Our meeting on October 2nd, 2018 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 17 members of the public and agencies.
Steve Frisch of the Sierra Nevada Business Council gave a presentation on the 20 MW Loyalton Biomass Cogen Facility in Sierra County. This is a far larger facility than would ever be viable here, but illustrates how excess biomass from the forest can be put to productive use. Since April, 2018 the facility has been producing electricity for sale to the Southern California Public Power Authorities, an aggregator that purchases electricity for utilities in the Los Angeles area. The facility is receiving 8.8 cents/kilowatt-hour. The facility’s mission statement is “to provide infrastructure resources which will foster the commercial success of advanced wood products technologies and research-related business that will provide solutions to preserve the headwaters of the Sierra Nevada region”. While electricity for sale off-site is the principal product at the moment, the plan is to use the electricity and heat produced by the plant to power other on-site businesses related to biomass utilization. Because the bulk of the biomass used to power the facility comes from the excess removed from the forest, a prime benefit of the facility is to improve forest and watershed health by reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire.
Steve also discussed the role of the Sierra Small Business Development Center in developing the facility and how it could possibly be helpful here as well.
A decision from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) on our grant application is apparently pending Congress’s approval of the Dept. of Commerce’s budget for FY 2019. A letter supporting Alpine County’s appeal of the California Fish and Wildlife’s Lands Pass program as it affects Hope Valley was approved and has been sent.
Michael Barton and Annie Dean have essentially finished the presentation about the ABC for the Board of Supervisors. It is scheduled to be presented to the Board at its Oct. 16th meeting at 9:45 am. It will be helpful if those of you who have participated in the ABC could attend.
Participant updates included the following. Kendal Young, Cornerstone CFLR Coordinator, USFS, reported that he will continue to help the ACCG and reiterated his willingness to assist the ABC. Steve Wilensky, CHIPS, reported on behalf of Irvin Jim, Chairman, Hung-A-Lel-Ti Community, that the CHIPS crew was awarded the Best of Tahoe Award. There are 20 workers currently on the crew and 25 are anticipated next year. The crew will be accepting applications beyond the Hung-a-lel-ti community. This will be the first year-round employment which is a landmark for CHIPS. Paul Fuselier, BLM, reported the Indian Creek Campground will close October 8th. This year recreation.gov was used for 75% of the sites generating an increase of 40% in funding; next year recreation.gov will be used for 100% of the sites. A new bathroom and shower facility will be built pending funding. The issue of non RV dumping is being considered. Ron Hames reported he attended an SNC meeting in Alturas regarding funding opportunities from SB 901 and Prop 3. Ron Hames reported he is researching a parcel of land which the Washoe Community might be interested in purchasing. David Griffith reported the Alpine Fire Safe Council was awarded $112,000 for chipping and fuels reduction; projects are being identified. On November 3rd at 5:00 pm there will be an appreciation dinner for volunteer fire fighters held at the Hung-a-lel-ti gym. The event is being organized by the Chamber of Commerce which is accepting donations of raffle prizes and funds. Checks should be payable to the Woodford’s Fire Department. There was interest within the ABC about David Griffith’s idea of applying to CalFire for a grant to generate a plan to protect the community from wildfire. The grant would pay for a forester to draw up fuel breaks without regards to boundaries.
The next meeting is set for Tuesday November 6th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park. It will feature a presentation by CHIPS and the Washoe Crew on their accomplishments. In December Kevin Vella of the National Wild Turkey Federation will be making a presentation. The National Wild Turkey Federation does a lot of forest and habitat restoration on Forest Service lands nationally. It is not planned to have a January meeting. Tentatively February will feature a science presentation by Atlantic Richfield on the Leviathan Superfund site.
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