© 2022 KVPR | Valley Public Radio - White Ash Broadcasting, Inc. :: 89.3 Fresno / 89.1 Bakersfield
NPR For Central California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Environment

UC Merced Expert: Forest Thinning Could Free Up Water, Reduce Fire Risk

sierrasnow.jpg
Joe Moore
/
Valley Public Radio
UC Merced scientists say thinning overgrown Sierra forests to the density of around 100 years ago could free up as much as 1 million additional acre feet of water a year. (file photo)

Forest managers throughout California say that thinning forests to a more natural state is a good way to reduce the severity of wildfires. Now scientists suggest that it also could offer help in saving water in the drought. 

Researchers at UC Merced think that thinning overgrown forests throughout the Sierra could result in as much as a million acre feet of extra water each year for the state. That’s enough water to fill Pine Flat Lake on the Kings River east of Fresno.

Roger Bales is the director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced. He says years of fire suppression have left much of the Sierra overgrown with small trees that consume a lot of water.

Bales says a team of UC researchers are currently studying the issue with the US Forest Service in the American River Basin and in the Sierra National Forest near Yosemite. 

Related Content