Beavers in the Sierra

The November meeting will feature a presentation on beavers in the Sierra by California Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) Unit Biologist Shelly Blair, a short discussion on the scoping study, a brief update on the Hot Springs Road Corridor project, and further discussion of the draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)

Beavers, c’imhélhel in the Washoe language, are a controversial subject in the Sierra.  The Forest Service and American Rivers’ project in Faith Valley has created interest in knowing more about them.  Are they a native or invasive species and does the good that they can do outweigh the damage they can cause are two of the questions to be discussed.  Please check any strongly held opinions at the door and listen to what science knows about beavers.

Shelly Blair is an Environmental Scientist (Wildlife) for the CDFW, and is currently the unit biologist for El Dorado and Alpine Counties.  She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Sciences from the California State University Chico and began working as a volunteer and scientific aid with CDFW in 1993.  She has held seasonal positions in the enforcement, education and outreach, and upland game programs, and worked in the Wildlife Investigations Lab and the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area.  Her first permanent position as a wildlife biologist was with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in 2000.  For the next five years, she was the liaison between CDFA and the US Department of Agriculture/Wildlife Services Program; dealing with statewide wildlife/ human conflict issues.  In 2006, she moved back to CDFW and led the statewide Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Program in the Wildlife Investigations Lab.   In 2010, she was hired for her current position. Her responsibilities include all wildlife management issues and projects (mainly game species) and she is land manager of all CDFW owned wildlife areas and ecological reserves in El Dorado and Alpine Counties.

The Beck Group’s study on the availability and characteristics of excess biomass from our forest that might be put to a productive use has been completed and is available here.  The study is now moving on to determine the most economically viable uses of the excess biomass.  The Hot Springs Road Corridor work group is preparing the application to CALFIRE for a Fire Prevention Grant.  Preliminary discussions with landowners have been encouraging.  Progress on the draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is waiting for the results of the Forest Service’s review.

Our November meeting is scheduled for Tuesday November 5th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.

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