The June meeting was attended by 23 people in person. Since no actions were taken there will be no notes for this meeting, only this summary.
Presentations were made by Dr. Johnathan Long, an ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service, and Rhiana Jones, Environmental Program Director with the Washoe Environmental Protection Dept. on Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK) with respect to forest management. Dr. Long gave an overview on TEK throughout California and Ms. Jones discussed the historic practices of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, and their current programs.
Presentation by Rhiana Jones photo by Kimra McAfee
The differences between prescribed burning and cultural burning boil down to the purpose of the burning. The primary purpose of prescribed fire is to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire to communities and infrastructure through fuels reduction. The primary purpose of cultural fire is for the rejuvenation of land, cultural plants, and medicine, which in some ways can be considered maintaining a resilient forest. A resilient forest is one that can withstand stresses such as drought and plagues etc., and is naturally resistant to catastrophic wildfire. People have been part of the forest environment for thousands of years, whether as indigenous Native Americans, miners, loggers, or recreationists. Fire has been part of the forest environment forever, and prior to European settlement it has been estimated that on average some four million acres/year burned in California. It is not known how much of that was severe, but in acreage term it was probably greater than the amount of severe wildfire we are experiencing now, although probably less in proportion to what we are experiencing now.
Links to the meeting recording and presentations are available for approximately one month at:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1A0khCIjkChakBElK33jEUxb3lLucFF5A/view?usp=sharing (>600 MB)
Participant updates: Unfortunately, the quality of the audio recording was not good and consequently not all the updates have been completely captured. Apologies to those who whose reports are not audible.
Although there was nothing new to report on a possible biomass-to-bioenergy plant, due to numerous requests Griffith gave a summary and answered questions. From the questions it appears that there has been a great deal of misinformation or disinformation circulating in the community.
Monti (USFS) gave an update on the volunteer planting days and thanked the Alpine Trails Assoc. and Alpine Watershed Group for their help in getting ~4,000 seedlings planted. Crews will be starting work on the West Carson Project this coming week and the Monitor Pass Project the following week. In response to a question Monti reported that the seedlings would appreciate being watered and those interested in helping should contact Andy Lovell. McAfee (AWG) announced that the next AWG meeting will be a tour of the West Fork Carson River – Fuels Reduction, Aspen, and Meadow Restoration Project in partnership with the US Forest Service and National Forest Foundation on Tuesday, July 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the Hope Valley area. Details will be on AWG’s website, www.alpinewatershedgroup.org, when available. Newman (CalFire) reported that the fire season has started although at a slower rate than previous years. CalFire crews are doing defensible space inspections. Griffith reported that the Forest Service has formed the Alpine County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) and the first meeting is planned for some time in the first half of August. He also announced that Kristin York of the Sierra Business Council would be making a presentation on the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) at the June 21st Board of Supervisors’ meeting. In our Region there is $5 million available for planning and there will be $40 million available on a competitive basis for project implementation. CalREC Vision of the California Natural Resources Agency has a lot of funds available for any projects that can be tied to sustainable outdoor recreation, and the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program (RFFCP) is well funded and hopefully help our community in reducing the risk due to catastrophic wildfire.
Future Meetings: Our July 5th meeting will feature Susie Kocher of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Department who has been studying what worked and what didn’t regarding restoration after the 2007 Angora Fire in the Tahoe Basin. Please send suggestions for future speakers to dGriffith.email@example.com. Presentations need to be on topics that relate to our mission statement.