Larry Swan explaining CAL FIRE High Hazard Zones (photo by Mary Rawson)
Our meeting on 07-mar-2017 at Turtle Rock Park was well attended with 25 members of the public and agencies present in person and one more attending by phone. Thanks are due to Irene Davidson and the Carson Ranger District for the use of their conference line, and also to Chuck Leonard (the County’s IT specialist) who set up the VoIP phone for the meeting.
Larry Swan, the Forest Service Wood Utilization and Biomass Specialist for California (Region 5), gave an excellent presentation on how much biomass (wood and wood fiber) from the forest might be available in and near Alpine County, and what the economic development possibilities might be. He described potential supply, markets, and processing alternatives. Some small scale development that helps restore forest health and brings jobs to Alpine County appears to be possible. He will be updating his PowerPoint presentation and once it is available it will be on the downloads page of our blog/website. Julie Kies, the Forest Service Regional Biomass Coordinator for Region 4, attended by telephone. Thanks to Irene Davidson for arranging this meeting.
A letter was sent to the Forest Climate Action Team (FCAT) commenting on the draft Forest Carbon Plan. CalFire’s 2017-2018 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) program may have $40 million available statewide for grants. It is expected that their program may be ready to accept applications in June, and it was agreed that some areas where the Forest Service has already completed the required NEPA clearance for fuels reduction could be candidates for grant applications.
Participant updates included the following. The Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) reported that their update on the state of Sierra Nevada forests is available here. This report is well worth reading. They also reported that applications for $8.2 million of Proposition 1 grants will be available starting June 1st. Mono County’s biothermal plant in Bridgeport is now up and running successfully and an opening ceremony is being planned. The biothermal plant was supported by an SNC Proposition 84 grant. CHIPS and the Washoe Tribe have signed a partnership agreement with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit that will initially put 15 people to work starting May 1st at higher wages. The crew may be expanded up to 30 people eventually. This is a great accomplishment and Irvin Jim and Steve Wilensky are to be congratulated. CHIPS’s proposed Wilseyville biomass-to-bioenergy facility is now in the queue to supply energy to PG&E. The Nevada Division of Forestry is working with the Bureau of Land Management to investigate restarting the biomass-to-bioenergy plant at the prison in Carson City.
The next meeting is set for Tuesday April 4th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park and will feature a presentation by the Alpine Watershed Group on the Markleevillage Fuels Project. The May 2nd meeting is still being confirmed but we hope to have Craig Thomas of the Sierra Forest Legacy along with Malcolm North who wrote the Forest Service guidelines for forest management attend.
To contact us you can either leave a comment on this blog, or for a private comment, visit our contact us page.
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.