We are holding our kickoff public meeting this Tuesday June 21st at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park in Alpine County. There will be some sandwiches and desserts for those that are hungry.
The guest speaker will be Jim Branham, Executive Director of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. The Sierra Nevada Conservancy is a strong advocate for healthy forests, and how a healthy forest can reduce the risk of catastrophic wildland fires, improve water quality, sequester carbon to ameliorate climate change, and contribute to a sustainable local economy. Insects such as the pine beetle have been taking advantage of drought-weakened trees and it is estimated that there already are about 40 million dead trees in California. Some areas have suffered up to 85% mortality. So far most of these dead trees are in the southern Sierra Nevada, but the plague has been moving north and is expected to reach our region in a year or two.
As an example of how we can work together to improve forest health and have a sustainable local economy the Washoe Tribe and Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions (CHIPS) have come together and hired ten local residents (pictured above) that are currently working for the BLM on projects related to restoration of last year’s devastating Butte Fire. Steve Wilensky, Chair of the CHIPS Governing Board and a founding member of both the Foothill Conservancy and the Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group will be talking about how their community and the agencies that manage the forest and water in their community were able to cooperate for the benefit of both.
Although this is a community meeting, representatives from many of the agencies that manage our forests and watersheds will be present. We are actively soliciting interested members of the community to join us at this meeting and work to improve and preserve the health of our forests. Restoring our forests and watersheds is the rightful role of the people who live here. This can only be accomplished with a high level of civic engagement. Your participation is crucial to any success we might achieve.
What can we accomplish? The Cornerstone Project in the upper Mokelumne River watershed is an example of what can be done when the community joins with the agencies to improve forest and watershed health. The Cornerstone Project is a Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program project that addresses landscape restoration over ten years on 390,900 acres of forest. Most of the work will be performed by local contractors helping to sustain the local economy.
The Alpine Biomass Committee and this meeting are supported by a grant from the National Forest Foundation with funds coming from Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service. This organization is an equal opportunity provider.