Kickoff Meeting Guest Speaker

Plans for our kickoff meeting at 6:00 pm on June 21st at Turtle Rock Park are advancing.

Jim Branham, Executive Director of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) will be our guest speaker.  He has spent more than 30 years working on natural resource and rural community issues in California.  Jim was selected as the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s first Executive Officer by the Conservancy Board in October of 2005.  As Executive Officer, he is responsible for day to day management of the organization and works closely with the Board of Directors in developing policy and program priorities.  Jim will be talking about the problems and opportunities of being a forest community, and the importance of healthy forests and watersheds.  Of all the guest speakers we considered, he has the best overall view of how improving forest and watershed help can help make our communities fire-safe and contribute to strong sustainable local economies.

The purpose of this meeting is to introduce the Alpine Biomass Committee (ABC) to the broad community and to agencies that manage the forests and water resources of Alpine County, as well as those downstream users that depend on these resources.  We will be seeking ideas and a consensus of how best to promote fire-safe communities, healthy forests and watersheds, and a strong sustainable local economy.  We also hope to broaden the ABC by attracting additional members both from the broad community as well as from the agencies that manage our forest and water resources.

Last week the ABC attended an education day for legislators in Sacramento.  The event was organized and sponsored by the Sierra Institute, and we were able to meet with eight legislators and a Deputy Legislative Secretary.  The legislators were selected because of their role in the budget process and because they represented mostly urban voters.  Although the executive branch is strongly in favor of allocating more resources towards fire safe communities, healthy forests and watersheds, and strong sustainable local economies, the legislators, while sympathetic, are not ready to promote much in the way of funding at this time.  Perhaps not surprisingly the Democrats blamed the Republicans and the Republicans blamed the Democrats!

For those of you who were not able to attend Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Tom Tinsley from CalFire gave an excellent presentation on the tree mortality which has devastated many forested areas in the southern Sierra Nevada.  Although to the untrained eye this plague has not yet reached Alpine County in a significant way, it *is* here, and by the time its presence is obvious to most of us it is too late to do much about it.  Past forest management practices and aggressive fire suppression have combined with the drought to make our forests unable to defend themselves from this plague.  Thanks to Supervisor Terry Woodrow for arranging for Tom Tinsley to give his presentation.

Promoting fire safe communities, healthy forests and watersheds, and a strong sustainable local economy.



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