May Meeting Summary

 

 

 

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Poor Boy Ridge Tour, 29-April  photo by Annie Dean

Our meeting on May 7th 2019 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 24 members of the public and agencies.  The meeting featured a robust discussion on fuels reduction to protect Markleeville, Markleevillage, and the Hot Springs Road corridor.  There was also some preliminary discussion on possible projects in the Woodfords area and Mesa Vista.

RCDI Spring Workshop:  The Sierra Institute is sponsoring its final Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) workshop on May 29th, 2019, in Jackson, CA.  This is a good opportunity to meet with and learn from other forest collaboratives.  The draft agenda is located here, and registration is available here.   It will be followed by the Sierra Institute’s SCALE conference on May 30th and 31st at the same location.

Scoping Study Update:  The Request for Proposals was submitted to five (now six) consultants that had indicate that they were interested in submitting a proposal.  The deadline for submitting proposals is May 24th.  It is considered likely that there will be at least two, and hopefully more, solid proposals.

Participant Updates:  Mary Rawson reported that 18 Markleeville Enhancement Group volunteers cleaned five areas in Markleeville on May 5th.  The Alps Haus supported the effort with gift certificates.  Trina Johnson, NRCS, offered support and help to the ABC for funding on private land.  Kimra McAfee, AWG, reported AWG’s next bimonthly meeting is May 14th, 5:30 pm, at the Woodfords Indian Education Center.  There will be a presentation on trails and watershed health.  Anna Belle Monti reported Caltrans is starting a hazard tree project on May 13th on highways 88, 89 and 4.  Coreen Francis reported she is available to answer questions regarding CCI grants.  The BLM signed a big decision on the Programmatic Environmental Assessment in February 2019.  This covers all forest and woodland areas managed by the BLM in California (not us as we are in the Carson City District, NV).  Josh Heitzmann reported the State Park will continue fuels reduction by removing several hundred hazard trees around Shay Creek and the pool complex at Grover Hot Springs.  Matt Driscoll reported SNC’s forest health grant pre-applications will open in the summer of 2019 with final applications due in early October.  Mark Schwartz, on behalf of the Markleeville Water Company, encouraged participants to conserve water.  Mark Schwartz reported he will be helping with bike races and providing bike maintenance at Washoe Earth Day, Saturday, May 11th, at the Hung A Lel Ti gym from 9am-2pm.  David Griffith reported he is getting information from the Eastern Sierra Sustainable Recreation Partnership regarding economic development related to outdoor recreation.  He also reported that RCRC is working on an ambitious plan which would create 20 year master stewardship agreements for most forests in California.  Chris Placke reported CALFIRE is conducting defensible space inspections on the Mesa.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday June 4th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  It will be another planning meeting involving all the agencies that have past, present and future projects which improve forest or watershed health, and which reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in Alpine County.  There will also be a presentation by the Tahoe Conservancy on their Resilient Corridors Concept that they are working on with Liberty Utilities.  Members of the public that are concerned with the risk of catastrophic wildfire to their homes and communities are encouraged to participate.

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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Less Talk More Action (3)

The May meeting will be another “less talk, more action” meeting.  This will continue the process of determining where and what forest and watershed health projects to support.  The April meeting prioritized the Poor Boy Ridge fuels reduction project which would fill in the gap between the fuels reduction done by the BLM during the Washington Fire with the Markleevillage Fuels Reduction project completed by the Forest Service, Alpine Watershed Group, Alpine County and the Alpine Fire Safe Council.  This project should reduce the risk to Markleeville, Markleevillage, and points in between.  An excellent meeting was held in the field to consider this project, with representatives of the Forest Service, BLM, Alpine County, Alpine Fire Safe Council, and CALFIRE attending.  The meeting highlighted the difference between priority and opportunity, and between short and long term planning.  It also became evident that homeowners that don’t comply with Defensible Space requirements are at a high risk regardless of the number and extent of fuel breaks.  More details at our meeting on Tuesday evening.

For those that are not already aware of it, Alpine County was awarded a $224,000 Fire Prevention Planning Grant from CALFIRE to review possible fuel breaks around our communities.  The review will do the necessary due diligence and environmental review on the two or three top priorities so that they will be “shovel ready” projects.  Congratulations and thanks are due to Brian Peters, Community Development Director, for the successful grant application.  This program and what the ABC and the Alpine Fire Safe Council are already doing should be complementary so that the community as a whole benefits, regardless of which organization is working on a particular project.  If not it will be necessary to rethink how we can better collaborate as a community.

The scoping study to determine how best to make use of the excess biomass in our forest and improve our local economy is moving ahead, but a bit slower than anticipated.  The request for proposals for a consultant is essentially finished and should go out before the ABC meeting.

The Sierra Institute is sponsoring its annual Sierra to California All-Lands Enhancement (SCALE) gathering of forest collaboratives from across California in Jackson on May 30th & 31st.  More information and registration is available here.  It is possible to attend both or either days.  Agenda highlights will include:

  • Updates on biomass utilization projects around the state
  • Status of state policy and support for biomass utilization
  • New opportunities – business models and technologies
  • Reflections on growth in community capacity
  • Preview of work and opportunities associated with upcoming capacity building work

It is a great opportunity to meet and hear from other forest collaboratives, and is also attended by agency representatives.  For more information contact Kyle Rodgers at krodgers@sierrainstitute.us.

Our May meeting is scheduled for Tuesday May 7th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.

April Meeting Summary

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Tim Roide, BLM Presentation   photo by Mary Rawson

Our meeting on April 2nd, 2019 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 29 members of the public and agencies.  The meeting featured presentations on past, present and future fuels reduction and watershed restoration projects.  Presenters included Kris Hartnett of the Alpine Fire Safe Council (AFSC), Mo Loden of the Alpine Watershed Group (AWG), Anna Belle Monti of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (HT), Tim Roide of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Brian Peters of the Alpine County Community Development Department, and private citizens Rich Harvey and Mark Schwartz.  Special thanks are due to Tim Roide of the BLM for providing large scale maps and the digital map outlining project locations.

After the presentations there was considerable discussion on priorities and the need to include multiple interested parties in recommended projects.  The first project to attract serious attention was an expansion of the fuels reduction completed by the BLM during the Washington Fire along Poor Boy Ridge.  A fuel break in this area could provide some protection from catastrophic wildfire to Markleeville, Markleevillage, and the Hot Springs Corridor which is an important evacuation route.  This will involve collaboration of the HT, BLM, and possibly one or more private land owners.  It is anticipated that at the May meeting there will be discussion of priority projects in the Woodfords area.

Scoping Study Update:  Definition of the scope of work is being done with help from the Sierra Business Council and ABC’s partner CHIPS.  Once the scope of work is complete and the consultant selected there will be a public meeting to explain the study and seek public input, probably sometime in May.

Participant Updates:  With the permission of everyone present, Mark Schwartz, Concerned Citizens of the Hot Springs Corridor, will be given the contact information of those present.  Trina Johnson, Natural Resources Conservation Service, reported that the NRCS has assistance and resources for private land owners.  Terry Hughes, reported Eastern Alpine Fire/Rescue is looking at consolidation and the impact this would have on the county.  Anna Belle Monti, HT, reminded participants that the HT is available to do site visits. There will be a Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities conference in Reno on April 22nd.  More information is available here, and the registration deadline is April 12th.  Kris Hartnett, AFSC, reported that they will have a spring flyer with information about CALfire defensible space inspections and dates for the biomass burn pile.  Ron Hames reported that the county will host a town hall event to discuss the need for updating the evacuation plans.  Kyle Rodgers reported that the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment will be hosting its next SCALE workshop for collaboratives in Jackson on May 30 and 31.  The Sierra Institute was awarded funding through the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) to continue their Rural Community Development Initiative.  He also recommended Firewise groups as a way to promote public education on defensible space.  Avery Hellman reported that they have started some fuels reduction on her 100 acres on Carson River Road and want a site visit for an assessment on their defensible space.  Amy Horne, Living Forests, reported on the Mass Timber Conference in Portland. Unfortunately there isn’t a sufficient supply of timber in this area to justify a plant.  Matt Streck, CALFIRE, reported that their local station will open in the next few weeks and CALFIRE will be doing defensible space inspections. The first 10 people who call Station 5 at 530-577-5749 to request a custom inspection will get a free CALFIRE hat with their inspection. The inspections take 25 minutes.  Teresa McClung, HT, reported that the HT is advertising for the Carson District Ranger Position; the closing date is April 15.  James Sinnott reported that he is a new landowner with significant land in the WUI. He wants to be involved in fire prevention efforts and help with resources.  David Griffith reported the Inyo National Forest is hosting a seminar with speakers who will address forest health on the east side of the Sierra along with prescribed fire and the effects of smoke.  At the last Forest Management Task Force meeting the California Air Resources Board indicated it is now onboard with prescribed burning.  Matt Driscoll, SNC, was unable to attend the meeting but David Griffith reported that the SNC Land Conservation Grant Program is accepting pre-funding applications. More information is available here.  The SNC is also opening another round of forest health grants.  Kevin Wilmot, HT, is optimistic that there will be funding opportunities for good plans. The current goals of the FS are fuel acres treated and timber volume.  Don Hittenmiller reported that Rich Adams, State Forester, State Parks, was unable to attend the meeting but is interested in participating.  Taylor Norton, AWG, reported the AWG and State Parks will host an Earth Day Celebration at Grover Hot Springs on Saturday, April 20, 8-12:30.  More information is available here and here.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday May 7th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  It will be another planning meeting involving all the agencies that have past, present and future projects which improve forest or watershed health, and which reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in Alpine County.  Members of the public that are concerned with the risk of catastrophic wildfire to their homes and communities are encouraged to participate.

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

Less Talk More Action (2)

The April meeting will be a “less talk, more action” meeting.  This will begin the process of determining where and what forest and watershed health projects to support.  This meeting was originally scheduled in January, but had to be rescheduled due to the Federal shutdown.

The Alpine Biomass Collaborative (ABC) will be hosting its first fuels reduction and forest/watershed health planning meeting.  The goal of the meeting is to prepare a comprehensive map showing past, present and future projects.  The map will allow us to see the “big picture” and will create a shared framework for identifying and prioritizing potential collaborative projects.  Representatives from a broad base of stakeholders will attend, including the federal government, state government, county, NGOs, and private citizens.  The ABC is an inclusive and proactive group.  Please join us to help protect our communities from catastrophic wildfire and to improve watershed health and the local economy.

Although work on the scoping study to determine how best to make use of the excess biomass in our forest and improve our local economy does not officially start until April 1st, there already has been one meeting between the project partners, CHIPS and ABC.  A request for proposals is in the works and should go out during April.

The April meeting is scheduled for Tuesday April 2nd at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.

March Meeting Summary

It has been a long wait, but the Economic Development Administration (EDA) informed the Alpine Biomass Collaborative (ABC) and CHIPS that their joint application for an $80,000 grant to do a scoping study on how best to utilize the excess biomass in the forest to provide jobs and improve the local economy was approved.  This together with the $20,000 in matching funds from the Northern California Community Loan Fund gives the ABC and CHIPS $100,000 to complete the study.  It will be about a month before a few loose ends are tied up and work can begin.  Thanks are due to a number of organizations and individuals, most prominently CHIPS and Steve Wilensky without which it would never have happened, Malinda Matson of the EDA for her strong support, and the Northern California Community Loan Fund for their early commitment.  There were many others.

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Photo by Mary Rawson

Our meeting on March 5th, 2019 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 35 members of the public, agencies, and Atlantic Richfield.  The meeting featured an excellent presentation on the scientific work that has been done at the Leviathan Superfund site by Atlantic Richfield (ARCO), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board – Lahontan (CRWQCB).  In addition suggestions of what qualities/skills members of the ABC would like to see in the new District Ranger were collected.

Since the early 1980s there has been over $200 million dollars spent on various attempts to resolve the problem of acid mine drainage at the old Leviathan mine.  Some of that money was used in scientific investigations that provide the base for designing and implementing a robust solution.  The Leviathan mine and Leviathan Creek will never be pristine, and they never were, but the downstream effects should be minimal once the project is completed.  The most fascinating information was how the present interim measures to control the acid mine drainage were working so well.  Studies of the invertebrates that live in the creek bed clearly show the improvement in water quality downstream.  It is hoped that all those involved will expedite a permanent fix as soon as possible.

There were ten suggestions on what qualities/skills that members of the ABC would like to see in the new Carson District Ranger.  These are being consolidated, along with suggestions from Steve Wilensky of CHIPS, who has much more experience with these issues than the ABC has, and submitted to the Forest Service.  Common themes are an ability to work with the local community and collaborative, an ability to work through complex issues with people that may strongly disagree, and a sense of humor and/or a thick skin to help get through tough issues with the public.  Again, many thanks are due to Forest Supervisor Bill Dunkelberger and Deputy Forest Supervisor Teresa McClung for this unprecedented opportunity.

Participant Updates:  Kimra McAfee reported that the next AWG meeting is March 12th, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm at the Hung A Lel Ti Woodfords Indian Education Center.  Kris Hartnett will be reporting on the Community Wildfire Protection Plan and there will be an update on the Hope Valley Restoration and Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Project.  David Griffith gave an update on the Forest Management Task Force and also reported there will be an opportunity for public comment on the Alpine County’s public health survey on Thursday, March 7th, from 6 pm -7 pm in the Board of Supervisors chambers.  Teresa McClung introduced Kevin Wilmot, Acting District Ranger, HT.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday April 2nd at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  It will be a planning meeting involving all the agencies that have past, present and future projects which improve forest or watershed health, and which reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in Alpine County.  Members of the public that are concerned with the risk of catastrophic wildfire to their homes and communities are encouraged to participate.

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