may be changed in the future to also allow for in-person attendance.  Any person desiring to receive future notices about changes to the date, time, location, or format of the public meeting should sign up for the Lyris e-mail list, as described below.

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