Alpine Watershed Group to present at April meeting.

Our first meeting led by a local group will be on Tuesday April 4th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park, and will feature the Alpine Watershed Group (AWG).  The AWG will lead a group discussion of local fuels reduction projects and needs.  There will be a presentation about the Markleevillage Fuels Reduction Project, which is a 234 acre project in Pleasant Valley and Thornburg Canyon.  Funding for this project has been provided by a grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC).  The AWG, Alpine County, Alpine Fire Safe Council (AFSC) and the Carson Ranger District of the US Forest Service are partners in this project.

In addition the SNC will provide information about landscape level initiatives, including the Tahoe-Central Sierra Restoring Project, and Sierra-wide efforts like the Watershed Improvement Program (WIP).  There will also be an interactive exercise in which meeting participants will browse maps of the whole county in order to prioritize certain projects and areas of need.  This activity will provide an opportunity to discuss other fuels reduction needs in the county such as environmental planning, using the local workforce, and fuels reduction techniques.  Representatives from the Forest Service, SNC, AFSC, Alpine County, CAL FIRE, Bureau of Land Management, and other relevant agencies and landowners will share information about upcoming projects and provide input on priority-setting.  The prioritized project list created will be publicly available in order to provide guidance to groups looking to pursue fuels reduction projects in Alpine County.

Region 5 of the US Forest Service and the Sierra Institute are holding two back to back workshops in Sacramento on May 23rd and May 24th.  The theme of the first workshop is capacity building of community-based and other collaborative forest management groups in California and the theme of the second workshop is all-lands management.   The Alpine Biomass Committee can sponsor a limited number of people who would like to attend.  Details about the workshops are available here.

The April meeting is scheduled for Tuesday April 4th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.

The Alpine Biomass Committee is supported by a grant from the National Forest Foundation with funds coming from Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service.  This organization is an equal opportunity provider.

March Meeting Summary

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Larry Swan explaining CAL FIRE High Hazard Zones (photo by Mary Rawson)

Our meeting on 07-mar-2017 at Turtle Rock Park was well attended with 25 members of the public and agencies present in person and one more attending by phone.  Thanks are due to Irene Davidson and the Carson Ranger District for the use of their conference line, and also to Chuck Leonard (the County’s IT specialist) who set up the VoIP phone for the meeting.

Larry Swan, the Forest Service Wood Utilization and Biomass Specialist for California (Region 5), gave an excellent presentation on how much biomass (wood and wood fiber) from the forest might be available in and near Alpine County, and what the economic development possibilities might be.  He described potential supply, markets, and processing alternatives.  Some small scale development that helps restore forest health and brings jobs to Alpine County appears to be possible.  He will be updating his PowerPoint presentation and once it is available it will be on the downloads page of our blog/website.  Julie Kies, the Forest Service Regional Biomass Coordinator for Region 4, attended by telephone.  Thanks to Irene Davidson for arranging this meeting.

A letter was sent to the Forest Climate Action Team (FCAT) commenting on the draft Forest Carbon Plan.  CalFire’s 2017-2018 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) program may have $40 million available statewide for grants.  It is expected that their program may be ready to accept applications in June, and it was agreed that some areas where the Forest Service has already completed the required NEPA clearance for fuels reduction could be candidates for grant applications.

Participant updates included the following.  The Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) reported that their update on the state of Sierra Nevada forests is available here.  This report is well worth reading.  They also reported that applications for $8.2 million of Proposition 1 grants will be available starting June 1st.  Mono County’s biothermal plant in Bridgeport is now up and running successfully and an opening ceremony is being planned.  The biothermal plant was supported by an SNC Proposition 84 grant.  CHIPS and the Washoe Tribe have signed a partnership agreement with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit that will initially put 15 people to work starting May 1st at higher wages.  The crew may be expanded up to 30 people eventually.  This is a great accomplishment and Irvin Jim and Steve Wilensky are to be congratulated.  CHIPS’s proposed Wilseyville biomass-to-bioenergy facility is now in the queue to supply energy to PG&E.  The Nevada Division of Forestry is working with the Bureau of Land Management to investigate restarting the biomass-to-bioenergy plant at the prison in Carson City.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday April 4th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park and will feature a presentation by the Alpine Watershed Group on the Markleevillage Fuels Project.  The May 2nd meeting is still being confirmed but we hope to have Craig Thomas of the Sierra Forest Legacy along with Malcolm North who wrote the Forest Service guidelines for forest management attend.

To contact us you can either leave a comment on this blog, or for a private comment, visit our contact us page.

The Alpine Biomass Committee is supported by a grant from the National Forest Foundation with funds coming from Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service.  This organization is an equal opportunity provider.

Larry Swan of the US Forest Service to present at March meeting.

As part of the Alpine Biomass Committee’s program to educate agencies and the public on issues surrounding forest and watershed health we are pleased to announce that Larry Swan will be making a presentation at our March meeting.  We are also hoping to have Julie Kies, the USFS Regional Biomass Coordinator for Region 4, attending by telephone.  This meeting should be of particular interest to those that are interested in learning about what we might be able to do with all the excess biomass in our forests.

Larry Swan is the Forest Service Wood Utilization and Biomass Specialist for California (Region 5).   He is responsible for managing grants and agreements to improve utilization of wood and biomass, and providing technical assistance to increase utilization and retain a competitive processing infrastructure.   Larry has held a variety of positions in four different states during his 40-year career with the Forest Service.   For the last 25 years though, his work has been primarily focused on developing economic uses and markets for low-value logs, species, and forest management and manufacturing residues, and assessing public investment opportunities in forest product businesses.   Larry also regularly participates in short-term, international forestry assistance programs, mainly concerned with the interaction between forestry, and forest products utilization and marketing.   Larry is a Registered Professional Forester in California (License No. 2882).

His presentation will cover terminology, context including current status and trends for California industry infrastructure, characterization of potential Alpine County log and fiber supply, possible processing alternatives, and what is happening elsewhere with respect to wood utilization.

We will also be reviewing a proposed comment letter to the Forest Climate Action Team’s (FCAT) draft report on the California Forest Carbon Plan.

The March meeting is scheduled for Tuesday March 7th  at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.

The Alpine Biomass Committee is supported by a grant from the National Forest Foundation with funds coming from Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service.  This organization is an equal opportunity provider.

February Meeting Summary

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Considering the weather our meeting on 07-feb-2017 at Turtle Rock Park was well attended with 17 members of the public and agencies present in person and two more attending by phone.  Thanks are due to Irene Davidson and the Carson Ranger District for the use of their conference line, and also to Chuck Leonard (the County’s IT specialist) who set up the VoIP phone for the meeting.

Dr. Amy Horne gave a presentation on Saving the West.  Saving the West has been conducting research on the Sagehen Experimental Forest north of Truckee, with the purpose of trying to solve the problem of how to pay for the much needed improvement in forest health, and maximize carbon sequestration.  Their blog on the Sagehen Experimental Forest is available here.  A great description of what Saving the West is available on this news report.  A lively discussion on cross-laminated timber and other possible higher value wood products that could be produced from our forests ensued.

A six member working group has been formed to work with the Carson Ranger District on their West Carson Project.  Members include Annabelle Monti, Don Hittenmiller, Michael Barton, Irvin Jim, Gavin Feiger and Mary Rawson.  In addition to participating in the initial planning of the project they will be looking at what alternatives there may be for utilizing any excess biomass produced from the project.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday March 7th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park and will feature a mini-symposium on biomass-to-bioenergy arranged by the US Forest Service.  Larry Swan, regional wood utilization and biomass specialist with the Forest Service is expected to be one of the presenters.  With the proposed restarting of the biomass-to-bioenergy facility at the prison in Carson City this should be interesting.  The Tuesday April 4th meeting will feature a presentation by the Alpine Watershed Group on the Markleevillage Fuels Project.

To contact us you can either leave a comment on this blog, or for a private comment, visit our contact us page.

The Alpine Biomass Committee is supported by a grant from the National Forest Foundation with funds coming from Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service.  This organization is an equal opportunity provider.

Dr. Amy Horne of Saving the West to present at February meeting.

As part of the Alpine Biomass Committee’s program to educate agencies and the public on issues surrounding forest and watershed health we are pleased to announce that Dr. Amy Horne will be making a presentation at our February meeting.  Her presentation should be of particular interest to those that are interested in learning about how one organization is working to develop economic solutions to improve forest and watershed health.  Their moto: “Less Trees!  More Forests!”

Saving the West is a coalition consisting of the Center for the Study of Force Majeure, P’isew ‘Mangal, Sagehen Creek Field Station, National Forest Foundation, Shift Consulting and special advisor Amy Horne.  The supposedly intractable problems they are trying to solve are poor forest health, poor commercial value of the excess biomass in the forest, high greenhouse gas emissions and short lived air pollutants from wildfires, drought (although that problem appears to be solved at the moment), and the fragmented regulatory regime between local, state and federal governments and their multitude of agencies.  Their proposed solutions involve low impact, ecologically designed forest management projects, long-term job creation, support of a community-centric manufactured wood products industry based on renewable small-tree source materials, and the use of art to convey complicated climate change, conservation and resource management messages to a far-ranging audience.  More information on Saving the West is available here.

We will also be forming a Working Group to work with the Forest Service on their West Carson Project, and a discussion and short video on the Forest Climate Action Team’s (FCAT) draft report on the California Forest Carbon Plan.

The February meeting is scheduled for Tuesday February 1st  at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.

The Alpine Biomass Committee is supported by a grant from the National Forest Foundation with funds coming from Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service.  This organization is an equal opportunity provider.

January Meeting Summary

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Tim Roide, BLM Fire Officer photo by Annie Dean

Considering the weather our meeting on 03-jan-2017 at Turtle Rock Park was well attended with 14 members of the public and agencies present.  Those that attended are worthy of the Snowshoe Thompson and John Muir awards for defying the elements.  There was a good presentation by Tim Roide, BLM Fire Officer on the BLM’s fuels reduction projects in Alpine County and their problems and successes.  Coreen Francis, BLM Forester for Nevada and California, discussed the reforestation of the Airport Fire and the importance of getting diseased trees horizontal, ie cutting them down.  Not only does it remove a hazard, it also seems to stop the spread of the bark beetles.  Carson District Ranger Irene Davidson and gave a thorough talk on how the Forest Service manages the NEPA (National Environment Policy Act).  We learned how collaborative groups such as the ABC can actively participate, not just comment after the fact on decisions made by the Forest Service.

The USFS Carson Ranger District gave an update on the Markleeville Fuels Reduction Project.  The contractor should be moving in his equipment after these storms pass and if all goes well might be able to start work in February.  The California Air Quality Control Officers’ Assoc. has issued a policy paper on biomass-to-bioenergy which is available here.  At the moment biomass-to-bioenergy is a leading solution to solving forest health and air quality problems, but more research into future alternatives should be done.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday February 7th  at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park and will feature a presentation by Saving the West, a Truckee coalition working to create a small wood industry to restore ecological function to western forests.  There will also be a robust discussion on forming Working Groups to collaborate with the Forest Service on their West Carson project and to promote a local preference for contracting.  The March meeting is scheduled for Tuesday March 7th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park and will feature Forest Service personnel involved in developing biomass-to-bioenergy.

To contact us you can either leave a comment on this blog, or for a private comment, visit our contact us page.

The Alpine Biomass Committee is supported by a grant from the National Forest Foundation with funds coming from Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service.  This organization is an equal opportunity provider.

December meeting summary.

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December meeting

Our meeting on 06-dec-2016 at Turtle Rock Park was well attended with 22 members of the public and agencies present.  That is double the attendance last month when we had to compete with Game 6 of the World Series!  There was a good presentation by Carson District Ranger Irene Davidson and AnnaBelle Monti on the Forest Services planned West Carson project and updates on their Monitor Pass, Markleevillage Fuels Reduction and Manzanita projects.   This was followed by a well followed panel discussion on how forest collaboratives came into being, and how they have been successful in advancing both agencies’ and other organizations’ projects and priorities.  The Cornerstone Project in the Stanislaus and Eldorado National Forests was used as the type example.  Many thanks to Teresa McClung, Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit; Kendal Young, Eldorado National Forest South Fork American River Cohesive Strategy Coordinator; and Steve Wilensky, Chair of CHIPS for their presentations and answering many questions.

The Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group (ACCG) accepted the Alpine Biomass Committee’s (ABC) membership application.  Draft minutes of the meeting are posted here.

The CHIPS/Washoe Crew, Eastern Alpine Fire, Alpine Watershed Group, USFS Carson Ranger District, BLM Carson District, USFS Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, and the Alpine Fire Safe Council gave updates on their projects and activities.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday January 3rd at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park and will feature a presentation by BLM Fire Officer Tim Roide on the BLM’s plans for Alpine County.  There will also be a discussion on forming a Working Group to promote a local preference for contracting and another presentation, but at this time the speaker is not confirmed.  The February meeting is scheduled for Tuesday February 7th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park.

To contact us you can either leave a comment on this blog, or for a private comment, visit our contact us page.

The Alpine Biomass Committee is supported by a grant from the National Forest Foundation with funds coming from Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service.  This organization is an equal opportunity provider.