October Update

Our Zoom meeting on October 6th was attended by 11 members of the public and agencies.  Dan Macon of the University of California Cooperative Extension included us in a previously scheduled webinar on targeted grazing.

Targeted grazing can be used to reduce excess vegetation, especially brush and small trees, and may be a viable alternative to mastication and other fuels reduction techniques.  The technique can also be used to remove certain invasive species.  Sheep and goats are the most common animals used, but llamas and cattle have also been used.  The type of vegetation to be removed determines which species will be preferred.  In the Sierra foothills (west side of the Sierra Nevada) cost tends to run between $350-$500/acre, and can be considerably less for multi-year contracts.  The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest already uses targeted grazing to reduce excess vegetation in some areas.

Organization Update:  David Griffith reported that the Memorandum of Agreement was complete and ready for circulation and signature.  With the current ban on indoor gatherings it will need to be circulated for signatures rather than having a dedicated signing event.  Since the meeting the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest has signed.

Participant Updates: Kimra McAfee reported that the next AWG meeting is a webinar on the West Fork Carson River Vision Projects Restoration, November 10th, 5:30-7:30 p.m.  Don Hittenmiller introduced the Pleasant Valley Project.  Challenges include fuels reduction with diverse timber and the white fir beetle.  He gave Anna Belle Monti a shout-out for walking the ground with him and for sharing her expertise.  Annie Dean thanked David Griffith for his monthly newsletters; they are especially important now to keep the community informed.  Tim Roide reported the BLM has a new district manager and field manager. Non-fire personnel are doing telework.  New treatments in Alpine County start May 8th and include Poor Boy Ridge, South of Turtle Rock Park, maintenance, and new work on 200-500 acres.  Matt Driscoll reported the SNC has opened up new grant opportunities; he will share the link.  Forest health priorities include building capacity by implementing prescribed fire, large landscape restoration, implementing projects the SNC did planning on, and underserved partners.  The SNC will be offering online grant writing workshops.  Coreen Francis has been monitoring fires in California and is alarmed by their extreme behavior.  She reiterated the importance of working to safeguard homes in Alpine County and reminded people that you can cut down trees less than 12 inches in diameter without a permit.  Matt Zumstein reported staff are working virtually; there have been no positive covid19 tests.  Of the 40 reported fire starts, 37 were put out and the Slink Fire is 90% contained.  Campgrounds are completely full and people are camping in undesignated areas.  Porta potties have been installed to reduce the risk of covid19.  Liberty Utilities and Nevada Energy have been submitting proposals for removal of vegetation, however there is a bottleneck due to archeology.  David Griffith thanked the BLM and the Forest Service for their ongoing work despite the challenges of the pandemic.  Anna Belle Monti gave Don Hittenmiller a shout-out for the Pleasant Valley fuels reduction project and will share before and after photos.  The Scott’s Lake area was closed for spraying but the project was on completed October 2nd.  500 trees were sprayed with an insecticide for beetles.  The Markleevillage project will continue this fall with units ready under contract.  There are piles to burn and 140 acres of handwork.  There is work on Pleasant Valley Road and on Hot Springs Road towards Grover’s; the CHIPS crew is hired for the latter.  There are 120 acres on Monitor Pass and 100 acres of the West Carson Project.  Christmas tree permits will be available online on November 2nd.  Rich Harvey encouraged people to visit AWG’s Hope Valley Project where a trench will re-route the West Fork of the Carson.  On October 19th, he will represent Alpine County on a conference call with Ricardo Lara, Insurance Commissioner of California, regarding new legislation for fire insurance.  Annie Dean thanked Rich Harvey for his advocacy.  David Griffith reported that there is currently no money allocated for forest health and fire prevention through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, but there may be some funding available in January.

Future Meetings:  Unfortunately there won’t be a November meeting as we have been unsuccessful in lining up a presentation.  While there are speakers interested in making a presentation in the new year, at the moment most of the ones contacted to date don’t have time this year.  Any suggestions for possible speakers are welcome.  If there will be a D

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