Our joint meeting with the Alpine Watershed Group (AWG) on July 11th, 2017 at Turtle Rock Park was well attended with 24 members of the public and agencies present. Unfortunately, due to a large number of fires in the area Forest Service and BLM personnel were unable to attend. Gavin Feiger of the AWG stepped up to the plate at the last minute and put on a great presentation of the West Carson Project.
Updates were presented by the AWG on the Carson Water Subconservancy District’s (CWSD) Carson River Adaptive Stewardship Plan. Specific projects included American Rivers Blue Lakes Road, Log Crib Stabilization, Cut Off Protection, and the Carson Watershed Meadows Assessment. On July 26th the Carson Meadows stakeholders will be holding a meeting from 10 am to 1 pm. Contact Gavin Feiger (email@example.com) if you are interested in participating or learning more. The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Environmental Protection Agency discussed the new Vision Priority program that they will be conducting on the West Fork. They anticipate completing their assessment in 2020.
Aly Cheney completed the data summary of water quality in Alpine County that she has been working on. In addition to making the data available to the public it describes how a water body gets listed as impaired. It is presented as a monitoring story map available here.
A discussion was held on the practice of “fire borrowing” which is what happens when federal agencies such as the Forest Service and BLM spend their entire fire-fighting budget before the end of the fiscal year. Any additional funds needed for fire-fighting are taken from the agencies’ other budgets such as planning, fuels reduction and forest thinning etc. These are the very programs that reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. It was agreed to send a letter to our political masters in Washington requesting that they resolve this problem. There is a growing bi-partisan consensus on solving it, and copies of the letters are available here.
Participant updates included the following. The AWG’s Markleeville Creek Day is Sept. 9th and the Aspen Festival is Oct. 7th and 8th. The Alpine Trails Association has worked at Kurtz Lake and Thornburg Canyon and will return to work once the summer heat abates. They also reported that Kirkwood and Bear Valley are considering adding mountain biking to their activities. The Alpine Fire Safe Council is working on the Community Wildfire Protection Plan and there will be public meetings prior to its finalization.
The August meeting will be a bit different from what we have been used to. Jason Davenport, a Master Craftsworker with Mono County, will be giving a presentation on their new biothermal heating plant (or boiler) that Mono County installed to heat their public works buildings in Bridgeport. Mono County had been spending as much as $100,000/year for propane to heat the buildings. In Mono County’s case the biomass does not currently come from the forest, but is municipal wood waste that Mono County was required to divert from their waste stream.
The next meeting is set for Tuesday August 1st at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.
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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.