November 13, 2015
Although it has been slow there has been progress since the last newsletter at the end of September. We have adopted the temporary name of the Alpine Biomass Committee or ABC. A presentation about biomass-to-bioenergy and the need to do a preliminary feasibility study was made to the Alpine County Economic Development Advisory Committee. The committee is charged with advancing the Alpine County General Plan Goal No. 49, which is to diversify and strengthen the local economy in a manner consistent with sustainable environmental preservation.
Two of us have joined the Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group (ACCG) in order to learn from their experience in building community and agency support. I will be joining shortly. Initially we will probably be cooperating on their Cornerstone Project (see http://www.fs.fed.us/restoration/documents/cflrp/2014EcologicalIndicatorReports/ACCGCornerstone.pdf) which is in the upper reaches of the Mokelumne River, much of which is in Alpine County. It is planned to restore forest health to some 32,431 acres out of the 390,904 acres in the planning area over a 10 year period at an estimated cost of about $38,000,000. There could be opportunities for job training and both paid and volunteer work for Alpine residents on this project.
Annie Dean has been preparing our application to the National Forest Foundation for a $12,000 “capacity building grant”. We have received letters supporting the grant application from both the Stanislaus and Eldorado National Forests Supervisors. Because this grant is funded by Region 5 of the Forest Service we did not request support for the application from the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Supervisor as the Humboldt-Toiyabe is in Region 4. Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions (CHIPS) has been very supportive and will be acting as our fiscal sponsor for the grant. Should we be awarded the grant we will be reaching out to the community to broaden our membership and formalizing our organization from the current ad-hoc informal group that we are today. We are also continuing to research grant opportunities for funding a preliminary feasibility study for a biomass-to-bioenergy facility.
On October 30 Governor Brown proclaimed a state of emergency with respect to the effects of drought on forest health. Of the 19 orders issued in the proclamation, six were directed at encouraging biomass-to-bioenergy with the biomass to come from the forest. Hopefully the state agencies will respond with the same urgency as the Governor has.
It looks like the gremlins that affected Nancy’s and Tom’s e-mail lists have been resolved, but if you know of anyone that might like these updates and who is not receiving them please have *them* contact me at dGriffith.email@example.com and I will add them to the primary distribution list.
Promoting fire safe communities, healthy forests and watersheds, and a strong sustainable local economy.