On May 31st the Forest Service hosted a field trip to Irish O’Manuel over in the Arnold area. As part of that trip, we were taken to a section of the Arnold Rim Trail, a popular hiking area that skirts several Arnold neighborhoods through Forest Service land. The area had been hard hit by bark beetles, and the particular section we looked at, near the Fairway and Lakemont gates, had been nearly clear cut because the beetles had killed so many trees. The remains of those trees were piled together in huge stacks of small logs and branches all across the landscape.
The field trip party was told about a project with Phoenix Energy that planned to truck the slash and debris to Modesto to be turning into biochar. The biochar would then be shipped back to Arnold and spread across the landscape. Monitoring of the impacted area will be done over the next several years.
So here’s the update: the biochar is here! Nearly a hundred huge white bags of biochar are on the site, with more arriving every few days. As of 8/21, nothing had been spread yet. Seems like a very cool project.