March Meeting Summary

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Photo by Mary Rawson

Our meeting on March 3rd, 2020 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 24 members of the public and agencies.  High Sierra Community Economic Development Corporation (HSCEDC) presented the results to date of the scoping study on how best to utilize the excess biomass in our forest and improve local economic development.

The presentation was made by Meagan Hartman and Andrew Haden of HSCEDC.  There are approximately 41,000 bone dry tons (BDT)/year of excess biomass practically available on a sustainable basis.  HSCEDC considered 27 possible uses of the biomass and the uses that rose to the top were biomass-to-bioenergy, either to generate district heating or electricity.  Pro-forma financial analyses were performed for district heating at Kirkwood and a gasification facility to generate electricity along with solar panels and battery backup in the Woodfords area.  In addition to consuming a significant amount of excess biomass, this second option would also serve as a micro-grid which could supply electricity to eastern Alpine County in the event of a power failure.  As soon as the final report is received it will be posted on ABC’s download page.

The ABC approved submitting a letter of support for the Intertribal Stewardship Workforce Initiative (ISWI) efforts to require FEMA to engage tribal and local crews in forest restoration after the Camp Fire.  Almost all the funding has gone to a select group of corporations closely aligned with FEMA.

Organization Update:  A MOA signing ceremony is planned for the April meeting.  Agencies and organizations will have one representative, but individuals who belong to a particular agency or organization may also sign as individuals.  Please check with your organization or agency to determine who will be signing, or whether you need to sign as an individual.

Hot Springs Road Corridor Update:  It is expected that CALFIRE will be announcing the awards this month.

Participant Updates:  (Updates that were not related to the ABC mission statement are not included).  David Griffith reported ABC’s financial statements are complete and tax returns will be filed in the next few weeks.  CALFIRE’s programmatic EIR for fuels reduction should help fuels reduction projects move through the environmental process more quickly.  CALFIRE or CARB will have a smoke app for phones available in June.  Coreen Francis reported that the Aspen Training has been tentatively scheduled for June 8th-9th.  BLM has grant opportunities; Good Neighbor Agreements are a focus.  The link will be posted on ABC’s website.  Applications are due April 28th.  Steve Wilensky reported CHIPS has certified 20 Washoe Tribal workers for hazard tree removal.  Washoe crew members visited the Camp Fire and trained 50 people.  CHIPS has signed a power purchase agreement with PG&E.  CHIPS has been awarded $3 million for work on Highway 4 and $2.5 million for work on private lands in Calaveras and Amador Counties.  Thurman Roberts reported CHIPS is hosting a job fair on March 7th from 9:00 am- 5:00 pm at the Hung-A-Lel-Ti Tribal Gym.  30 more workers are needed.  Training will include chainsaw safety.  Greg Bennett reported training CHIPS crew members has been a fulfilling experience.  Irvin Jim (CHIPS) reported the unemployment rate at the Hung-A-Lel-Ti has dropped from 78% to 49% as a result of CHIPS.  Matt Driscoll reported SNC’s Watershed Improvement Program will be held on March 4th in Sacramento from 12:30 pm – 4:00 pm and SNC’s Board meeting is on March 5th in Sacramento.  Mo Loden reported the AWG will host a meeting to share its water quality monitoring data on March 10th at the Hung-A-Lel-Ti Education Center from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Volunteers for water monitoring are needed and there will be a refresher training at the March 10th meeting.  Mark Schwartz recommended www.purpleair.com and www.weatherunderground.com for local air quality information in real time.  David Griffith cautioned that the Purple Air units are not certified and recommended simply looking out the window to determine whether it was necessary to take precautions due to smoke.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday April 7th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.  The meeting will feature the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Agreement and presentations on prescribed and managed fire.  Presenters are Rich Adams, CA State Parks, Matt Zumstein, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, and Phil Kiddoo/Ann Logan, Great Basin Air Pollution Control District on the District’s Smoke Management Plan.

To contact us you can either leave a comment on this blog, or for a private comment, visit our contact us page.

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