LASSEN COUNTY FIRE SAFE COUNCIL, INC. (LCFSC)
LCFSC DIAMOND MOUNTAIN INITIATIVE WORKING GROUP MEETING
Monday, August 3, 2015
Susan River Fire Protection District
705-145 Hwy 395, Johnstonville, California
The LCFSC Diamond Mountain Initiative meeting was called to order at 5:3 pm on August 3, 2015 at the Susan River Fire Protection District Office, 705-145 Hwy 395, Johnstonville, California. Attendees were Phil Nemir, Hannah Tangeman, Bob Andrews, Don Hansen, Lorraine Forester-Hansen, Ryan Hilburn, Terre Pearson-Ramirez, Bobette Jones, Susan Wilcox, Carol Keefer, Tony Shaw, Lloyd Keefer, Tom Esgate, and Cathy Dirden.
- Welcome and Introductions: LCFSC Managing Director Tom Esgate opened the meeting and welcomed all.
- Diamond Mountain Grant
Tom submitted the CFSC WWUI grant application for $260,000/$300,000 match. The Environmental clearances surveys need not be done in advance of the application. The work will be done on Beaty ground. He stated he spent a significant amount of time on the grants to ensure the 45 required points were covered. Tom completed the Draft SNC application with the goal to hand deliver to SNC on Wednesday afternoon; both this and the Forest NEPA/CEQA planning grant. The Beaty ground already has CEQA. Tom sent a draft budget to the Forest showing that more funds are needed. Tom stated having a USFS contribution makes it a more powerful grant. He learned it was fairly easy to request contribution on collaborative projects. In the grant application budget he shows $125,000; he explained it was because we’d like to receive a $50,000 USFS contribution. This is timely as the Forest Regional Office is developing their budgets at this time. Our budget will not cover all the specialized surveys required. Tom discussed the need to have enough extra funding to complete all surveys. Bobette stated she’d asked the specialists in the Forest to complete their surveys by 2016; the only survey gaps at this time appear to be the aquatics and soils. They are using all their staff to complete the others; every other discipline may be covered. Tom feels more is needed as the expected amount is over budget by $20,000 as a cushion as there may be other unforeseen needs. The status of surveys and completing within the time frame is based on the Forest coming together. Tony Shaw stated the priorities for the 2014/15 Forest last year were the fire salvage and the Stewardship dollars; and Mr. Hays told the BOS that fire fuels, travel management and transportation were the priorities from the Regional Office. Tom stated other Forests are able to seize on the collaborative projects and get USFS collaborative funding. He feels the 1000 signature petition by the public shows the importance of the project; the challenge is not having the Forest Supervisor make this a Tier I Priority. Tom referenced the letter to the Forest Supervisor from the Board of Supervisors (BOS) identifying their 2015 priorities. The public is really concerned about their community and watershed as seen by the petition and Tom understands the decision comes down from the Forest Regional Office. Bob Andrews asked how to publicize the BOS letter. After discussion it was agreed that Cathy would have it posted to the website and request the Lassen Times place it in the newspaper.
- USFS NEPA Timelines – Bobette had good news, the Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) said they can get surveys done except the few identified barring any catastrophic events. Tom stated there is a discrepancy, the published SNC Guidelines show funding opportunities in March 2017 for implementation funds; Lynn/SNC feels this is vague and there will be more later on. Tom stated he is going with their published guidelines. He stated the project has evolved into more than just completing NEPA. He didn’t see any planning project on the SNC website where NEPA/CEQA were deliverables, stating Bob Kingman/SNC felt we can’t hold the Forest to completing NEPA, what we could do is write a grant as assistance to USFS and the product of work will help accomplish NEPA, but not as a deliverable of the grant application. Tom stated there is no penalty to over achieve/getting it done so we can apply for 2017 funds. It’s now a more flexible document although no work can get done until the NEPA is complete. But, based on the climate Tom hopes it will happen, it will get funded, and we’ll have community support to move it forward. Bobette stated FS staff want to move forward and the Forest Ranger is making it the District’s priority. Tom wants it to be filed and funded by March 2017. Bobette stated when it goes out for NEPA scoping a lot will be decided on what the results are and it may be bumped to an EIS which will take more time. Tom agreed and stated the SNC can’t be the lead for EIS. Terri stated when scoping, it will be done for a much larger area and needs to include a full blown economic write-up including implications; and the more public support the better. As well, having the economic background done in case it goes to court. Tom will file the pre-application on Wednesday; this will give the project a more formal status with SNC and makes it a better project. Tom will meet with Forest Supervisor Hays tomorrow and requested Bobette review the pre-application prior to his meeting with Hays.Tom stated he’s doing a companion project on Beaty land, will discuss with Ryan it in detail and get his blessing before finalizing. It’s similar to the USFS ground that needs to be thinned, utilizing the same assessment and similarities as the SNC grant. They need to discuss long term management implications, which as a timber company Beaty already does. Tom stated SNC also needs 25 year access for monitoring by SNC. Ryan will review the application and guidelines and have his lands guy review as well. Tom stated all SNC projects need a tenure agreement.
- CFSC Diamond Mountain Grant – The grant was awarded for $200,000 and Tom submitted the full application paperwork. He has a call scheduled on Monday for an Application Interview. He expects nothing to happen until next year. This project will be held back a little to see if the SNC and WWUI grants will be awarded.
- Treatment Funding Discussion – There is potential for SRA and Green House Gas funding and another solicitation may come out in the next couple months. Both do not require environmental clearances to be completed in advance. Tom stated that the DM project would also be a good candidate for GHG funding and we could apply if we knew we’d have the NEPA/CEQA done in the future. Tom feels GHG will come up every year. The difference between SRA and GHG; SRA are funds can only be used in the Cal Fire state responsibility area on private ground; GHG can be used on any timber ground.
- Other – Hannah asked if there is anything else USFS needs besides money to help with the project. Bobette stated continuous public support for the project will help greatly. As far as implementation they will need more money. Don asked if a project asked for any exceptions to the normal harvest such as tree size. Bobette stated there may be exceptions if there are wildlife implications; they do exemptions when they go to a lower density or canopy cover; they do timber management breaking up canopies and break canopy fuels up looking at forest health including fire resistant stands. They will be looking as the economics; there will be biomass and saw logs.
- Next Meeting – The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 14, 2015 at 5:30 pm. Meeting adjourned at 6:31 pm.