November meeting summary

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Photo by Mary Rawson

Our meeting on November 5th, 2019 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 24 members of the public and agencies.  There was a presentation on beavers in the Sierra as well as updates on the Hot Springs Road Corridor project, the scoping study, and the Eastern Sierra Sustainable Recreation Partnership (ESSRP).

Shelly Blair’s presentation on beavers in the Sierra left little doubt that there were beavers in the Sierra prior to the arrival of Europeans.  But her presentation also left little doubt that beavers and humans cannot coexist peacefully in the same place.  The good that beavers can do in meadow restoration can be offset by the damage they cause when their dams affect infrastructure and private property.  Unfortunately beavers are highly mobile and tend not to stay in one place, but spread out from where we may want them to places where they cause significant damage.  They will continue to be controversial.

Organization Update:  The draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) will be reviewed by the new Carson District Ranger.  Suggestions for the new name for the collaborative received to date now include:

Alpine Forest Collaborative  (AFC).
Alpine Healthy Forest Collaborative  (AHFC).
Biomass Collaborative Committee  (BCC).
Biomass Collaborative of Alpine County  (BCAC).
Alpine Forest Health Collaborative (AFHC).

Scoping Study Update:  The biomass supply part of the study is complete and there is a sufficient sustainable biomass supply for some form of biomass conversion to electricity or heat.  The consultant is now determining what the most productive uses of that biomass are.

Hot Springs Road Corridor Update:  Preliminary discussions with major land owners continue to be encouraging.  Subsequent to the November meeting the working group will be meeting with a Registered Professional Forester and key landowners.  To date letters of support and letters of commitment are coming in as hoped.  The grant application process is on schedule and will be ready for filing prior to the Dec. 4th deadline.

ESSRP:  The public workshop to start developing criteria for project selection was held in Bishop and was well attended with approximately 100 people participating.

Participant Updates:  The Hellmans reported that they are pursuing a cost sharing arrangement with NRCS for mastication on their property.  Francis reported that the feasibility of restarting the biomass-to-bioenergy plant in Carson City was being looked at by the Nevada Division of Forestry.  She also reported that the Loyalton biomass-to-bioenergy plant was having trouble securing an adequate supply of biomass.  Francis also reported that she had attended one of the prescribed fire workshops for private landowners and that she was impressed at the quality of the workshop.  She also reminded everyone that the regional Forest Management Task Force is building a list of potential projects.  In Plumas County they have a prescribed burning club for private landowners who work cooperatively on burns.  McAfee reported that the AWG was having a presentation on invasive weeds at its meeting Tuesday Nov. 12th at 5:30 pm at the Woodfords Indian Education Center.  Harvey reported that he was pursuing a cost sharing arrangement with the NRCS for fuels reduction on his property on Poor Boy Ridge.  Roide reported that the BLM was currently scoping their proposed 1,200 acre vegetation treatment project in Alpine County.  Input on the scoping is open until Dec. 1st.  Details are available here.  Monti reported that the vegetation management project on Monitor Pass was complete, the fuels reduction project in Pleasant Valley would be complete this week, and that Christmas tree permits were now on sale.  Zumstein, the new Carson District Ranger introduced himself and gave a summary of his background and experience, and what he sees as the potential of the District.  Hames reported that the fuels reduction project by Alpine Village was underway, and that the goals of the proposed Red Flag Ordinance will be met by other means.  Griffith reported that the Forest Management Task Force was moving forward slowly and has not yet got to the point of making specific recommendations.  He also reported that pellet stoves in general do not work with portable generators so when the power goes out the heat may be gone to.  Rawson reported that the Markleeville Christmas Faire would be Nov. 23rd at the Government Center.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday December 3rd at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  The speaker will be Trina Johnson who will be giving a presentation on the National Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) programs to aid private landowners  improve forest health.  There will be no meeting in January.

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