Tamarack Fire Restoration 2 Meeting Summary


Photo by Mary Rawson

The November meeting was well attended with 34 people signing in, a few that did not sign in, and five people attending via Zoom.  Since no actions were taken there will be no notes for this meeting, only this summary.

The first presentation was by Danny Cluck on predicting mortality of fire-injured trees and patterns of post-fire bark and woodboring beetle activity.  Cluck is an Entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service Forest Health Protection department for the Northeastern California Shared Service Area.  He was followed by Anna Belle Monti’s presentation on the Forest Service’s planned Tamarack Fire Restoration.  Monti is the Forester for the Sierra Zone of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.  In addition Andy Lovell of the Alpine Trails Assoc. talked about a possible project to start a tree nursery in Alpine County.  At the moment it would be a heavy lift for the non-profit organizations in the County, but there is considerable interest in seeing if this idea can be advanced.

Cluck’s presentation was an excellent tutorial on how to differentiate dead and dying trees from those that may survive.  His presentation can be found here, and Monti’s presentation can be found here.  The Forest Service’s Marking Guidelines for Fire-Injured Trees in California can be found here.  Based on the questions the topic was of great interest and we all learned a lot.  Cluck has made other publications on bark beetles and survivability of fire-damaged trees available, so if you are interested let me know and I will forward them to you.

Participant updates:  Don Hittenmiller congratulated Tim Roide on his over 20 year service with the BLM and thanked him for all his work in Alpine County.  There was a hefty round of applause for Tim who is retiring at the end of the year.  Matt Driscoll of the SNC reported that the SNC is working on guidelines for the next round of grant applications which should come out in January and it is expected to have a short application window.  There may be up to $10 million for wildfire recovery funding.  Annie Dean expressed her appreciation for all the work everyone has been doing.  Andy Lovell reported that the Alpine Trails Assoc. is recruiting volunteers and encouraged all to join.  Brian Newman reported that CalFire’s Forest Improvement Program is accepting applications from private land owners.  He also reported that CalFire crews are helping clean up Grovers Hot Springs after the Tamarack Fire.  Kimra McAfee of the Alpine Watershed Group reported that they have a new half-time Americorps intern and they need a place for them to stay, either here or in Lake Tahoe.  Tim Roide reported that they completed 11 acres of fuels reduction along Foothill Rd. and that the Tamarack Fire took care of other fuels reduction projects they had planned for Alpine County.  Matt Croswait reported that he will be taking over Tim Roide’s responsibilities as Tim retires.  Trina Johnson reported that NRCS was available to help private land owners, but that there was a Dec. 18th application deadline.  Rich Harvey reported that he had received a grant from NRCS and that Trina had made the application process easy.  Anna Belle Monti stressed that she would be reaching out to the community for suggestions as the restoration planning process continues.  Monti hoped to have the NEPA process for the initial restoration completed June, 2022.   She also announced that Christmas tree permits would be available in Alpine County at the Chamber of Commerce and Wylder’s Resort as well as at www.recreation.gov.  David Griffith reported that the Eastern Sierra Sustainable Recreation Partnership (ESSRP) has applied for funding for the Connected Communities Program which would be for a trail system from the Tahoe Basin to Inyo County, is looking at possible grant funding for upgrading kiosks and informational signs along US 395 and Hwy 89 from Inyo County to the Tahoe Basin, and is seeking funding for the Camp Like a Pro program to deal with dispersed camping.  He also reported that the Kirkwood District Heating System powered by biomass project has had a second look from an engineer funded by the Sierra Institute.  The SNC has indicated they would like to see a concept proposal for a feasibility study.  If the Kirkwood Meadows PUD and Vail Resorts are interested the ABC will be filing an application.  At the TuCARE Summit Randy Moore, Chief Forester for the U.S. Forest Service, stated that small fuels reduction projects did not significantly reduce the risk due to catastrophic wildfire, and the Forest Service priority will be on landscape scale fuels reduction projects.

Future Meetings:  The December meeting will feature Coreen Francis, the BLM State Forester for both Nevada and California presenting the BLM’s program for restoration of the Tamarack Fire.  Assuming that there is no covid explosion the December meeting will be at the Turtle Rock Park Community Center at 6:00 pm on Tuesday Dec. 7th.  Masks or face shields will be required and we will need to maintain social distancing.  If there is a covid explosion the meeting will be on Zoom.  There will be no meeting in January, but the February meeting will feature Michelle Coppoletta, an Ecologist with the Forest Service who will be making a presentation on her recent paper with Dr. Brandon Collins on post-fire management of vegetation and fuels.  She comes highly recommended.

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