September 3, 2015
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) is in the process of updating their Strategic Plan for the next three years. Both the Alpine County Board of Supervisors and the Alpine Fire Safe Council have suggested some modifications to the draft that should keep biomass-to-bioenergy facilities on the list of positive things we can do to improve forest and watershed health. The basic argument is that neither the SNC nor the Forest Service have adequate funding to restore forest health, and the taxpayers are unlikely to provide it in the future. Biomass-to-bioenergy could pay for some of the cost to restore our forest’s health.
Congressman McClintock’s office organized a meeting with the Humboldt-Toiyabe Forest Supervisor, Carson District Ranger, SNC and us to discuss biomass availability. Two members of Congressman McClintock’s office attended as well. The meeting went well, although we did learn that it is unlikely that the Humboldt-Toiyabe will be able to supply on its own a sufficient amount of biomass on a sustainable basis for the facility. We are looking into other potential sources of biomass from the forest. The Humboldt-Toiyabe is supportive of us completing the preliminary feasibility study, which is an important advance even if they don’t have enough biomass available. We would not have done as well if it were not for the support of both Congressman McClintock’s office and the SNC. If you see them, please thank them.
We visited with Steve Wilensky, Chair of the CHIPS project in Calaveras County and founder of the Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group. See https://acconsensus.wordpress.com/ and http://www.sierranevadaconservancy.ca.gov/docs/SNC070157.pdf. The purpose of the trip was to learn more about what worked for them. The problems they faced some 11 years ago when they started were much worse than ours and their progress in improving society, the environment and the economy is impressive. Their fuels reduction and forest thinning projects have markedly reduced the hazard due to wildland fire, provided jobs for local residents, and reduced drug abuse and the associated crime rate. They are in the process of negotiating an agreement with PG&E to sell electricity from a yet to be built biomass-to-bioenergy facility. While it doesn’t make sense at this point for us to join the Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group as an organization, at least two of us will probably join as individuals.
Over the next couple of months we are scheduled to make presentations before the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce, Carson Water Sub Conservancy and the Great Basin Air Pollution Control District. In addition we will be pursuing additional sources for woody biomass that could be made available to feed the proposed facility.
It has come to my attention that some of you may not have received all of these updates. These updates are sent to a primary mailing list, and one of the recipients is Nancy Thornburg who forwards them to her list of subscribers, one of which is Tom Sweeney, who in turn forwards them to his list of subscribers. Sometimes gremlins intervene and the chain gets broken. If you wish to be on the primary mailing list please send me an e-mail. Your name and e-mail address won’t be sold or given away and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Promoting fire safe communities, healthy forests and watersheds, and a strong sustainable local economy.