Our kickoff meeting on Tuesday June 21st was a great success. There were about 60 attendees including Forest Supervisors from two National Forests, the Field Manager for the BLM, District Rangers from two National Forests, all five Alpine County Supervisors, and representatives from several other agencies that manage and regulate our forests and watersheds. In addition there were a number of Alpine County residents including the CHIPS-Washoe Tribe crew that have been working on restoration of the Butte Fire.
Jim Branham, the Executive Director for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy gave a presentation and update on the state of the Sierra Nevada’s forests. The forests have suffered mightily from the drought and associated beetle kill epidemic. The latest estimate of beetle kill was just released by the US Forest Service and tallied about 66 million dead trees in the Sierras with the epidemic moving north to as far as Placer County. So far in Alpine County there are only a few pockets of dead trees where the tree mortality exceeds the background of 0 – 5 dead trees per acre, but the epidemic is moving in our direction.
Steve Wilensky from CHIPS (Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions) and the Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group (ACCG) gave a presentation on the history of CHIPS and the ACCG as an example of what the community and the agencies that manage and regulate our forests and watersheds can accomplish.
There was broad consensus that:
- Our efforts to create a collaborative group to promote fire-safe communities, healthy forests and watersheds, and a strong local economy are worthwhile.
- A collaborative group with members of the community and agency representatives makes sense as a means to continue.
- Most of those present are willing to participate.
The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday July 26th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park. A complete agenda will be prepared prior to the meeting, but the focus of the meeting will be to set up the structure of the organization going forward and perhaps a better name. Suggestions for a better name are already trickling in. It is likely that we won’t be able to finish agreeing on the structure in one meeting.
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The Alpine Biomass Committee is 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.