Tree Mortality Mitigation Project

Welcome to the Mariposa County Tree Mortality Webpage

Our company, Blue Ridge Services, was selected by Mariposa County to oversee and manage their tree mortality mitigation project, and each week, we will be posting project updates in this column.

We are currently working with stakeholders to develop and finalize our mitigation plan. In addition to being a resource for education and information for the general public, our team has been tasked with developing a prioritized plan to mitigate the risks of tree mortality to public safety and infrastructure, obtaining grants and pursuing California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA) reimbursements, meeting all environmental requirements, securing property owner permissions where mitigation is necessary, coordinating efforts with partner agencies, and executing the developed plan in accordance with all appropriate regulations.

Learn More about Right of Entry Forms and Download a Form

To keep up-to-date with the project, check out our weekly column in the Mariposa Gazette. We are also available to answer questions you might have about this project and the tree mortality crisis. You can call 209.966.7777 or email

We look forward to partnering with the community of Mariposa County to tackle this very important project.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tree Removal

Tree Removal FAQ’s

Blue Ridge Services was contracted by Mariposa County, to serve at the County’s Operations Management Team for Tree Mortality. Our company has been hired to oversee and manage the County’s tree mortality mitigation project, with the objective to fall dead and dying trees resulting from drought and subsequent bark beetle attack, which are affecting County infrastructure and are a threat to public safety.


Q: Who can I contact if I have dead trees near my home?

A.     If the tree is near a PG&E power line, please call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. If the tree is near a County maintained road or building, please call Blue Ridge Services at 209-966-7777.

· PG&E cut down trees on my property but did not remove them. Who can I contact for clean up? Please call the PG&E help desk at 1-800-743-5000.


Q: What is the Right of Entry Permit and do I really need to sign it?

A:   A signed Right of Entry Permit gives Blue Ridge Services and their subcontractors, permission to work on your property.   We must receive a signed Right of Entry Permit from you before our foresters and tree crews can begin work on your property to mark and fall trees.

If you choose not to sign and return the Right of Entry Permit, we will not cut trees on your property. You may be responsible for any damage the trees may cause if they fall on a road or structure.

You may also have received Right of Entry Permits from PG&E (and their subcontractors), or Caltrans, but you must also sign our form in order for Blue Ridge Services crews to work on your property.


Q. Is there a charge to have my trees marked and felled?

A.   No, the County of Mariposa through Blue Ridge Services, will mark and fall trees that are impacting County infrastructure. This service is being offered to you, free of charge.


Q: Will Blue Ridge Services be removing trees that they fall?

A:   We expect that the majority of trees will be felled and left on the ground. The ultimate decision will depend on accessibility and funding. Felled trees will be lopped and scattered, meaning limbs will be cut down to within 18 inches of the ground where possible, and tree tops will be cut into manageable lengths.


Q: When do you anticipate the project will start?

A:   It is difficult to give an exact date because we must receive a majority of the Right of Entry Permit forms before developing a project to put out to bid. Blue Ridge Services will be posting current tree removal projects on our tree mortality web page.


Q: What if I don’t live at my home full-time but want to be there when the work is being done. Can you let me know when the work will take place?

A:   You can be alerted when tree marking and removal projects begin by checking the Blue Ridge Services Tree Mortality web page,, but unfortunately because there is no way of telling how fast crews will advance from property to property, it is not possible to alert property owners regarding the exact time when work will begin on specific property(ies).


Meet The Team

Read More about Neal

Project Role: Tree Mortality Project Director

Project Responsibilities: Project oversight, project budget management, document oversight and review, and Professional Engineering approvals.

Education: Attended Sacramento State University ‐ Construction Engineering
Attended Montana State University ‐ Construction Engineering

Registrations: Registered Civil Engineer — California (C48062)
Licensed General Engineering Class A Contractor — California (482821), Licensed Timber Operator.

Background: Mr. Bolton is a registered civil engineer with over 38 years of experience in heavy construction, landfill, transfer station, organics processing and recycling center operations. As the principal of Blue Ridge Services, Inc. (BRS), he is considered one of the foremost landfill operations experts in the country. He literally wrote the book on effective landfill operations (The Handbook of Landfill Operations) and has authored hundreds of articles on topics ranging from landfill operations, safety, efficiency, and more. Mr. Bolton has pioneered the use of various industrial productivity improvement tools, such as Six Sigma and Lean in the areas of solid waste equipment utilization and material flow/handling. He has performed consulting, speaking and training projects in 38 states in the US and abroad.

Mr. Bolton has been involved in hundreds of operational audits and efficiency studies at landfill, transfer stations and other types of solid waste facilities ranging in size from regional facilities handling thousands of tons per day, to small rural sites handling a few tons per week. We have conducted operational audits for landfills that often focused on improving operating procedures, waste handling, equipment utilization and maintenance, environmental controls, process improvement, refuse placement, load checking, surveying, safety and landfill compaction. Mr. Bolton has worked on numerous landfill siting, expansion and closure projects. He has prepared scores of landfill development plans that included: site layout, access roads, waste footprint placement, base grade and final grade design. He has worked on several projects involving landfill airspace enhancement, maximization and waste compaction optimization.

During the early 1990’s, Mr. Bolton worked closely with dozens of landfills during the transition to the EPA's subtitle D rules. Mr. Bolton has presented training programs to thousands of people through the hundreds of training programs he has taught. He has provided training for the State of Indiana, State of North Carolina, State of Montana, State of Kansas and State of California and scores of other private and municipal clients. These training programs range from generic 1-4 hour sessions, to custom sessions that deal with site-specific operational issues for landfills and transfer stations.

Mr. Bolton has designed and implemented various testing procedures for evaluating solid waste equipment and operating methods including soil use minimization studies, compaction tests, and productivity analysis. Many of these were done in cooperation with Caterpillar, Ingersoll-Rand, Caron, Compactor, and Waste Management Inc. Mr. Bolton has provided recommendations on equipment selection and utilization for numerous landfills and transfer stations. He has developed and performed various equipment productivity analyses for dozers, wheel loaders, scrapers, compactors and other types of specialized waste handling equipment. Based on his broad level of experience, knowledge and reputation, Mr. Bolton is often retained as an expert witness on cases involving solid waste operations.

Publication History

Author: The Handbook of Landfill Operations – used as textbook for SWANA’s 1-day certification course entitled, “Operational Issues for Landfill Managers.” Also used for many years as the textbook for certification in the State of Virginia.

Author: The Handbook of Landfill Safety

Produced: 150+ safety videos for the waste industry. Many translated to Spanish and Greek. Translations to Portuguese and Arabic in process.

Author: 200+ landfill articles and technical papers, presented on three continents.

Instructor: 200+ training classes (including ~50 for SWANA) across the U.S. Prepared training materials and training for the State of California (24 classes for CalRecycle), the State of Indiana, and State of Kansas, State of Montana, State of North Carolina.

Presented: 50+ webinars for landfills, transfer stations, green/wood waste processing facilities, and recycling facilities

Read More About Roy

Project Role: Tree Mortality Field Manager

Project Responsibilities: Scheduling, field inspection and activities and landowner communications.

Merced Community College – Associates Degree
Allan Hancock College – Fire Courses


  • FEMA course: IS-00700 National Incident Management System
  • Completed 32 hour ICS S-430 Operations Section Chief
  • L381 Incident Leadership Training
  • S-420 Command & General Staff training
  • S-212 Unlimited Faller Recertification
  • OSHA Compliance Course: General Industry Occupational Safety and Health Standards
  • Hazardous Materials Awareness training
  • S-300 Incident Commander, Multiple Resources training
  • I-255 Equipment Manager training



Mr. Leach has over 30 years of experience working with Sequoia and Sierra National Forests, in Fuels Management and Fire Suppression.  Mr. Leach worked on burn plans and mastication projects, providing fuels input for projects. He served as a member of an interdisciplinary team to provide input in NEPA. He developed long and short range plans for hazardous fuels and vegetation management based on standards and guidelines in the forest and monument land management plans. He recommended the desired future vegetative conditions and re-introduced fire into ecosystems. He led and developed prescriptions for burn plans and/or wildland fire use plans. He worked as a NEPA team member to mesh proven forestry practices which reduced the risk of resource damage from catastrophic fires and improved forest health.

He developed alternative fuels management methods to meet resource objectives, and determined costs for each. He monitored fiscal expenditures of district and forest funds. He ensured air quality laws, regulations and policies were being adhered to when prescribe fire treatments were used to meet forest objectives. He established priorities, implemented strategies and monitored fuels treatment projects and recommended changes where appropriate. He coordinated fuel management activities with adjacent landowners and agencies. He assisted in conducting fire and fuels training for district personnel and tracked the training in IQCS. He also served as District Fire Management Duty Officer.

Incident Command Systems Qualifications:

Division/Group Supervisor DIVS, Safety Officer SFO2Strike Team Leader, Engines STEN Strike Team Leader, Crews STCR, Incident Commander T4 ICT4Training Specialist TNSP, Crew Representative CREP, Receiving & Distribution, Mgr. RCDM, Supply Unit Leader SUPL (T)Prescribed Burn Boss T2 RXB2 Faller Class C FALC.

Project Work:

Direct work projects in support of ecosystem management such as prescribed fire, development of burn plans, fuels inventory, pre-attack planning, fuel preparation and disposal, and work with the National Environmental Protection Act documentation and analysis. This involves conducting analysis and identifying alternatives in fuels management projects; preparing project work plans to ensure economical operations, collecting data and calculating probabilities of fire risks and hazards. Supervise crew in performance of technical forestry practices and maintenance work.

Fire Assignments:

Safety Officer, Division Supervisor, Strike Team Leader Engines and Crews, Engine and Crew Boss. In Logistic assigned as Receiving and Distribution Manage, Ordering Manager and Supply Unit Leader Trainee.


Ordering Manager, Receiving and Distribution Manager, Cache Demobilization Specialist, Hazardous Materials Awareness, Hazardous Materials First Responder, Forklift Truck Operator Safety Training, Expanded Dispatch Team Training, and CA ROSS Dispatcher.

Read More about Samuel

Project Role: Tree Mortality Project Coordinator

Project Responsibilities: Main point of contact, logistics, County staff communications management, drone mapping and public outreach.

Background: Mr. Bolton worked previously as the Blue Ridge Services Safety Video Editor. His responsibilities include oversight of Terra-Track projects as the Terra-Track Field Manager and maintenance of the on and off road equipment for Blue Ridge Services/Terra-Track. Mr. Bolton is also part of the Blue Ridge Services Drone Mapping Team.

Read More about Brenda

Project Role: Tree Mortality Assistant Project Director

Project Responsibilities: Project budget management, document oversight and review, report management and research.

Education: Graduated California Polytechnic State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science with a degree emphasis in Pre-Law.  

Registrations and Certificates:

  • Masters Writing Classes

Background: Prior to joining the Blue Ridge Services team. Brenda spent many years working in various capacities, with a focus on administration, victim services, communication, accounting and human resources. She has worked for municipalities, non-profits and for profit businesses. She has worked closely with Boards of Directors, organized numerous job related functions, helped in the process of opening new programs and creating program documents, both for program functionality and for statistical data. She has also conducted trainings, written small scale grants and also assisted with State and Federal level grant applications. She oversaw the human resource needs of over 40 employees.

Since joining Blue Ridge Services, Inc. (BRS), as the Financial Manager, Brenda has continued her work in a finance, human resources and administrative support role. She is responsible for all aspects of the BRS finances, while lending support to the staff for project needs, such as research or assistance with proposals and contracts.

Read More About Trish

Project Role: Tree Mortality Project Development Manager

Project Responsibilities: Grant Writing

With more than 20 years of experience, Patricia Gilger has been active in the grant process, from the initiation of ideas, through to submission and completion of projects. She has served as a grant writer, administrator, evaluator for community based organizations, corporations and academics. Patricia’s skills include business planning, marketing, and the establishment of nonprofits, research; she is also versed in academic research proposals, and international and national policies.
Patricia earned her Bachelor of Science/Genetics degree at the University of Kansas. She is the founder of Mariposa Youth Impact Project (MyIP) and Assistant Director for Community Engagement for the UC Merced Alliance for Family and Child Health and Development, a center dedicated to the healthy development of children and their families in and around the San Joaquin Valley and nearby rural mountain regions.

Read More About Claire

Project Role: Tree Mortality Project Intern

Project Responsibilities: Right of Entry Permits

Claire Lewis is an Administrative Intern at Blue Ridge Services. She is a Freshman at Mariposa County High School, and enjoys watching movies and spending time outside, but especially at the beach. Claire plays multiple instruments, including the flute, piccolo, ukulele, guitar, bass and drums. Claire hopes to pursue a career in Physics.

Read More About Morgan

Project Role: Tree Mortality Project Intern

Project Responsibilities: Right of Entry Permits

Morgan Lewis is an Administrative Intern at Blue Ridge Services, and a Junior at Mariposa County High School. Morgan enjoys spending time with her friends and family, she loves the beach and appreciates quality food. Morgan also plays several musical instruments, including guitar, ukulele, piano and electric guitar. Morgan hopes to attend the University of Washington, Seattle, in the fall of 2018 and aspires to be an Environmental Engineer.

Read More About Annabelle

Project Role: Tree Mortality Project Intern

Project Responsibilities: Right of Entry Permits

Annabelle Gilger is an Administrative Intern at Blue Ridge Services. She is a Freshman at Mariposa County High School, and enjoys listening to music, writing stories and music, and rescuing animals. Annabelle plays instruments such as the piano, ukulele, guitar, drums, trumpet, lap steel guitar, and French horn. She aspires to join the Peace Corps.

Press Release

Press Release

County of Mariposa


For Immediate Release

February 7, 2017


Contact Information:  Dallin Kimble, Interim County Administrative Officer, 966-3222


Mariposa County Contracts with Blue Ridge Services, Inc. for Tree Mortality Operations

County plans to escalate efforts to reduce public risk


(Mariposa, CA - Tuesday, February 7, 2017)--The Mariposa County Board of Supervisors has approved an agreement with Blue Ridge Services, Inc. for tree mortality operations management services. This agreement provides for an escalation in the county-wide effort to reduce risk to public infrastructure resulting from tree mortality.  

Drought and insect infestations have killed millions of trees in Mariposa County. As many as 500,000 of those are located in high-hazard zones that may present a risk to County infrastructure. The County has responded with a strategic, multi-layered approach focused on reducing risks to public safety and protecting affected infrastructure.

The first layer of this effort, in partnership with CAL FIRE, has been to clear dead trees from County property and easements for county-maintained roads where fire or falling trees could damage critical infrastructure (roads, parks, facilities, etc.). This effort is significant, ongoing, and has benefitted from the complementary efforts of PG&E, Caltrans, the Mariposa County Fire Safe Council and many others.

After significant discussion through the summer and fall of 2016, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to develop additional capacity to fell trees that present risks to public safety or infrastructure, but may be located on private land and require the landowner’s permission prior to initiating work. This step is the second layer of the County’s approach to the tree mortality issue. Blue Ridge Services, Inc. was selected through a competitive bidding process to manage these mitigation efforts for the County.

In addition to servicing and educating the general public, Blue Ridge Services, Inc., is tasked with developing a prioritized plan to mitigate the risks of tree mortality to public safety and infrastructure, obtaining grants and pursuing California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA) reimbursements, meeting all environmental requirements, securing property owner permissions where mitigation is necessary, coordinating efforts with partner agencies, and executing the developed plan in accordance with all appropriate regulations.

“Felling these trees would dramatically reduce the public risk; working with Blue Ridge Services, we hope to fell as many dead trees as possible with minimum impact to the General Fund,” explained District 1 Supervisor Rosemarie Smallcombe. Smallcombe and fellow supervisor Kevin Cann are members of the Governor’s Task Force on Tree Mortality and have been active participants in every step of the process.

In most cases, felled trees are expected to remain on the property where they are felled into order to maximize the impact of limited funding. Another member of the Governor’s Task Force on Tree Mortality, Sergeant Kevin Packard, explained, “Using this approach enables the County to focus on providing as much public safety and infrastructure benefit as possible with the available resources.”

The Board of Supervisors has approved $40,000 for tree mortality mitigation with another $40,000 to be considered at a future meeting. With matching CDAA funds, these allocations could be used to complete up to $320,000 in tree mortality mitigation efforts in Mariposa County.

Blue Ridge Services, Inc. is expected to begin the planning phase of their work immediately. They will be publishing a weekly column in the Mariposa Gazette and providing periodic updates to the Board of Supervisors to keep the public informed of their activities.