October Meeting Summary

Our meeting on October 1st 2019 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 14 members of the public and agencies.  Updates were presented on the Hot Springs Road Corridor project and the scoping study, and there was a presentation and discussion about the Eastern Sierra Sustainable Recreation Partnership (ESSRP).

Organization Update:  The draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) has been revised as requested by the Forest Service, but we are still waiting on their response to the proposed revisions.  Suggestions for the new name for the collaborative received to date include:

Alpine Forest Collaborative  (AFC).
Alpine Healthy Forest Collaborative  (AHFC).
Biomass Collaborative Committee  (BCC).
Biomass Collaborative of Alpine County  (BCAC).

Scoping Study Update:  The revised report on sustainable biomass supply is almost complete and it should be available by the next meeting.  We are about a month behind and so the scoping study final report likely will not be complete until February.

 Hot Springs Road Corridor Update:  Preliminary discussions with major land owners are encouraging.  Subsequent to the October meeting CALFIRE held their first tutorial on the grant application process.  The process is more straight forward this year and the ABC should be able to put together a competitive grant application for this project.

ESSRP:  Matt Driscoll of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy gave an excellent presentation on the ESSRP, which the County has voted to join.  This is a partnership that involves the Inyo and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests, Mono County, and the Town of Mammoth Lakes.  The City of Bishop has also voted to join, and it is anticipated that Inyo County will vote to join next week.  More information can be found at www.essrp.org.  The first planning meeting was held in September and was attended by Mark Schwartz of the Chamber of Commerce who gave an enthusiastic report of his impression.  The next planning meeting is Oct. 17th at 5:00 pm in Bishop and it is anticipated that there will be several people from Alpine County attending.  For carpooling information please contact dGriffith.9@gmail.com.

Participant Updates:  Rich Harvey reported that the Alpine Watershed Group is hiring a full-time Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator.  Mark Schwartz reported that Kris Hartnett and Lloyd Van Doren were elected to serve with him on the Markleeville Water Company Board.  Mary Young is President and Steve Hibbs is Vice-President.  Mark Schwartz also reported that the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce Board is planning the 40th Death Ride Anniversary.  The Board is restructuring how the Chamber functions.  He also reported that the Markleeville Enhancement Club has funding to build kiosks which would be situated throughout the community.  The kiosks would be used for public announcements and to supply resources to support local businesses and clubs.  A prototype of the kiosk will be located on the Schwartz’s property.  Kris Hartnett reported that Liberty Utilities is doing a great job removing trees they marked in July on both sides of Hot Springs Road;  they started September 30th and should be done next week.  They are working between Pleasant Valley Road and the Hittenmiller’s property, 200 Hot Springs Road.  The trees are being cut into 4-6 feet lengths and will be free to the community.  Kris Hartnett reported that the Alpine Fire Safe Council is looking into adopting a fire zone, color-coded mapping system which has been used successfully in Mariposa County.  He also reported that there has been an uptick in reflective signs for first responders; he advocated for continued outreach and education so the community does not become complacent about future fire danger.  The ABC thanked Kris for his work with Liberty Utilities and CHIPS.  Trina Johnson reported the NRCS has begun 2020 planning for private landowners with funding from the USDA Farm Bill. She invited the ABC and other local groups to consider hosting local area workgroup meetings which would help the NRCS to prioritize and rank Alpine County’s resource needs.  She will discuss this opportunity at the December meeting.  Tim Roide reported that the BLM Hot Shot Crew has been reduced to minimal staffing now that the fire season is coming to an end.  The Alpine Fuels Treatment Program scoping letter should be ready by the end of October 2019; planning will take roughly eight months and treatment may start in a year.  Ron Hames reported that the first hearing for the Red Flag Ordinance was postponed. Some progress has been made; there are issues about who determines that there is a warning and where it is located.  He advocated for continuing to educate the public on red flag warnings and the possibility of using physical banners to identify risk areas.  Matt Driscoll invited the ABC to reach out to him and to Elissa Brown at the SNC to provide feedback on CALFIRE grant application and for letters of support. David Griffith reported that the CALFIRE Fire Prevention Grant applications are due December 4th; the CCI Forest Health Grants are due December 6th.  He also reported that U.S. Fish and Wildlife has reopened public comment on the Bi-State Sage Grouse; comments are due by October 30th.  David Griffith reported that he participated in a tour of the Leviathan Mine with the California State Water Resources Control Board and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board; the earliest the Superfund Site will be fixed is 2025. There will be a public tour of the mine on October 15th, and a second tour on October 24th; anyone interested in attending can contact him at dGriffith.9@gmail.com for more information.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday November 5th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  The speaker will be Shelly Blair of the California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife who will be giving a scientific presentation on beavers in the Sierra.  There will also be a further review and hopefully final agreement on the proposed Memorandum of Agreement for the ABC.

To contact us you can either leave a comment on this blog, or for a private comment, visit our contact us page.

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October Meeting: Updates

The October meeting will feature a short update on the scoping study, a brief update on the Hot Springs Road Corridor project, further discussion of the draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), and an informal presentation on the Eastern Sierra Sustainable ecreation Partnership (ESSRP).  There will be no speaker for this meeting.

If things go as expected The Beck Group’s study on the availability and characteristics of excess biomass from our forest that might be put to a productive use should be available.  The Hot Springs Road Corridor work group continues to focus on what can be done to improve the safety of this important evacuation route.  Alpine County has joined the ESSRP along with the Inyo and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests, Mono County, the Town of Mammoth Lakes, and the City of Bishop.  The ESSRP has received over $600,000 in grant funds for planning and prioritizing projects from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC).  Matt Driscoll of the SNC, Mark Schwartz of the Chamber of Commerce, and David Griffith will be explaining what the ESSRP means to Alpine County.

The draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is essentially on hold pending receipt of the Forest Service’s review.  As discussed at the last meeting, please bring suggested name changes for the collaborative to the meeting.  Suggested name changes for the collaborative received to date include:

Biomass Collaborative Committee (BCC)
Biomass Collaborative of Alpine County (BCAC)

There is a great story on the Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solution (CHIPS) and the Washoe crew here.   Thanks to Kimra McAfee of the Alpine Watershed Group for bringing the article to our attention.

Our October meeting is scheduled for Tuesday October 1st at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.

September Meeting Summary

Our meeting on September 3rd 2019 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 15 members of the public and agencies.  There was no presentation as this meeting concentrated on current projects and the organization of the ABC.  It was agreed that having a speaker every month didn’t allow enough time for discussion about potential projects and organizational matters and so going forward it is hoped to have a speaker every other month.

Organization Update:  The draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was discussed and it was agreed that the proposed relationship between the collaborative and the 501(c)(3) was not clear.  It was further agreed that the collaborative would be renamed and the 501(c)(3) would be a signer to the MOA.  These changes would allow the Forest Service to sign the MOA.  Suggestions for the new name for the collaborative should be submitted to dGriffith.9@gmail.com prior to the October meeting.  The ad hoc group working on the MOA will have a revised draft ready prior to the next meeting.

Scoping Study Update:  The interim report on sustainable biomass supply has been received and is being reviewed by the ad hoc group overseeing the study.  The ad hoc group has some concerns that will be discussed with the consultants.  It is still anticipated that the study will be complete in December or January.

Poor Boy Ridge/Hot Springs Road Corridor Update:  The ad hoc group work group for the Hot Springs Road Corridor Project has prepared a short project description to discuss with landowners along and near the corridor.  Thanks to the Community Development department there is now a good map showing the land ownership in and near the corridor.  The priority is to contact property owners to discuss their possible participation.  Assuming this effort is successful the 501(c)(3) will begin pursuing grant opportunities.

Participant Updates:  Mary Rawson reported the stargazing party on August 24th was successful and very well attended.  Teresa McClung reported Matt Zumstein, the new District Ranger, will report to duty on September 30th.  He will probably attend the ABC meeting in November and will likely introduce himself to the Board of Supervisors before then.  Teresa McClung suggested the MOA could include an ABC signatory for letters of support.  Teresa McClung reported Elissa Brown, SNC, contacted her regarding available funding for an East Side Collaborative Group.  David Griffith reported the Board of Supervisors has voted to join the Eastern Sierra Sustainable Recreation Partnership.  Ron Hames reported he is working on modifying Alpine County’s red flag ordinance.  Coreen Francis reported the BLM will partner with the Western Aspen Alliance to host a free workshop in June 2020.  Coreen Francis will coordinate the event so that guest speakers attending the Alliance will also be able to make a presentation to the ABC at one of its regularly scheduled meetings.  Tim Roide reported the BLM will have a proposal by October regarding treatment in Alpine County for 24 units and 1,200 acres.  Foothill Road is an area of extreme risk.  The BLM is coordinating its efforts with the Forest Service and California Fish and Wildlife for planned maintenance efforts.  Christine Aralia reported she attended the Tahoe Summit and was inspired by the resources allocated for fuels reductions and forest and watershed health.  Mark Schwartz reported the Markleeville Water Company is vetting two requests for proposals for a planning grant; the awardee will be selected by October 2019.  He reported there have been staff changes at the Chamber of Commerce and new employees will be hired.  The Board is excited about reaching out to business owners and the public.  The next Board meeting is September 17th and there is a mixer in Bear Valley on September 19th.  Mo Loden reported the next AWG meeting is September 10th at the Woodfords Indian Education Center.  The Lahontan Regional Quality Control Board will be requesting input on the West Carson Vision Plan.  The AWG will host its 20th Annual Markleeville Creek Day on September 21st.  Volunteers will meet at the library at 9:00 am.  The AWG is continuing its water sampling at Indian Creek Reservoir, Red Lake, and Wet Meadows to assess Harmful Algal Bloom.  Brian Peters reported the County is moving forward with its CALFIRE planning grant.  A steering committee has met and proposals for a consultant have been solicited.  A selection will be made next week.  The project will be completed by March 2021.  There is a small defensible space project in Woodfords, which is funded by Title III, that might start in the fall.  Michael Barton reported the Alpine Trails Association (ATA) has completed the 8 mile Thornburg Canyon Trail.  The ATA is leading a hike on this trail on September 15th.  The next ATA meeting is October 5th.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday October 1st at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  The speaker is still to be decided and suggestions are welcome.  There will also be a further review and hopefully final agreement on the proposed Memorandum of Agreement for the ABC.

To contact us you can either leave a comment on this blog, or for a private comment, visit our contact us page.

Updates

The September meeting will feature a short update on the scoping study, a brief update on the Hot Springs Corridor project, and further discussion of the draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).  There will be no speaker for this meeting.

If things go as expected there should be preliminary results from the Beck Group’s study on the availability and characteristics of excess biomass from our forest that might be put to a productive use.  The Hot Springs Corridor work group continues to focus on what can be done to improve the safety of this important evacuation route.

Most agencies will not be signing the MOA, although they will continue to participate in and support the ABC.  In some cases the agency feels that it would be a conflict if the ABC was to apply for a grant from the agency, in others it is due to their policy of not signing such agreements.  CALFIRE has agreed to sign the MOA and the Forest Service needs some changes from the draft as it is currently written.

Our September meeting is scheduled for Tuesday September 3rd at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.

August Meeting Summary

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photo by Mary Rawson

Our meeting on August 6th 2019 at Turtle Rock Park was well attended with 25 members of the public and agencies.  The meeting featured a presentation by Jaimie Roice-Gomes of the Living With Fire Program at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and a discussion on the draft Memorandum of Agreement to formalize our governance.  There was also an update by the Poor Boy Ridge/Hot Springs Corridor Work Group, an update by the Forest Service on the Dixon Fire, and a decision to simplify the meeting minutes to summary/action minutes.

Twenty years ago wildfires were assumed to set homes on fire when the flame front or radiant heat engulfed a home.  It is now recognized that as many as 90% of the homes lost in a wildfire is due to flying embers, not the flame front or radiant heat.  This is good news as it is relatively easy to make most homes resistant to embers.  The Living With Fire Program has many excellent brochures and publications on how to make homes more resistant to embers.  These are and have been available from the Alpine Fire Safe Council.

Scoping Study Update:  The first interim report by the consultants is due in about a month, and will contain information on the amount and types of biomass available on a sustainable basis.

Poor Boy Ridge/Hot Springs Road Corridor Update:  The work group had a good meeting on site with Registered Professional Forester Kevin Whitlock and others.  The consensus was that the work group should continue to firm up the plan, start looking at funding options, and approach the property owners to get their input.

Participant Updates:  Rich Harvey advocated acquiring resources to reopen the burn pile.  Anna Belle Monti (USFS) reported that the HT will have a signed decision memo within the next few months for the West Carson Watershed Project.  August 19th the steering committee for the Alpine County planning grant will meet to review proposals from consultants.  Fuel permits are available at the Chamber of Commerce.  David Griffith reported that the Board of Supervisors heard a presentation by the Eastern Sierra Sustainable Recreation Partnership; the Board will have an opportunity to join this partnership. The Forest Management Task Force is accepting landscape scale project suggestions.  The Forest Service is providing a Good Neighbor Authority agreement webinar; contact David Griffith for details.  Duncan Leao (USFS) reported Matt Zumstein has been selected as the new HT District Ranger.  He comes from Norwood, Colorado, with a background in recreation management.  Rich Adams (State Parks) expressed support for ABC’s proposed work on Hot Springs Corridor and recommended Kevin Whitlock as a resource.  State Parks is not ready to be a part of any current grant application.  Tim Roide (BLM) reported that the Airport 2 fire at Indian Creek resulted from an abandoned campfire.  It burned in a fuels treatment area and stayed on the surface; most Jeffrey pines survived.  BLM’s Alpine Fuels Management 4.0 Version Environmental Assessment was kicked off August 5th.  The Poor Boy Ridge area will be expanded.  Kris Hartnett reported the AFSC met with Grover Hot Springs State Park to pursue evacuation implementation.  There is an issue with communication between the State Park and the Sheriff’s Department which Kris Hartnett is helping to resolve.  The AFSC is still looking for groups of homes to create Firewise Communities; they enhance options for fire insurance.  Mary Rawson reported that there will be a stargazing party on August 24th, at 7:00 pm, at the Alpine Airstrip.  Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served.  Ron Hames reported that he is still working on the red flag ordinance.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday September 3rd at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  The speaker is still to be decided and suggestions are welcome.  There will also be a further review and hopefully final agreement on the proposed Memorandum of Agreement for the ABC.

To contact us you can either leave a comment on this blog, or for a private comment, visit our contact us page.