Oak woodlands were more extensive and productive in the Concow Basin's past -- a story told by abundant acorn grinding mortars still waiting there, surrounded by fire-killed conifers. With advancing climate change and more frequent fires, oak woodlands will also be the future of the foothills. Compared with the 20th century's conifer forest (largely a result of artificial fire suppression), oak woodlands are expected to be more fire- and climate-resilient. And compared with the extensive brushfields that are regrow after unusually high-severity fire kills the 20th century's conifer forests, oak woodlands are expected to be more consistent with the patchy, relatively low-intensity fire communities can live with.
The Concow Resilience Project is an 800-acre pilot forest health project on Forest Service lands in the Concow Basin "checkerboard". The project would primarily focus on regenerating oak woodlands as an alternative vegetation community to brushfield or conifer forest. Collaboratively designed by the Forest Service, BCRCD, American Forests, Pacific Southwest Research Station researchers, and the Konkow Valley Band of Maidu Indians, the project includes brush removal, pile burning and other prescribed fire, oak tending, native bunchgrass sowing, some conifer replanting on selected sites, and Tribal monitoring of living cultural resources as an indicator of watershed resilience.