Caples Ecological Restoration Project

Photo of meadow with trees, brush and a road. Closer photo of soil erosion in a meadow. Photo of a motorhome driving in the Jake Schneider Meadow. Photo of downed woody debris, brush, and saplings. Photo of downed woody debris, brush, and saplings in more open tree stand with a large tree. Photo of a segment of the Silver Fork American River, downstream of the project area. Photo of downed woody debris, brush, and saplings. Photo of Caples Creek with crystal clear water and surrounding forest. 1899 overview photo of Caples Creek watershed. 2014 overview photo of Caples Creek watershed showing increased vegetation density.

Project Description

The Forest Service is conducting prescribed understory burning, aspen enhancement, and meadow restoration activities within the Caples Creek Watershed on the Placerville and Amador Ranger Districts of the Eldorado National Forest.

  • The Caples Ecological Restoration Project would re-introduce fire back into the landscape to restore a vital ecosystem process in the watershed after nearly a century of fire exclusion.
  • Aspen restoration activities; such as, conifer reduction and temporary fencing would occur on approximately 25 acres within and surrounding existing aspen stands.
  • Meadow restoration activities; such as, conifer reduction, temporary fencing, and a half mile reroute of an existing hiking trail would occur on approximately 25 acres (some of which overlaps with aspen stands) within and surrounding existing meadows.

The project is intended to improve forest health and fire resiliency, meadow and aspen ecosystems, and wildlife habitat.



Located within the Caples Creek Watershed, north of Highway 88, in the vicinity of Jake Schneider Meadow, Government Meadows, Kirkwood Lake, and Caples Lake. The Caples Creek watershed is located 30 miles east of Placerville California and encompasses portions of Alpine, Amador and El Dorado counties. The watershed is more than 20,000 acres in size and primarily managed by the Eldorado National Forest (ENF). The watershed elevation ranges from approximately 5,800 feet in elevation to 10,080 feet at the highest peak. Given this vast range in elevation, there are significant changes in vegetation type predominantly composed of Sierran mixed conifer, red fir and subalpine and interlaced with meadows, lakes and barren rock.

Districts: Amador Ranger District, Placerville Ranger District


This watershed is the primary water supply for more than 110,000 people and businesses that rely upon El Dorado Irrigation District for water; and provides high quality back country recreation and fisheries in an area recommended for wilderness designation.

Related Presentations

April 2017 National Cohesive Strategy - Reno, NV