July Meeting Summary

Our meeting on July 3rd, 2017 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 16 members of the public and agencies.

Dr.Hugh Safford, Regional Ecologist for the USDA-Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region gave a provocative and entertaining presentation titled Fear and loathing in the Sierra Nevada: confronting a wicked problem.  Like many of our previous speakers, Dr. Safford laid out a convincing case that if we want to continue to have our forests and the benefits they provide, we must invest in restoring their health.  One of the key benefits of course is the quality and to some extent the quantity of water that we all depend on.  Dr. Safford’s latest publication can be accessed here.

The application for an $80,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has been submitted and is undergoing an expedited review.  Hopefully there will be a favorable decision in the next couple of months.  The grant, together with the $20,000 0% interest forgivable loan will be used to conduct a “feasibility study” on how best to reduce the excess biomass in our forests and improve the local economy.  Applying for this grant would not be possible without the support of CHIPS which is the fiscal agent.

A discussion was held on how best to improve the County Board of Supervisors’ and staff’s understanding of what the Alpine Biomass Collaborative (ABC) is and what its goals are was discussed.  It was agreed to put an item on the next agenda to decide how best to proceed.

Participant updates included the following.  Matt Driscoll, SNC, reported that pre-applications for the Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 grant program are due July 25th and final applications are due October 1st.  Elissa Brown plans to offer a grant writing workshop in the fall.  Marina Vance, AWG, reported that the Markleevillage Fuels Reduction Project is complete.  She thanked the ABC for sponsoring her to attend the SCALE conference.  Ron Hames reported that the Community Wildfire Protection Plan is available online.  Mark Schwartz reported that the refurbished of welcoming signs to Markleeville will be finished soon.  Thanks to efforts by Mary Rawson the Markleeville Enhancement Club received $3,400 in contributions and a Frontier money grant from the County.  David Griffith reported that he attended a meeting on climate adaptation and funding sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.  Current calculations by CalEnviroScreen eliminate rural counties from the needs list, however the Office of Emergency Services does have mitigating funding for fuels reduction available for public and private lands.  The ABC and others can apply for these funds once the County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan is approved, which could happen as early as August 7th.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday August 7th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  Ali Ursa, a PhD candidate at the University of Nevada, Reno will be addressing us in August.  Dr. Wesley Kilasten of the US Geologic Survey will be presenting his research on meadow restoration and water supply in the Carson River basin in September.  In October Steve Frisch and Chris Mertens of the Sierra Business Council will be making a presentation on the Loyalton biomass-to-bioenergy facility in Sierra County.

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