CC Cragin Watershed Project

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chumley
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CC Cragin Watershed Project

Post by chumley »

Coconino National Forest is proposing a massive forest treatment project that encompasses 64,000 acres (~260 sq km) along and north of the Mogollon Rim.

The scope of the project includes AZT #28, CC Cragin Reservoir, Kinder Crossing, Baker Butte, and the west half of the Cabin Loop, among other trails and landmarks.

There's plenty of reading for those interested (both of you :sweat: ) with maps and all kinds of statistics. In the end, the tree density over the 64,000 acres will be reduced to less than 120 trees per acre. (Current densities are as high as 6000/acre :o ). There are cool maps that illustrate all of this in the 400 page planning document. Enjoy reading!

There's a 30-day comment period that opens today, so if this is of any concern or interest to you, read up and get your comments in!

https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46075
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Sredfield
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Re: CC Cragin Watershed Project

Post by Sredfield »

I went to one of the early scoping meetings. The concern is that after Payson bonded themselves into eternal servitude to get the water from Cragin, a crown fire in the area could make it all for naught by filling the reservoir with ash and other erosion.
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chumley
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Re: CC Cragin Watershed Project

Post by chumley »

@Sredfield
Indeed, it seems that this is strongly driven by the need to keep the reservoir watershed protected.

The transition from Blue Ridge to CC Cragin with SRP now drawing down water for Payson seems to have been a catalyst for this project. Probably some big $ behind it...
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rwstorm
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Re: CC Cragin Watershed Project

Post by rwstorm »

@chumley @Sredfield
All you have to do is see the aftermath of a big fire over near Ruidoso on Bonito Lake (City of Alamogordo water supply) to understand the concern.
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flagscott
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Re: CC Cragin Watershed Project

Post by flagscott »

One thing you never hear about when it comes to "thinning" (let's call it what it really is--logging) is that if you don't regularly burn or hand-thin the areas basically forever, you eventually end up with a landscape that is just as fire-prone as it was before. Thanks to Republicans' budget cuts and failure to appropriate extra mpney for firefighting, USFS has very little money for hand thinning or prescribed burns--that's why they love to let lightning-caused fires burn instead.

So, that's why I find this entire ponderosa-thinning project to be something of a scam. Yes, thinning will reduce fire risk for a time. But then new trees come in, and if you don't keep thinning and burning, the forest is as bad off as it was before. USFS doesn't know what their budget will be next year, much less ten or twenty years from now, and the more acreage they thin, the more they need to maintain. Where's the money for that going to come from? They can do the original logging as timber sales to pay for the work, but no one wants to pay USFS to take out spindly saplings. Arizona is being set up for a huge mess of a problem come 10 or 20 years from now.
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chumley
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Re: CC Cragin Watershed Project

Post by chumley »

Well, since I know that Arizona is probably screwed, and definitely screwed in the long run, maybe we should just torch it all right now, get ahead of it and start enjoying our arid, treeless, desert, the way FSM always intended!

Or if this project goes ahead, in 2028 when it is complete regular thinning and burning won't be an issue since climate change is making our forests hotter and drier and in some years, fires are simply unavoidable! So the USFS probably isn't going to need a budget for that.

In the meantime, the project may assure that an important watershed is protected for at least the next few decades.
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flagscott
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Re: CC Cragin Watershed Project

Post by flagscott »

chumley wrote:Well, since I know that Arizona is probably screwed, and definitely screwed in the long run, maybe we should just torch it all right now, get ahead of it and start enjoying our arid, treeless, desert, the way FSM always intended!

Or if this project goes ahead, in 2028 when it is complete regular thinning and burning won't be an issue since climate change is making our forests hotter and drier and in some years, fires are simply unavoidable! So the USFS probably isn't going to need a budget for that.

In the meantime, the project may assure that an important watershed is protected for at least the next few decades.
Nothing I said above contradicts anything I said elsewhere--there is not enough time and money for USFS to thin more than a small portion of at-risk forests in Arizona. And when I said that AZ's forests are screwed, I didn't just mean fire--bark beetles, drought, diseases and invasives are all doing a number on the trees, too. These things will all get worse.

Anyway, if they're going to thin, they should at least be honest about their ability to maintain the thinned areas going into the future.

But I'm glad that someone is paying attention to what I write! BTW, try quotes next time--plagiarism isn't cool.
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JasonCleghorn
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Re: CC Cragin Watershed Project

Post by JasonCleghorn »

I am going there tomorrow, maybe I can get one last look before all the trees are gone.
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