Welcome to the Madera County Tree Mortality Project Webpage

Our company, Blue Ridge Services, was selected by Madera 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.

To keep up-to-date with the project, check out our Facebook page. 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 treemortality@blueridgeservices.com.

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

Frequently Asked Questions About Tree Removal

Tree Removal FAQ’s

Blue Ridge Services was contracted by Madera County, to serve on 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 Madera 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. www.blueridgeservices.com/maderatreemortality.

 

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, www.blueridgeservices.com/maderatreemortality, 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).

Neal Bolton

Neal Bolton, P.E. | President

Neal Bolton is a Civil Engineer (California C48062) and a Licensed Contractor (California 482821). He attended Sacramento State University and Montana State University, majoring in construction engineering. Mr. Bolton has more than 38 years of experience in heavy construction and landfill and recycling operations. In 1988, Mr. Bolton formed his own consulting company – Blue Ridge Services. As principal of Blue Ridge, he has continued to provide operational consulting services for a wide range of private and municipal solid waste/recycling facilities, landfills, transfer stations, surface mine reclamation and construction projects. He has also worked on numerous mine development/reclamation projects. Mr. Bolton has worked on landfill siting, expansion and closure projects and has broad experience on projects where protection of sensitive habitat/environment was a key issue. He has performed consulting, speaking and training projects in virtually every state in the U.S., in Canada, and abroad. Mr. Bolton has authored numerous books and articles/papers, produced 130 training/safety videos, and pioneered the use of various industrial productivity improvement tools, such as Six Sigma and Lean to the area of heavy (construction) equipment operation in the waste/recycling industry. 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. He has consulted on more than 30 expert witness cases in the United States. Email Neal

Work Experience

1988 – Present – Principal – Blue Ridge Services (Atascadero, CA … formerly Bozeman, MT) 1987 – 1988 – Field Engineer – Waste Management, Inc. (San Jose, CA) 1983 – 1987 – Field Engineer – Oakland Scavenger Company (Oakland, CA) 1978-1983 – Laborer, Operator, Foreman – Bolton Construction and various other construction/development companies (Woodland, CA)

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: 130 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, the State of Indiana, and State of Kansas. Produced: More than 1,300 PowerPoint® presentations Produced: Approximately 20,000 landfill photos Produced: 25+ webinars for landfills, transfer stations, green waste processing facilities, and recycling facilities

Kasem Cornelius

Kasem Cornelius | Operations Consultant I

Background:

Prior to joining the Blue Ridge Services team, Kasem spent several years working in the solid waste recycling industry. During this time, he developed safety plans, conducted safety training, led tailgate meetings, and performed job hazard analysis. He was also the on-site safety manager for waste handling crews on large utility power projects. Kasem has completed the OSHA 500 Outreach Training Program through the UC San Diego Extension Program. As an Authorized Construction Trainer, Kasem is authorized by OSHA to perform 10 and 30 hour construction hazard awareness courses.

Since joining Blue Ridge Services, Inc. (BRS), as a solid waste operations consultant, he has performed on-site operations evaluations, safety audits, and provided administrative consulting at sites in California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Washington, and Wisconsin. Kasem works with municipal and private waste facilities to find practical, comprehensive safety solutions for clients.

Kasem has conducted comprehensive safety audits and developed training programs for landfills, transfer stations, and waste collection services. These projects included on-site observation and interaction with facility staff and management to identify needed improvements in general safety, OSHA requirements, maintenance, shop safety, facility traffic flow, collection routes, waste crowding, etc. Many of the training programs he developed included not only initial training, but documented on-going and refresher training for all facility workers including spotters, equipment operators, and maintenance staff.

He has conducted a survey of the entire solid waste industry, reaching out to hundreds of industry contacts and waste association members to research waste facility employee classifications and compensation. This information was then used to aid a client in developing employee classifications and a competitive compensation schedule that met industry standards.

Kasem has been active on the topic of succession planning as well. One of his noteworthy projects includes working with a facility to smooth the transition when a manager with decades of experience was leaving the facility. Kasem spent over a month on-site and delivered a comprehensive Supervisor Operations Manual documenting all procedures and aspects of the manager’s responsibilities. He has also delivered presentations via webinar and for the SWANA Western Regional Symposium regarding succession planning and creating operations procedure documents.

Kasem has also been a part of creating BRS’s new “SHERPA” Critical Waste Facility Plans Service. This service is focused on developing updated and comprehensive Safety, Health, Equipment, Response, Productivity, and Administrative plans tailored to the solid waste industry. BRS’s research on the topic revealed that 90% of waste facilities do not have necessary plans and documentation currently in place. Through SHERPA, Kasem has been involved in developing Standard Operating Procedures, succession planning, and other safety and training documents tailored for solid waste facilities.

Email Kasem

Education:

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo –  B.S. in Business Adminsitration

Registrations and Certificates:

  • Attended, UC San Diego extension program OSHA 500 outreach training program
  • OSHA Authorized Construction Trainer Certificate #UO7074782
  • 40-Hour, hands on, Hazwoper training through Safety Unlimited, Inc.
  • Member, Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA)
Samuel Bolton

Samuel Bolton | Tree Mortality  Project  Assistant  Director

Project  Responsibilities: Field  Support,  Jobsite Inspection,  Drone  Mapping, main  point  of  contact,  logistics,  County  staff  communications management, drone mapping and public outreach.

Education: Attended Merced College for landscape architecture

Experience: Mr.    Bolton    started    working    for Blue    Ridge    Services as    the    project manager/foreman  for  Terra-Track.  He  has  several  years  of  experience  in  the  field,  dealing with tree and brush mitigation, managing crews and working closely with the Mariposa Fire Safe  Council  on  various  fire  mitigation projects.  Currently, Samuel  is  the  Assistant  Project Director  for  tree  mortality  in  Mariposa and  Madera County.  He  provides  overall  project oversite, including overseeing project planning, budget planning, selecting projects in order of  priority,  interfacing  with  contractors, communicating  with  members  of  the  public,  and coordinating with county officials.

Certifications:

FAA Certified Drone Operator

The European Centre of Technology: Renewable Energy Management & Finance

International Society of Arboriculture Professional Member

American Forests Member

Business Ethics – Advanced: Handling Employee Concerns. 

Business Ethics – Advanced: Ethical Leadership

FEMA National Fire Academy: Q2100 Wildland Urban Interface Preparedness/ Mitigation

FEMA National Fire Academy: Q0328 ICS Simulation Series

FEMA National Fire Academy: Q0426 Introduction to Fire and EMS Supervision and Management

National Wildfire Coordinating Group: NWCG S-190, Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior

International Society of Arboriculture: Tree Worker Safety – Climbing

International Society of Arboriculture: Tree Worker Safety – Rigging

International Society of Arboriculture: Tree Worker Safety – Safety

International Society of Arboriculture: Abiotic Disorders

International Society of Arboriculture: Tree Identification Principles

360 Training: Skid Steer (Rubber-Tired & Track Loader) – Operator Safety Course

360 Training: Front End Loader – Operator Safety Course

FAA: Part 107 Drone Pilot Certification.

CPR First Aid Certified

2 years Coordination and Management of Tree Mortality Operations

4 years Managing Terra-Track (Working Field Manager, Lead Heavy Equipment Operator)

6 years Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue. Swift Water Rescue Technician. Technical Rescue Instructor. Search Drone Pilot.

Email Samuel