Our meeting on October 1st 2019 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 14 members of the public and agencies. Updates were presented on the Hot Springs Road Corridor project and the scoping study, and there was a presentation and discussion about the Eastern Sierra Sustainable Recreation Partnership (ESSRP).
Organization Update: The draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) has been revised as requested by the Forest Service, but we are still waiting on their response to the proposed revisions. Suggestions for the new name for the collaborative received to date include:
Alpine Forest Collaborative (AFC).
Alpine Healthy Forest Collaborative (AHFC).
Biomass Collaborative Committee (BCC).
Biomass Collaborative of Alpine County (BCAC).
Scoping Study Update: The revised report on sustainable biomass supply is almost complete and it should be available by the next meeting. We are about a month behind and so the scoping study final report likely will not be complete until February.
Hot Springs Road Corridor Update: Preliminary discussions with major land owners are encouraging. Subsequent to the October meeting CALFIRE held their first tutorial on the grant application process. The process is more straight forward this year and the ABC should be able to put together a competitive grant application for this project.
ESSRP: Matt Driscoll of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy gave an excellent presentation on the ESSRP, which the County has voted to join. This is a partnership that involves the Inyo and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests, Mono County, and the Town of Mammoth Lakes. The City of Bishop has also voted to join, and it is anticipated that Inyo County will vote to join next week. More information can be found at www.essrp.org. The first planning meeting was held in September and was attended by Mark Schwartz of the Chamber of Commerce who gave an enthusiastic report of his impression. The next planning meeting is Oct. 17th at 5:00 pm in Bishop and it is anticipated that there will be several people from Alpine County attending. For carpooling information please contact dGriffith.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participant Updates: Rich Harvey reported that the Alpine Watershed Group is hiring a full-time Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator. Mark Schwartz reported that Kris Hartnett and Lloyd Van Doren were elected to serve with him on the Markleeville Water Company Board. Mary Young is President and Steve Hibbs is Vice-President. Mark Schwartz also reported that the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce Board is planning the 40th Death Ride Anniversary. The Board is restructuring how the Chamber functions. He also reported that the Markleeville Enhancement Club has funding to build kiosks which would be situated throughout the community. The kiosks would be used for public announcements and to supply resources to support local businesses and clubs. A prototype of the kiosk will be located on the Schwartz’s property. Kris Hartnett reported that Liberty Utilities is doing a great job removing trees they marked in July on both sides of Hot Springs Road; they started September 30th and should be done next week. They are working between Pleasant Valley Road and the Hittenmiller’s property, 200 Hot Springs Road. The trees are being cut into 4-6 feet lengths and will be free to the community. Kris Hartnett reported that the Alpine Fire Safe Council is looking into adopting a fire zone, color-coded mapping system which has been used successfully in Mariposa County. He also reported that there has been an uptick in reflective signs for first responders; he advocated for continued outreach and education so the community does not become complacent about future fire danger. The ABC thanked Kris for his work with Liberty Utilities and CHIPS. Trina Johnson reported the NRCS has begun 2020 planning for private landowners with funding from the USDA Farm Bill. She invited the ABC and other local groups to consider hosting local area workgroup meetings which would help the NRCS to prioritize and rank Alpine County’s resource needs. She will discuss this opportunity at the December meeting. Tim Roide reported that the BLM Hot Shot Crew has been reduced to minimal staffing now that the fire season is coming to an end. The Alpine Fuels Treatment Program scoping letter should be ready by the end of October 2019; planning will take roughly eight months and treatment may start in a year. Ron Hames reported that the first hearing for the Red Flag Ordinance was postponed. Some progress has been made; there are issues about who determines that there is a warning and where it is located. He advocated for continuing to educate the public on red flag warnings and the possibility of using physical banners to identify risk areas. Matt Driscoll invited the ABC to reach out to him and to Elissa Brown at the SNC to provide feedback on CALFIRE grant application and for letters of support. David Griffith reported that the CALFIRE Fire Prevention Grant applications are due December 4th; the CCI Forest Health Grants are due December 6th. He also reported that U.S. Fish and Wildlife has reopened public comment on the Bi-State Sage Grouse; comments are due by October 30th. David Griffith reported that he participated in a tour of the Leviathan Mine with the California State Water Resources Control Board and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board; the earliest the Superfund Site will be fixed is 2025. There will be a public tour of the mine on October 15th, and a second tour on October 24th; anyone interested in attending can contact him at dGriffith.email@example.com for more information.
The next meeting is set for Tuesday November 5th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park. The speaker will be Shelly Blair of the California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife who will be giving a scientific presentation on beavers in the Sierra. There will also be a further review and hopefully final agreement on the proposed Memorandum of Agreement for the ABC.
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