As previously announced the April meeting is cancelled due to covid-19. As soon as it is safe to resume our meetings we will do so.
The final report for the scoping study has been released and can be downloaded from the ABC downloads page. There are two possible productive uses for the excess biomass in our forests that will help improve forest health, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, and help improve the local economy. The two productive uses are a district heating system at Kirkwood and a biomass-to-bioenergy facility to generate electricity in the Woodfords area. High Sierra Community Energy, the project consultant, is following up with the respective entities that may be interested. ABC will also be following up with possible developers, but with the current situation due to Covid-19 not much will happen in the short term. Like all similar projects the project economics depend on monetizing some of the benefits such as the reduced cost of wildfire suppression, less adverse air quality impacts due to wildfire, reduced climate change due to improved carbon sequestration in a healthier forest, and improved water quality and quantity. Its success will also depend to a large extent on the Forest Service being willing to allow for a stable supply of biomass.
The scoping study was financed by an $80,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration and a $20,000 zero percent non-recourse loan from Community Vision. Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions (CHIPS) was instrumental in helping the ABC getting the funding and acted as the fiscal agent.
Unfortunately the ABC’s application for a Fire Prevention Grant from CALFIRE for the Hot Springs Road Corridor Project was not successful. Feedback from CALFIRE indicated that the application scored in the “middle of the pack”, with no major flaws. It was difficult to compete with other projects that protected more people and structures at a lower cost/person or cost/structure.
If there is a May meeting it will be Tuesday May 5th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park. Stay safe!