NRCS Fuel Reduction Project

Location: Mitteldorf Preserve

Brief Narrative: In mid-July, Big Sur Land Trust concluded the second phase of a two-part fire fuel reduction and forest stand improvement project at Mitteldorf Preserve. Implemented in partnership with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the project was supported financially and technically through the federal agency’s Environmental Quality Improvement Program.

The goals of the “Catastrophic Fire Recovery Project” included reducing hazardous fire fuels to increase forest resilience, enhancing, and protecting California spotted owl (Strix occidentalis occidentalis) habitat, safeguarding historic redwood structures, improving soil health and quality, helping to improve public safety by removing hazard trees, proactively removing Sudden Oak Death-affected tanoak, and reducing potential carbon emissions in the advent of another wildfire event.

Encompassing 138 acres, the project created defensible space at the lodge and the bunkhouse. It also managed fuel accumulations and hazard trees along an important emergency response route and the Nature Loop trail. Visitors can expect to see cut rounds and branches, felled disease- and fire-affected trees, and masticated material. Cut material was left on-site but scattered with as much soil contact as possible to accelerate decay. During the winter months, this cut material will absorb moisture and begin decomposing.


  • 2016 Soberanes Fire sweeps through Mitteldorf Preserve
  • 2019 Phase 1 Fuel reduction project begins
  • 2021 Phase 2 Fuel reduction project is complete


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