“Unifying partners to promote forest and watershed health, and local economic development” is the mission statement of the Alpine Biomass Committee (ABC). The ABC is a new collaborative group in Alpine County, California that believes that by improving forest and watershed health the risk of catastrophic wildfire can be reduced, and by using local labor to do this the local economy will benefit. The ABC received a $12,000 Capacity Building grant from the National Forest Foundation in March, 2016.
Ninety five percent of Alpine County is Federal land which is managed by four National Forests straddling two Regions, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Historically there has been little coordination between the different land managers, or between the land managers and non-government organizations such as the Alpine Watershed Group (AWG). Each organization has its own independent planning procedures that generally don’t take into consideration what the other organizations are planning. As an example the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest may have a fuels reduction project near Markleeville, the Eldorado National Forest may be doing a trails building project near Blue Lakes, the BLM may have a tree-planting project near the airport, and the AWG may have a meadow restoration project in Hope Valley. While each of these projects has merit on a local scale, to maximize the impact of the available resources it is much better for the different organizations to collaborate so that each organization’s projects compliments the other projects. That way we can have a positive impact at the watershed or landscape scale. The ABC facilitates this collaboration, which gets us closer to the first half of “Think globally, act locally.” The ABC does not plan on doing any projects for its own account, its role is to help other organizations maximize the impact of their projects.
It is also important that as much of the work as possible on these projects is done using local labor to support the local economy. Several months ago the ABC introduced the Hung-A-Lel-Ti Washoe Community to the Calaveras Healthy Impact Solutions (CHIPS) organization. CHIPS trains and hires people to do forest and watershed restoration, archeologic investigation, and shortly will be adding prescribed fire to the training program. The CHIPS-Washoe crew currently consists of 13 individuals who have primarily been working for the BLM on restoration after the Butte Fire, but has also done some small jobs for the Alpine Fire Safe Council locally. The CHIPS-Washoe crew has also been fielding inquiries as to their availability from as far south as Yosemite, and north to the Tahoe Basin. Organizations and individuals that have used their services speak very highly of them. If you need help with your defensible space or fuels reduction contact Irvin Jim at 775-400-6122.
The ABC’s monthly meetings are normally held in the evening on the first Tuesday evening of the month at Turtle Rock Park. The meetings are open to the public and usually there is a presentation by an expert on some aspect of forest and watershed health. To receive meeting notices please contact us.