Vegetation Reduction Using Sheep and Goats

Meetings will resume with our Oct. 6th meeting and will be via Zoom video conferencing.  Although Zoom meetings have limitations due to the lack of effective informal networking, it also allows us to have presentations that would not otherwise be possible.  Presenters who are located too far away to make an in-person presentation can now join us.  Suggestions for topics of interest that are relevant to our mission statement are welcome.  October’s presentation will actually be a webinar presented by the University of California Cooperative Extension’s (UCCE) California Sheep & Goat Grazing School on Targeted Grazing.  Thanks to Avery Hellman for the topic suggestion.

UCCE Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor Dan Macon will provide an overview of targeted grazing, including grazing management, picking the right grazer for the job, livestock management, and customer relations.  Using sheep and goats to reduce excess fuels in the WUI is a method that is used in many places including the Humboldt-Toiyabe west of Carson City.

Photo by Roger Ingram

Dan Macon is the UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor for Placer, Nevada, Sutter and Yuba Counties and county director for Placer and Nevada Counties.  His research and extension priorities focus on climate resilience in rangeland agricultural production systems, livestock-predator coexistence, targeted grazing management, and ranch business viability.  Dan also provides administrative oversight for the 4-H Youth Development Program in Placer and Nevada Counties.  Prior to accepting this position, he was an associate specialist in rangeland science and management at UC Davis.  He was also the founding executive director of the California Rangeland Trust (a land trust established by the California Cattlemen’s Association).

Dan is also a partner in Flying Mule Sheep Company, a small-scale commercial sheep operation in Auburn, California.  He holds a master’s degree in integrated resource management from Colorado State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in agricultural and managerial economics from UC Davis.  He is a past president of the California Wool Growers Association and the California-Pacific Section of the Society for Range Management.

The October meeting it will be Tuesday October 6th at 6:00 pm via video conference, but will be slightly different from our normal schedule.  The webinar is scheduled from 6:00 – 7:30 pm, and our business meeting and participant updates will begin as a separate Zoom meeting on conclusion of the webinar.  It is advisable to check in a few minutes early in case of technical glitches.  The Zoom meeting for our business meeting and participant updates will be open at 7:00 pm, but won’t actually start until the webinar is finished.  However participants should be able to see and chat with each other after 7:00 pm.

Links for the targeted grazing webinar are:

Join Zoom Meeting: https://ucanr.zoom.us/j/92972890123?pwd=anlmZGpUSXlmazB6TXhveWhzWHdSZz09

Meeting ID: 929 7289 0123

Passcode: 090379

One tap mobile

+16699006833,,92972890123# US (San Jose)

+13462487799,,92972890123# US (Houston)

Dial by your location

        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 929 7289 0123

Find your local number: https://ucanr.zoom.us/u/abyhFlAJmD

Links for the ABC business meeting are:

Topic: ABC October Meeting

Time: Oct 6, 2020 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82255395025?pwd=dy9CUmpIbldPVmdJU3ZVeGVkZHFvZz09

Meeting ID: 822 5539 5025

Passcode: 357344

One tap mobile

+16699006833,,82255395025#,,,,,,0#,,357344# US (San Jose)

+12532158782,,82255395025#,,,,,,0#,,357344# US (Tacoma)

Dial by your location

        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 822 5539 5025

Passcode: 357344

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/koZXnrhJX

September Update

There has been some interest in having the ABC resume meetings via video conference such as by Zoom.  Because it appears that covid-19 will be with us for a while, perhaps a very long while, it’s something we should consider.  Video meetings are not as good as in-person meetings, but it is either video meetings or no meetings.  Please let me know your preference by sending a note to dGriffith.9@gmail.com this week.  It can be as simple as “Video Yes” or “Video No”, or a detailed explanation as to the rationale behind your preference.  It is too late to organize a September meeting, but we should be able to have an October meeting if enough of us are in favor.

There is some good news with respect to forest and watershed health in California.  Region 5 of the Forest Service and the state of California have signed a Shared Stewardship Agreement Memorandum of Understanding on a common understanding on what needs to be done, to work together to improve forest and watershed health, and to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.  It also includes using the excess biomass in the forest to generate energy.  Governor Newsom, the leadership of Region 5, the leadership of the California Natural Resources Agency and CALFIRE all deserve credit for putting this together and for their commitment to making it work.  The Acting Regional Forester of Region 4 has also signed the document and it is hoped that Region 4 and the Humboldt-Toiyabe will also commit to making it work.  Over the last few years there has been consistent lobbying for Region 4 and the Humboldt-Toiyabe to be included in California’s programs and investment to improve forest health and it looks like that might have paid off.  If so, special thanks are due to Regional Forester Randy Moore, Deputy Regional Forester Barnie Gyant, California Secretary of Natural Resources Agency Wade Crowfoot, and CALFIRE Chief Thom Porter, as well as numerous other agency contacts over the years.

The recently passed Great American Outdoors Act allocates 15% ($285 million/year for five years) of its funding to the Forest Service to improve infrastructure on public lands.  If your organization has some projects on public land that have been neglected due to lack of resources for maintenance, or there are new ideas for expanded infrastructure, bring them to the ABC and also contact the Carson Ranger District at (775) 882-2766 to make your case.

If there is an October meeting it will be Tuesday October 6th at 6:00 pm via video conference.  Stay safe, and let me know if you want video meetings.

August Update

As noted last month there will not be an August meeting.  Many people are still nervous and others would not be allowed to attend: either by their agency or their spouse.  The ABC doesn’t have a budget that would accommodate video conferencing, and even if the ABC could do that the most productive part of the meetings is the informal back and forth between participants which is next to impossible on a video conference.  This is frustrating for all of us so thank you all for your patience.

In a presentation to the County’s Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), Liberty Utilities indicated that they are seriously interested in biomass-to-bioenergy as part of their effort to become 100% renewable and to help reduce the excess biomass in the areas that they serve.  They are currently thinking of a much larger plant (20 MW vs 2 MW) than envisioned in the scoping study, but this is still a positive development.

It is with regret that I am informing you that Teresa McClung has retired from the Forest Service.  She was the Calaveras District Ranger, Deputy Forest Supervisor for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and lastly she held the same position at the Humboldt-Toiyabe.  She has a long track record of working with forest collaboratives and encouraging local input to Forest Service decisions and programs.  Her active participation and encouragement to the Amador Calaveras Consensus Group (ACCG) and later to the ABC will be sorely missed.  Thank you Teresa, and best wishes to you in your new career as Grandma.

If there is a September meeting it will be Tuesday September 4th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  Stay safe!

July, August Meetings Cancelled

Unfortunately due to covid-19 it is again necessary to cancel our meeting, this time in July, and although there is a speaker willing and able to attend a meeting in August it is unlikely that the state and county will approve such gatherings until at least September.  Therefore although we could maintain social distancing at Turtle Rock Park we have decided to also cancel the August meeting.  Many people are still nervous and others would not be allowed to attend: either by their agency or their spouse.  The ABC doesn’t have a budget that would accommodate video conferencing, and even if the ABC could do that the most productive part of the meetings is the informal back and forth between participants which is next to impossible on a video conference.

Despite the current hiatus in the ABC’s activity the ABC 501(c)(3) did receive a generous donation which was gratefully received.  The ABC 501(c)(3) has begun following up on the scoping study and is reaching out for possible developers to take on the project.

This is frustrating for all of us so thank you all for your patience.

If there is a September meeting it will be Tuesday September 1st at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  Stay safe!

June Meeting Cancelled

Unfortunately due to covid-19 it is again necessary to cancel our meeting, this time in June.  Although we could maintain social distancing at Turtle Rock Park many people are still nervous and others would not be allowed to attend: either by their agency or their spouse.  Provided we can convince a speaker to come, and meet Dr. Johnson’s (Alpine County’s Public Health Officer) requirements, I am hopeful that we can hold a meeting in July.  However it will depend on how covid-19 behaves in Alpine and surrounding counties and the Governor’s evolving Executive Orders.

The County’s Wildfire Risk Mitigation Plan has settled on three priority projects: Hot Springs Road Corridor and Markleevillage, above Upper Manzanita Lane and the Sierra Pines Trailer Park, and the west side of Bear Valley.  Details are available here.  The required environmental review for these three projects is beginning and the object is to have the three shovel ready projects by March, 2021.  There are several other areas that did not rise to the top of the priority list but the work done to date on them will help justify grant applications for these areas in the future.

If there is a July meeting it will be Tuesday July 7th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  Stay safe!