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Vegetation

Aerial view of the watershed

Vegetation

Marin’s iconic Mt. Tamalpais is home to our watershed, and the source of much of our water supply. Protecting and preserving our 22,000 acres of watershed land on Mt. Tam and in west Marin is an important part of our mission.

The Mt. Tamalpais watershed is home to more than 1,000 species of plants. Marin Water has adopted a plan that expanded vegetation management throughout the Mt. Tamalpais watershed using no herbicides, with an adaptive management approach that will benefit from the latest science and research. The Biodiversity, Fire, and Fuels Integrated Plan (BFFIP) is designed to restore forest health and maintain watershed resiliency.

The comprehensive plan, which has been more than a decade in the making, demonstrates the water district’s leadership and approach in the area of sustainable land management. 

Adopted in 2019, the Biodiversity, Fire and Fuels Integrated Plan (BFFIP) expands vegetation management throughout the Mt. Tamalpais watershed using no herbicides, with an adaptive management approach that will benefit from the latest science and research.

The BFFIP is designed to restore forest health and maintain watershed resiliency. It will guide the methods we will use to reduce wildfire risk while preserving and enhancing the existing biological resources—all of which protect water quality.

Additional information about the BFFIP is available at the links below:

 

Marin Water is collaborating with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW), Cal Poly, and UC Davis to develop treatments to protect and restore forests impacted by Phytophthora ramorum (P. ramorum), the pathogen that causes sudden oak death (SOD).

The loss of trees from SOD increases fire danger, creates canopy gaps in forests, reduces wildlife food sources, and increases the maintenance of roads, trails, and facilities as district staff deal with hazard and downed trees. Marin Water has mapped the progress of SOD through the landscape with funding assistance from the U.S. Forest Service.

The Resilient Forest Project aims to identify treatments that balance protection of carbon with needs to reduce wildfire, sustain wildlife habitat, optimize water yield, prevent soil erosion and weed invasion, and maintain a tree canopy in areas where sudden oak death has converted forests to shrublands. Restoration and resiliency treatments to date indicate that removing the vegetation and chopping it into smaller pieces and spreading it out over the ground is an effective technique for reducing or avoiding the problematic stand conditions generated by P. ramorum and sudden oak death in California.

For additional information, please contact Natural Resources Program Manager Carl Sanders, CSanders@MarinWater.org or 415.945.1189.

If you want to find out more about the biodiversity on our watershed, here are some resources for you to explore. The Mt. Tamalpais Watershed Biodiversity Survey includes a photo checklist of observations to date. The Bay Area Open Space Council also has an online map system for exploring the diversity of lands in Marin and beyond. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s BIOS viewer has Marin Water’s finer scale maps and background reports as well as others throughout the state.

Vegetation Management Reports