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Using the CalVTP: New Implementation Tools and Lessons Learned

Thursday, December 7th, 10:00am - 12:05pm

This webinar shared insights about the latest trends, tips, and practices for agencies, fire safe councils, and landowners seeking to use the California Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP) to implement vegetation treatments. The panel consisted of CAL FIRE staff from Sacramento headquarters and the San Luis Obispo Unit and consultants who helped to develop and implement the CalVTP Program Environmental Impact Report (Program EIR). The presentations began with a brief overview of the CalVTP, including its history, what it covers, and preparation of Project-Specific Analysis (PSA) documents and joint PSA and Addenda to the CalVTP Program EIR. New tools and resources developed by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection were introduced, including a set of example PSAs and new implementation tools. The example PSAs include treatments in various vegetation communities and special-status species habitats throughout the state. Implementation tools provide organizational and planning aids to achieve the goal of increasing the pace and scale of critical wildfire resilience treatments while protecting sensitive resources.

Additionally, CAL FIRE shared insights on how we plan and develop our vegetation management treatments and how the CalVTP integrates into the suite of our other management tools. We explored how to choose and design projects with the highest chance of success while balancing the greater statewide effort to work collaboratively with our many partners. Local partnerships are the foundation to meaningfully restoring our wildlands and the CalVTP continues to provide a solid foundation to move forward with this important objective. 

The presentation covered how field practitioners are approaching CalVTP PSAs from the inception of the project to completion. Topics included cooperation with other agencies, getting landowners on board, interested party outreach, and creating implementation plans. Case studies were presented to discuss efficient preparation of PSAs, required consultation with state and federal agencies, and implementation of vegetation treatments.

CalVTP Hompage

CalVTP Storymap

Pacific Southwest Region Jurisdictional Map

Wildlife-Friendly Fuels Reduction in  Dry Forests of the Pacific Northwest

California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife's Cutting Green Tape Permitting

Example brochure for the Covell Ranch project

Webinar Agenda
Time Item
10:00am Webinar begins
  Lily Bostrom: CalVTP Overview and New Resources to Support Implementation
  Jonathan Fitch: CAL FIRE and the CalVTP; a tool for the trade
  Lara Rachowicz: New Tools and Tips for Implementing CalVTP Projects
11:13am Break
  Jonathan Gee: CalVTP an Overview from a Field Practitioner
  Q & A
12:05pm Webinar ends


Lily Bostrom, Senior Environmental Planner, Ascent

Lily Bostrom is a senior environmental planner and project manager at Ascent with over 10 years of experience in environmental consulting and a master's degree in environmental science and management. Lily primarily manages the preparation of CEQA documents for a variety of project types, including wildfire resilience projects. She assisted with the preparation of the 2019 CalVTP Program EIR, has managed the preparation of several PSAs and joint PSA/Addenda, and has participated in multiple CalVTP training webinars as a panelist. Lily is currently supporting the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (BOF) with the implementation of the CalVTP through a variety of means, including preparing tools and materials for the BOF's CalVTP PSA Library.

Jonathan Fitch, Prescribed Fire Coordinator, Forester II

Jonathan Fitch is a Forester II and serves as the Prescribed Fire Coordinator for CAL FIRE in Sacramento Headquarters. He began his career as a wildland firefighter in 2001 with the USFS while studying Forestry and Resource Management from Cal Poly SLO.  After graduating, Jonathan continued his career with Oregon Department of Forestry and managed the 73,000-acre Gilchrist State Forest. He developed and implemented over 40,000 acres of vegetation management, watershed restoration, ecosystem enhancement, and sustainable commercial harvesting treatments across the State Forest.  In 2020, Jonathan returned to California to join CAL FIRE.  As part of his current role, he reviews and recommends for approval many of the CalVTP projects developed by the department.  He is passionate about stewarding our wildlands and the CalVTP is an excellent way to accomplish these goals.

Lara Rachowicz, Senior Ecologist, Ascent

Lara Rachowicz, PhD, is a senior ecologist with 24 years of technical and project management experience throughout California, with a focus on special-status species. She supports environmental review by providing strategic guidance and technical expertise for CEQA and NEPA documents. Lara specializes in advancing efficient CEQA and regulatory compliance strategies for ecosystem resilience and wildfire risk reduction projects and is actively engaged with the US Fish and Wildlife Agency and California Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop effective strategies to avoid impacts to threatened and endangered wildlife species from CalVTP projects. She assists public agencies by managing and implementing PSAs that provide protection of sensitive resources while expediting the implementation of wildfire resilience projects.

Jonathan Gee, Forestry Assistant II, San Luis Obispo Unit

Jonathan Gee is a Forestry Assistant II for the CAL FIRE San Luis Obispo Unit with seven years of experience working on vegetation management, prescribed fire, and forest health projects across San Luis Obispo County. Jonathan graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2015 with a degree in Forestry and Natural Resource Management and a Minor in Geographic Information Systems.

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