December Meeting Summary

Our meeting on December 5th, 2017 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 13 members of the public and agencies.  Discussion about the advisability of changing to a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation are continuing.

Our application for $20,000 in matching funds for a potential Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant is still pending with the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF).  Hopefully there will be a favorable decision soon.

Devon Snyder, Rangeland Ecologist with the University of Nevada, Reno gave a presentation her research on Pinyon and Juniper Ecology and Rangeland Restoration in Central Nevada.  One of the puzzling aspects is why the range and population of pinyon-juniper has apparently expanded so dramatically over the last century or two.  Since 1860, the area occupied by piñon and or juniper has increased 125 to 625 percent.  The increase of trees was a result of infill into shrub-steppe communities with relatively open low density stands of trees and expansion of piñon and juniper into sagebrush-steppe communities that previously did not support trees.  Although her research was in central Nevada, much of it applies to eastern Alpine County.

Participant updates included the following.  The Alpine Watershed Group reported that their next meeting is January 9th; Julia will be starting their fuels education program at Diamond Valley School and working on the Woodfords Community after-school program.  The Carson Ranger District reported that Forest Service Christmas tree permits are still available; that their pinyon-juniper program on Monitor Pass has been delayed until next fall.  The BLM reported that they had no activity in Alpine County this year as they have completed all the planned fuels reduction projects, however they plan to develop another work plan to resume work in Alpine County in the future.  Saving The West reported that finally merchantable timber is being harvested from the Sagehen Project and people will be able to see how applying GR220 forest management practices in a mixed-conifer forest on the east slope works.  Ron Hames reported that he is continuing to work with residents in the Upper Manzanita Lane area to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.  California Fish and Wildlife responded to many questions on their coming Lands Pass program.  Griffith reported that the Alpine Fire Safe Council is getting closer to finishing the update on the Community Wildfire Protection Plan and it should be going out to the agencies for review in the New Year.

There will be no meeting in January.  The next meeting is set for Tuesday February 6th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  Dr. Malcolm North of the US Forest Service will be making a presentation on his latest research on forest management.  Future speakers include Scott Conway of the US Forest Service in March, and for April and May we have tentative commitments from Merv George and Dr. Hugh Stafford, both of the USFS.

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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December meeting features research on pinyon-juniper

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The December meeting will be about collaborative watershed research projects in areas of pinyon pine and juniper and what has been learned about the effects of tree encroachment and removal treatments on understory vegetation, soil moisture, and watershed hydrology.  Devon Snyder, Rangeland Ecologist with the University of Nevada, Reno will be presenting the results of her research.

In rangelands in many areas of the western United States, pinyon pine and juniper have increased in extent in the last 100+ years because of major changes in land management, subsequent altered fire regimes, and a changing climate.  Pinyon and juniper have primarily expanded into sagebrush rangelands.  As trees infill and canopies close, there is an increase in canopy fuel loads and a reduction in understory vegetation that was historically dominated by shrubs and grass species.  Treatment of these areas to restore ecological function has become a priority for many land managers.  Tree removal treatments like hand cutting, mastication, and chaining have been typically used to reduce the risks of severe fire and improve habitat for sage-grouse, but not much is known about the effects of these trees and subsequent treatments on hydrological processes.  She will present on our collaborative watershed research projects located in central Nevada, designed to understand the effects of tree encroachment and removal treatments on understory vegetation, soil moisture, and watershed hydrology.

Devon Snyder is a Rangeland Ecologist working at the University of Nevada, Reno in the College of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Veterinary Sciences.  While she originally hails from the northeast and graduated from the University of Vermont, she has been working on northern Nevada rangelands for almost seven years and now calls Reno home.  Devon worked for Great Basin Institute when she first moved to Nevada and while there, managed the Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring program for the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada.  From that position she transitioned to a rangeland ecology research lab at UNR.  Devon’s work has allowed her to travel extensively in Nevada, exploring rangelands and interacting with agencies, non-profits, and private landowners.  She now focuses on disturbance ecology and management of Great Basin ecosystems, particularly in sagebrush and pinyon-juniper woodlands.

We will also be continuing the discussion on the advisability of forming a 501c(3) (non-profit) entity to make it easier to attract funding and complete projects.

There will be no meeting in January, but the February meeting is scheduled for Tuesday February 6th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.

 

November Meeting Summary

Our meeting on November 7th, 2017 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 18 members of the public and agencies.  The Alpine Biomass Committee (ABC) is continuing to operate on funds provided by two anonymous donors.  Discussion about the advisability of changing to a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation are continuing.

Our application for $20,000 in matching funds for a potential Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant is pending with the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF).  Hopefully there will be a favorable decision by the end of the month.

Shelly Blair, the California Fish and Wildlife Land Manager for Alpine County gave a presentation on human-wildlife interaction.  Her presentation focused on predators, how to identify them, their behavior, and what to do if confronted with one.  The department no longer moves problem bears from one area to another, but it does release “re-habituated” orphaned bear cubs within a 75 mile radius of where they were originally found.  In our case the orphaned bear cubs are usually found in the Tahoe Basin.  Studies have shown that bears transplanted as much as 500 miles from where they are captured can find their way back.

Participant updates included the following.  The Carson Ranger District reported that the Markleeville Fuels Reduction project has been completed and they will try and organize a tour.  The Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) reported that more funding is probably coming to the Sierra Nevada from California in the form of two initiatives (one definite, the other still has to gather signatures).  The funding can be used on public and private lands.  They also reported that the SNC is going through a strategic planning project and the public is encouraged to participate.  They reported that Chris French, Assistant Deputy Chief Forester for the USFS emphasized in a meeting that it is a priority at the national level to work collaboratively with other agencies, local governments and groups like the ABC.  Danna Stroud announced that she will be leaving the SNC at the end of the month.  We all agreed that we are sad to see her go.  Griffith updated the meeting on funds for forest restoration that are anticipated to be coming available.  CalFire and the California Air Resources Board have reportedly agreed on how to calculate the reduction in greenhouse gases from forest health and fuels reduction projects.  This means that CalFire will have a lot more funding for such projects, but some of the attached conditions may not be acceptable to private land owners.  The SWET conference on biomass utilization will be in Fresno on Nov. 14th through 16th.  The Economic Development Committee will be discussing recreation tourism as an economic development tool at its Nov. 14th meeting.  The Carson Water Subconservancy District is requesting nominations for its Andy Alfax award and suggestions were requested.  Suggestions have also been requested from the Alpine Watershed Group.  The BLM reported that the Department of the Interior is working on accelerating the NEPA process.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday December 5th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  Dr. Tamzen Stringham of the University of Nevada, Reno will be making a presentation on the management and restoration of Pinyon-Jupiter. There will be no January meeting.  Future speakers include Dr. Malcolm North of the USFS in February, Scott Conway of the USFS in March, and for April and May we have tentative commitments from Dr. Hugh Stafford and Merv George, both of the USFS.

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

November Meeting Summary

Our meeting on November 7th, 2017 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 18 members of the public and agencies.  The Alpine Biomass Committee (ABC) is continuing to operate on funds provided by two anonymous donors.  Discussion about the advisability of changing to a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation are continuing.

Our application for $20,000 in matching funds for a potential Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant is pending with the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF).  Hopefully there will be a favorable decision by the end of the month.

Shelly Blair, the California Fish and Wildlife Land Manager for Alpine County gave a presentation on human-wildlife interaction.  Her presentation focused on predators, how to identify them, their behavior, and what to do if confronted with one.  The department no longer moves problem bears from one area to another, but it does release “re-habituated” orphaned bear cubs within a 75 mile radius of where they were originally found.  In our case the orphaned bear cubs are usually found in the Tahoe Basin.  Studies have shown that bears transplanted as much as 500 miles from where they are captured can find their way back.

Participant updates included the following.  The Carson Ranger District reported that the Markleeville Fuels Reduction project has been completed and they will try and organize a tour.  The Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) reported that more funding is probably coming to the Sierra Nevada from California in the form of two initiatives (one definite, the other still has to gather signatures).  The funding can be used on public and private lands.  They also reported that the SNC is going through a strategic planning project and the public is encouraged to participate.  They reported that Chris French, Assistant Deputy Chief Forester for the USFS emphasized in a meeting that it is a priority at the national level to work collaboratively with other agencies, local governments and groups like the ABC.  Danna Stroud announced that she will be leaving the SNC at the end of the month.  We all agreed that we are sad to see her go.  Griffith updated the meeting on funds for forest restoration that are anticipated to be coming available.  CalFire and the California Air Resources Board have reportedly agreed on how to calculate the reduction in greenhouse gases from forest health and fuels reduction projects.  This means that CalFire will have a lot more funding for such projects, but some of the attached conditions may not be acceptable to private land owners.  The SWET conference on biomass utilization will be in Fresno on Nov. 14th through 16th.  The Economic Development Committee will be discussing recreation tourism as an economic development tool at its Nov. 14th meeting.  The Carson Water Subconservancy District is requesting nominations for its Andy Alfax award and suggestions were requested.  Suggestions have also been requested from the Alpine Watershed Group.  The BLM reported that the Department of the Interior is working on accelerating the NEPA process.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday December 5th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  Dr. Tamzen Stringham of the University of Nevada, Reno will be making a presentation on the management and restoration of Pinyon-Jupiter. There will be no January meeting.  Future speakers include Dr. Malcolm North of the USFS in February, Scott Conway of the USFS in March, and for April and May we have tentative commitments from Dr. Hugh Stafford and Merv George, both of the USFS.

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

November Meeting Summary

Our meeting on November 7th, 2017 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 18 members of the public and agencies.  The Alpine Biomass Committee (ABC) is continuing to operate on funds provided by two anonymous donors.  Discussion about the advisability of changing to a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation are continuing.

Our application for $20,000 in matching funds for a potential Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant is pending with the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF).  Hopefully there will be a favorable decision by the end of the month.

Shelly Blair, the California Fish and Wildlife Land Manager for Alpine County gave a presentation on human-wildlife interaction.  Her presentation focused on predators, how to identify them, their behavior, and what to do if confronted with one.  The department no longer moves problem bears from one area to another, but it does release “re-habituated” orphaned bear cubs within a 75 mile radius of where they were originally found.  In our case the orphaned bear cubs are usually found in the Tahoe Basin.  Studies have shown that bears transplanted as much as 500 miles from where they are captured can find their way back.

Participant updates included the following.  The Carson Ranger District reported that the Markleeville Fuels Reduction project has been completed and they will try and organize a tour.  The Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) reported that more funding is probably coming to the Sierra Nevada from California in the form of two initiatives (one definite, the other still has to gather signatures).  The funding can be used on public and private lands.  They also reported that the SNC is going through a strategic planning project and the public is encouraged to participate.  They reported that Chris French, Assistant Deputy Chief Forester for the USFS emphasized in a meeting that it is a priority at the national level to work collaboratively with other agencies, local governments and groups like the ABC.  Danna Stroud announced that she will be leaving the SNC at the end of the month.  We all agreed that we are sad to see her go.  Griffith updated the meeting on funds for forest restoration that are anticipated to be coming available.  CalFire and the California Air Resources Board have reportedly agreed on how to calculate the reduction in greenhouse gases from forest health and fuels reduction projects.  This means that CalFire will have a lot more funding for such projects, but some of the attached conditions may not be acceptable to private land owners.  The SWET conference on biomass utilization will be in Fresno on Nov. 14th through 16th.  The Economic Development Committee will be discussing recreation tourism as an economic development tool at its Nov. 14th meeting.  The Carson Water Subconservancy District is requesting nominations for its Andy Alfax award and suggestions were requested.  Suggestions have also been requested from the Alpine Watershed Group.  The BLM reported that the Department of the Interior is working on accelerating the NEPA process.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday December 5th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  Dr. Tamzen Stringham of the University of Nevada, Reno will be making a presentation on the management and restoration of Pinyon-Jupiter. There will be no January meeting.  Future speakers include Dr. Malcolm North of the USFS in February, Scott Conway of the USFS in March, and for April and May we have tentative commitments from Dr. Hugh Stafford and Merv George, both of the USFS.

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

Shelly Blair of California Fish and Wildlife to Present at November Meeting

The November meeting will be about human-wildlife interactions and how the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) responds to problems and educates the public.  Shelly Blair, the CDFW Land Manager for Alpine County will be making the presentation.

Shelly Blair is an Environmental Scientist (Wildlife) for the CDFW, and is currently the unit biologist for El Dorado and Alpine Counties.  She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Sciences from the California State University Chico and began working as a volunteer and scientific aid with CDFW in 1993.  She has held seasonal positions in the enforcement, education and outreach, and upland game programs, and worked in the Wildlife Investigations Lab and the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area.  Her first permanent position as a wildlife biologist was with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in 2000.  For the next five years, she was the liaison between CDFA and the US Department of Agriculture/Wildlife Services Program; dealing with statewide wildlife/ human conflict issues.  In 2006, she moved back to CDFW and led the statewide Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Program in the Wildlife Investigations Lab.   In 2010, she was hired for her current position. Her responsibilities include all wildlife management issues and projects (mainly game species) and she is land manager of all CDFW owned wildlife areas and ecological reserves in El Dorado and Alpine Counties.

We will also be continuing the discussion on the advisability of forming a 501c(3) (non-profit) entity to make it easier to attract funding and complete projects.

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

October Meeting Summary

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Dr. Becky Estes showing long-term trends in wildfire occurrence and climate.
Photo: Mary Rawson

Our meeting on October 3rd, 2017 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 15 members of the public and agencies present.  The Alpine Biomass Committee (ABC) is continuing to operate on funds provided by two anonymous donors.  Discussion about the advisability of changing to a 501c(3) non-profit corporation are continuing.

In cooperation with CHIPS the ABC is continuing to pursue a grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF) for a “feasibility study” on biomass utilization.  So far the NCCLF, which hopefully will be supplying the matching funds required for an EDA grant, has been most encouraging.  Time will tell.

Dr. Becky Estes, the USDA Forest Service Central Sierra Province Ecologist gave a presentation on forest health in the Sierra and forest restoration after major disasters such as catastrophic fire or extreme die-offs due to insect infestation and drought.  The object is to design science-based restoration programs that will maximize the possibility that the new forest will be resilient into the future.  It is anticipated that the climate will generally be warmer, but that some parts of the Sierra Nevada will be drier while other areas will be wetter.  This will affect the species mix which will be able to flourish.

Participant updates included the following.  The Carson Ranger District reported that the Markleeville Fuels Reduction project started today and that the contractor will be using three machines to try and get the work done before the snow flies.  They also reported that their specialists had inspected the West Carson Project and found no evidence of abnormal tree mortality.  Ron Hames reported that he is continuing to work on trying to get a fuels reduction project above Upper Manzanita Lane.  Becky Estes reported that there is a monitoring workshop with the Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group (ACCG) on November 8th.  Saving the West reported that their Wood Innovation project was progressing well.  They are currently examining how much biomass might be available on a sustainable basis and what economic use could be made of it.  They also reported that the 18 MW biomass-to-bioenergy plant will be restarting in November.  It has a power purchase agreement with a consortium of public utility energy consumers.  The Lahontan and Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Boards are working together to set consistent non-point pollution standards for federal lands.  The Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) reported that Susanna Reyes is their new chair.  Senate Bill 5 will put a ballot measure on the June ballot which will provide significant funding for the SNC.  There is a SCALE workshop sponsored by the Sierra Institute coming up in December for all collaboratives.  The SNC is developing its new strategic plan.  The ABC reported that there will be a second competitive ballot measure on the June ballot which allocates even more funding for forest health etc.  The Statewide Wood Energy Team (SWET) has a conference on biomass November 14th through 16th in Fresno.  The Alpine Watershed Group encouraged all to attend the Aspen Festival this weekend.  Details at www.AspenFest.org.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday November 7th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  Shelly Blair of the California Fish and Wildlife will be making a presentation on human-wildlife interactions.  With a nuisance bear and mountain lion around it should be interesting.

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