February Meeting Summary

The February meeting was well attended with 24 people attending via Zoom.  Since no actions were taken there will be no notes for this meeting, only this summary.

The presentation was by Michelle Coppoletta, an Ecologist with the Forest Service’s Sierra Cascade Province.  Her presentation was on the influence of post-fire vegetation and fuels on fire severity patterns in reburns and Implications for restoration.  In a nutshell where there is high-severity burning in one wildfire it is likely that the next wildfire in the area will have high-severity burning in roughly the same places.  Her research dovetails with that of Meg Krawchuk last may who showed us that refugia after multiple wildfires tended to reoccur in the same places.

Pages from ABC_ReburnSeverity_Coppoletta_PDF

The recording of Michelle Coppoletta’s presentation is available here for one month.  References that may be of interested for those looking for more detail include:

  • Safford, Hugh D.; Stevens, Jens T. 2017. Natural range of variation for yellow pine and mixed-conifer forests in the Sierra Nevada, southern Cascades, and Modoc and Inyo National Forests, California, USA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-256. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 229 p. (https://doi.org/10.2737/PSW-GTR-256)
  • Meyer, Marc D.; North, Malcolm P. 2019. Natural range of variation of red fir and subalpine forests in the Sierra Nevada bioregion. Gen Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-263. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 135 p.(https://doi.org/10.2737/PSW-GTR-263)
  • Our Ecology program website (https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r5/plants-animals/?cid=stelprdb5434436) also has some additional assessments that we completed for the Sierra Nevada – i.e., aspen, chaparral, sagebrush, and meadows.
  • Malcolm P. North, Ryan E. Tompkins, Alexis A. Bernal, Brandon M. Collins, Scott L. Stephens, Robert A. York.  Operational resilience in western US frequent-fire forests.  Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 507.   Contact dGriffith.9@gmail.com for a copy.

Participant updates:  Coreen Francis of the BLM reported that they hope to set up climate plots to see how various reforestation techniques fair in a changing climate.  Anna Belle Monti of the Forest Service reported State and Private Forestry had granted the County $1.815 million for restoration of the Tamarack Fire, Grovers Hot Springs $15,000 and the Washoe Tribe $150,000 for a nursery.  The Forest Service will be holding a public meeting for pre-scoping the Tamarack Fire restoration.  Matt Croswait of the BLM reported that they have 40-50,000 lb. of seed ready to be spread by helicopter over parts of the Tamarack Fire as soon as they finalize the helicopter contract.  Jessica Gwerder of the NRCS reported that the original applicants for assistance have all been accepted into the Tamarack Fire fund pool.  More funding opportunities are coming up and property owners should contact her to get on the list.  Kim Dow of the BLM reported that planning for the boundary fence around Indian Creek Reservoir is moving ahead.  Kimra McAfee of the Alpine Watershed Group announced that their next meeting will be March 8th and will be on the West Fork Carson Vision Project with respect to ranching.  Matt Driscoll of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy announced that the Eastern Sierra Sustainable Recreation Partnership’s (ESSRP) Town to Trails project will be going before their Board at the March meeting.  The ESSRP’s Camp Like a Pro project will hopefully go before their Board at the June meeting.  Shane Romsos of South Tahoe Public Utility District (STPUD) announced that STPUD was having their first public meeting on their Recycled Water Strategic Plan on Tuesday March 8th between 4 & 5 pm.  More information is here.  Trevor Seck of the National Forest Foundation is seeking funding for seasonal recreation staffing for the northern portion of the Carson Ranger District.  Should this be successful they intend to expand it to lands in Alpine County.  David Griffith reported that the community had lost Mike Gard who recently passed away.  When the volunteer fire department was collapsing some 20 years ago Mike was one of the people that stepped up to reconstitute it and has continually supported it.  He will be sorely missed.  CalFire’s Business Development Program has up to $1 million dollar grants to start a tree nursery or seed gathering business.  Contact him for details.  VP Harris on her visit to California announced the award of $600 million to Region 5 of the Forest Service for restoration type activities on past wildfires in California including the Tamarack Fire that is in Region 4.  Hopefully the Humboldt-Toiyabe will aggressively pursue this large pot of money.  The Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force is moving rapidly to implement California’s Action Plan to reduce our vulnerability to wildfire.  The ESSRP’s Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway project is on hold for lack of a sponsor and likely grant funding so Alpine County will need to proceed on its own to upgrade the Hwy. 89 California Scenic Highway to a National Scenic Byway.  An exploratory meeting was held with Liberty Utilities and the Tahoe Fund to measure interest in pursuing a biomass-to-bioenergy facility in the Woodfords area.

Deep enough!

Future Meetings:  The March meeting will feature Jim McDougald, Home Hardening Program Division Chief with the Wildfire Prevention Engineering section of the Office of the State Fire Marshal.  His presentation will be on home, parcel, and community hardening and the new CalFire and CalOES program to help fund this work.  The primary reason more homes were not lost in the Tamarack Fire was due to suppression resources being present.  Next time we may not be so lucky and our homes may need to survive on their own.

Assuming that there is no covid explosion the March meeting will be at the Turtle Rock Park Community Center at 6:00 pm on Tuesday Mar. 1st.  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.

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