Diamond Mountain Initiative Working Group Meeting, October

LASSEN COUNTY FIRE SAFE COUNCIL, INC. (LCFSC)

LCFSC DIAMOND MOUNTAIN INITIATIVE

WORKING GROUP MEETING

Monday, October 5, 2015

5:30 PM

Susan River Fire Protection District

705-145 Hwy 395, Johnstonville, California

 

The LCFSC Diamond Mountain Initiative meeting was called to order at 5:32 pm on October 5, 2015 at the Susan River Fire Protection District Office, 705-145 Hwy 395, Johnstonville, California.  Attendees were Hannah Tangeman, Don Hansen, Lorraine Forester-Hansen, Hugh Parker, Joyce El Kouarti, Karl Todd, Mark Shaffer, Bobette Jones, Dave Junette, Scott Rosikewicz, Tony Shaw, Tom Esgate, and Cathy Dirden.

 

  1. Welcome and Introductions – LCFSC Managing Director Tom Esgate opened the meeting, welcoming all and asked for introductions.
  2. Western WUI Grant Application Update – Tom hoped he’d have an announcement about the Western States Foresters ranking results.  They met last Thursday in Santa Fe where they decided their ranking for all the projects in the western United States.  John Watt/Cal Fire said he would let him know when the Calfire representative to the group got back.  Scott Rosikewicz said he didn’t hear anything.
  3. Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) Diamond Mountain (DM) US Forest Service (FS) NEPA process/pre grant activities – Update on process/pre-grant activities:  Tom stated the application passed the Administrative Review and has moved on to the Technical Review.  Bobette stated the Interdisciplinary (IDT) Team is meeting October 14th to review the project area and she did invite the new FMO and he is planning to review the site.  She stated she shared the application with everyone on the team including the Ranger and Dave Hays.  Tom stated in a couple months we will hear if selected.  Two SNC meeting dates were offered, January and March.  Tom hears they are on a fast track and may have the meeting in January which would work out very well for us. Tom asked the status of the surveys.  Bobette stated by February they are hoping to have all treatment areas identified, then they will know what surveys need to be completed and can start working on them.  Bobette said this is all they can do right now, once they have the (IDT) meeting they will know exactly who needs to do what before the snow flies.  Tom asked if it’s an issue not being a Category I.  Bobette stated everyone still says they can complete the surveys they’ve already identified.  She stated there is a new conservation strategy coming out putting a damper on some of the areas they wanted to treat.  They will require more thorough stand exams to know what the existing condition is and if it qualifies as spotted owl habitat.  Her crews are up there now taking canopy data.  There are a lot of spotted owls.  If they are in the 50% or greater canopy cover, they are not allowed to treat it; although they can treat surface and ladder fuels.  She has asked the RO if it’s in the 40% range and in the WUI are they still able treat it.  The group discussed how the canopy is determined. Bobette stated there will be some modifications to their plans.  They have about 2000 acres identified for mechanical treatment; adding the aspen and hand treatment, it’s about 20%.  Aspen can be treated although those with arboglyphs are protected.  Tom stated if we get $500,000 from SNC we can do hand treatments which will help with the fuel loads.  Bobette stated prescribed burning could be used but with the fuel loads they won’t risk it.
  4. SNC DM Implementation Update – Beaty & Associates has missed a couple meetings.  Tom stated there was a hiccup on the Beaty; their Tenure Agreement was insufficient because they want 25 years of access for monitoring.  The application statement of year-to-year licensing was not adequate.  SNC gave Tom an opportunity to fix it; he worked it through with Bob Rinearson/Beaty’s legal rep.  Tom was able to get this cleared in about 36 hours.  It has since moved on to the Technical review phase.  When we receive the grant award, LCFSC will have 90 days to get the tenure agreement executed.  This will requires Beaty going to the Red River folks to get their approval.  A meeting is set for February and he anticipates getting an award before then.  We are using Beaty’s Timber Harvest Plan (THP).  Once we are able to do Beaty property we will go from there outward to other property owners.  Tom stated there are 900 – 1200 acres on Beaty land which will be quite a bit of mechanical work and some mastication.  We can only use SNC funds on Beaty property as it’s the only area that has CEQA clearance in advance.  Hannah stated there were other properties having TMPs; Tom stated the issue is that they were not submitted to SNC.  To make it simple for SNC we identified on only one property.
  5. CFSC Diamond Mountain Grant – Identification of potential properties.  Tom stated the adjacent properties with clearances can follow but it will be reviewed by CFSC since CFSC administers the other two grants.  If we don’t have clearance, we can get it since we identified a huge footprint of 6 – 8 sections of land giving flexibility in finding landowners that want to participate.  For the properties that don’t have clearances we may have to get the biological/archeological/botanical surveys completed for CFSC to review and approve.  Tom stated we will put together a list of potential property owners.Roadway treatments – Bobette stated they will be treating along major roadways, looking at ingress/egress and turnouts; initially they went with 30’ on each side but their field person wants to go up to 100’. That may vary on steep ground and they will analyze the areas working on visibility and ladder fuels.  She stated the County roads need some work; Tony Shaw stated he will get a County contact for her.  Tom said, speaking for those present, they want to go as wide as possible on the roads.  He wants the message to be taken back to the FS; and he does not want treatment cost to be a limiting factor for the FS. We will be receiving funds through our collaborative effort and will be willing to pay for the higher costs for treatments.  Bobette said the concern is not the funds, it’s the ability to get all the surveys on the acreage completed by the time they go into the planning phase.  The archeological surveys are completed for the mechanical, hand units and aspen.  She will check if they are restricted along the roads if in an area where they have to maintain the canopy.  The group discussed where the priority should be first, on the down slope or up slope.  It’s based on the wind.
  6. Mapping needs – Karl built a parcel map with property owner names.
  7. Treatment Funding Discussion – Phase II
    Green House Gas – Scott Rosikewicz stated the urban forestry info has been released and they’re holding back on the fuel treatment awards.  Dave Junette stated they are held up on agreeing on the formula (ARB) to prove how much greenhouse gas is actually being reduced.  It was to be a June decision and it’s now October.SRA Funds – Dave stated there will be $5 million in SRA funding for the next round.  The group discussed the Sacramento Bee article on the SRA funds.  Dave said the Jarvis lawsuit is not settled.
  8. Other – Tom received information on another grant opportunity, the National Forest Foundation has Community Capacity Landscape Stewardship Program of $24,000 designed to be given to organizations to increase their capacity to do work adjacent to Forest Service lands on collaborative projects.  It fits in perfectly with the DMI.  He feels if we get the funding it would allow us to free up some Admin money out of the SNC to put in more surveys.  An application was submitted in the past but wasn’t funded.  We have a strong chance of getting this with the DMI project.  It requires a letter from the Forest Supervisor supporting the project.  Tom is working on a draft and will be attending a webinar.  He feels it’s a great opportunity and has the potential to free up money.Mark Shaffer stated Honey Lake Power is having an open house for National Biomass Day on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm.  Anyone interested should R.S.V.P to 254-6161.
  9. Next Meeting – The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 2, 2015 at 5:30 pm.  Meeting adjourned at 6:31 pm.