Aspen Regeneration at Rucker Lake

Aspen stands in the Sierra Nevada are in decline. After a century of fire suppression and grazing pressure, high elevation aspen populations are seriously threatened by conifer encroachment. Restoring aspen stands is a critical strategy of the US Forest Service (USFS) Pacific Southwest Region. Without treatment, these iconic high elevation aspen systems will continue to be replaced by conifer forests resulting in a loss of critical habitat for a diversity of wildlife, plants, and rare species.
In 2011 and 2012, SYRCL with a combined seventeen volunteers treated a total of over two acres of aspen habitat at Rucker Lake by removing hundreds of conifers. In addition, volunteers removed nearly one hundred invasive bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) plants.

Resource Advisory Committee$4,075Complete
The National Forest Foundation$14,976.16In Progress
Time frame: 
Thursday, June 2, 2011 to Sunday, September 27, 2015
Closed Grant with remaining efforts to be completed through funding from the National Forest Foundation
There are still remaining conifers to remove from the Rucker Lake site.
Project participants: 
SYRCLProject Organizer
Tahoe National ForestPartner
Resource Advisory CommitteeFunder
The National Forest FoundationFunder
POINT (-120.6525 39.355)
Habitat type: 
Aquatic (lake)
Land ownership: 
Tahoe National Forest

SYRCL will work with trained volunteers and the Native Youth Conservation Corps (NYCC) to improve 12 acres of aspen groves and meadows in the Yuba River Watershed. NYCC members will be trained to use hand tools to remove encroaching conifers and weeds. This work will increase solar radiation to the aspen clone and increase biodiversity within the aspen stands. Soil moisture will increase and about two acres of yellow star thistle will be removed. Future work in this meadow is funded by the CABY IRWMP.

Performance measures: 
Number of conifers with less than or equal to 10"dbh (diameter breast height) removed. Number of volunteers trained and educated.
Species targeted for protection: 
Common NameScientific Name
Quaking AspenPopulus tremuloides
Species targeted for eradication: 
Common NameScientific Name
All Conifers 10"dbh or less
Bull ThistleCirsium vulgare
Species introduced during restoration: 
Scientific NameCommon Name
Project methods: 

Using help from volunteers, SYRCL used hand tools to remove encroaching conifers that were equal to or less than 10"dbh.

Post-project monitoring: 
Pre and post photographs were taken of the project site. With continued funding from The National Forest Foundation, the photo points will be revisited and retaken as time progresses.
Contact info: 

Gary Reedy, River Science Director 530-265-5961 ext 208

Datasets and reports available to download: