DIAMOND MOUNTAIN INITIATIVE WORKING GROUP MEETING Monday, November 2, 2015

LASSEN COUNTY FIRE SAFE COUNCIL, INC. (LCFSC)
LCFSC DIAMOND MOUNTAIN INITIATIVE
WORKING GROUP MEETING

Monday, November 2, 2015
Susan River Fire Protection District
705-145 Hwy 395, Johnstonville, California

The LCFSC Diamond Mountain Initiative meeting was called to order at 5:35 pm on November 2, 2015 at the Susan River Fire Protection District Office, 705-145 Hwy 395, Johnstonville, California.  Attendees were Joyce El Kouarti, Hannah Tangeman, Hugh Parker, Don Hansen, Lorraine Forester-Hansen, Bob Andrews, Dave Junette, Mark Shaffer, Ryan Hilburn, Phil Nemir, Terri-Pearson-Ramirez, Scott Rosikewicz, Tony Shaw, Eric Ewing, Kristy Hoffman, Tom Esgate, and Cathy Dirden.

  1. Welcome and Introductions – LCFSC Managing Director Tom Esgate opened the meeting, welcoming all and asked for introductions.
    Tom stated there is another grant opportunity with National Forest Foundation; a Community Capacity grant of $24,000 due November 15th for organizations having a history of doing landscape scale watershed restoration projects with the Forest Services and other partners. Tom stated this may help with landowner sign-up and free up more money in the DMI budget for survey work.  A letter of support is required from the National Forest Supervisor to be mailed directly to Missoula, Montana.  There should be 10 grants for California and Oregon.  Tom stated Pit RCD applied 3 years in a row without success.  He is optimistic this time as we are working with the Forest on NEPA and Forest land abuts the project.

  2. WWUI Diamond Mountain Grant – Dave Junette stated he heard that “more than likely” the Diamond Mountain grant will come in and the Lookout grant will “more than likely not”.  Scott confirmed he’d received the same information.  He stated Diamond Mountain was #2 and Cambria was #1 asking for $299,000.  We asked for $300,000.

  3. SNC DM Implementation and SNC Site Visit 11/3/15 Update – Tom stated SNC will be coming for a site visit at 11:00 am tomorrow.  They discussed the road conditions due to the weather.

  4. Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) Diamond Mountain (DM) US Forest Service (FS) NEPA Grant Activities – Tom stated he expects to hear sometime in December on the grant when they do their agenda.  At that time we can see how much money we will have and move forward. Tom did get a lot of questions from SNC on the project; mostly questions on the Forest Service side, such as why working on NEPA instead of CEQA.  They discussed the differences.  Tom told SNC if the NEPA was accomplished it would work for CEQA as well.

    Update on process/pre-grant activities and Roadway Treatments
    – Terri stated the IDT team visited the site a couple weeks ago; they have new owl guidelines and will have to analyze two alternatives: the existing configuration and a conservation strategy.  More field work is needed to make the determination.  She stated, along the roads, the intent is to stay out of the owl areas but do handwork, not to disturb the canopy along the roads, ingress/egress.  They are looking at strip of 500 feet off the road for analysis purposes.  She will follow-up on with Mark’s suggestion to do mechanical short span.  She also stated there was discussion about putting in a recreational trail network, a Diamond/Honey Lake loop, and are looking at it as part of the grant.  She indicated on the map an area of “ghost roads” and stated they would like to get in touch with landowners for possible reconstruction of roads in the area to be treated.  Their team objective is to have all areas identified by February and will need a meeting in December or early January to find out from landowners what type of commitments they can get to obtaining access.  She will email a copy of the map to Tom who will distribute to the group.  If will get a shape file Karl Todd to incorporate into the map with landowners identified.  Ryan confirmed the roads are doable. Terri needs all confirmed by February to move forward with their proposal.  She will do a Doodle Poll for a date for the meeting.  Ryan would prefer doing earlier.

    Tom asked for introductions for Kristy Hoffman’s benefit. Kristy replaces Linda Hanson as the new SNC rep covering areas of Lassen, Modoc and eastern Shasta. She is based out of Quincy and will start an office there.  She gave her background and has been on board for a month. Tom brought her up to date with the DMI project. Kristy stated the SNC Grant cycles are March 1 and September 1 and March 1 again.  She will double check to confirm.

    Terri stated staff had a very positive meeting, but not being Tier I, they are still as the mercy of their other projects.  Terri stated the February deadline is to determine what additional surveys are needed.  Fuels-wise they are focusing more along the roadways as a potential for more fuels work in hand thinning.

  5. CFSC Diamond Mountain Grant – Tom stated we are closer but can’t move forward without the news on the SNC grant.  With Dave and Scott’s news being “more than likely”, we will continue our planning as if we are getting it although there are no guarantees.  Hopefully by December 11th we will know more.  Kristy said there is a SNC Board meeting the second week of December and they should be able to notify all in early December. Tom stated the sooner we know the better.
    1. Identification of Potential Properties –   Hannah stated she’d like to see as much funding go on the Forest land.  Tom stated the current SNC funding is for CEQA; the other funding two can only go on private ground; Beaty and other properties.  Hannah stated she would be interested in participating.  As soon SNC’s grant status is known we will be contacting other landowners.  
    2. Roadway treatments – Tom stated we will be looking toward Cal Fire.  Dave stated it would be a good project for early fire season in spring.

  6. Mapping Needs – Karl Todd was not available for comment.

  7. Treatment Funding Discussion – Phase III
    1. Green House Gas – Tom engaged Assemblyman Brian Dahle.  Brian stated regarding Cal Fire GHG Fuels Reduction, Cal Fire hopes to have the kinks worked out and get CARB Approved (California Air Resource Board) in the next couple weeks. Dahle says the good news is that the grants Cal Fire intended to reject have already received rejection letter.  If we haven’t heard anything so far, that should be good news.  They are working on a new program to spend that pot of money without the headaches of the past year.  They swear they will get the fuel reduction issues worked out.  Tom stated Brian said there is a big effort to pull out GHG funds for fuel reduction and put into conservation; which, Tom stated, is nuts! If we conserve overstocked land without treating the land that will ensure the land burns up.  Tom stated Brian will be pushing to change that and Tom is optimistic.  Tony stated the County asked Dahle’s office and Senator Gaines office to resubmit letters of support on the SNC project.  He said the County office received a solicitation for public comment on the SNC application for both the FS and private grants.  The County resubmitted the Board of Supervisors letter and solicited Dahle and Gaines to resubmit their letters during the Comment Phase of the process.  Don stated Cal Fire will standardize one approach to their formula so all are equal.
    2. SRA – Tom stated they flew the next SRA grants with a $100,000 max and no pre-application.  Dave Junette stated there would be $5 million available.  Dave stated that a half a million was to go to California Conservation Corp.  Dave stated they’re looking at a project in Plumas County. Tom asked if a party can go to the Corp and ask the Corp to spend money on their project. Dave asked Scott to confirm.  Tom is considering putting in a grant application for Lookout or to finish up Little Valley.  Lookout is in Modoc County.  Tom stated an SRA project on DM would probably be for Cal Fire crew work.  SRA in Little Valley would also be for hand treatments.  Dave stated he needs to look at all three to see which project would look the best.
  8. Other – Bob stated he thought Tom’s presentation at the Forest Forum was good and thanked him.

  9. Next Meeting – Tom feels the next DMI meeting should be in January as he won’t be available in December.  The next meeting is scheduled for January 4, 2016 at 5:30 pm; additionally, there will be a separate working group meeting to address the concerns discussed earlier.  Meeting adjourned at 6:27 pm.