LASSEN COUNTY FIRE SAFE COUNCIL, INC. (LCFSC)
LCFSC DIAMOND MOUNTAIN INITIATIVE
WORKING GROUP MEETING
Thursday, April 3, 2017
Susan River Fire Protection District
705-145 Hwy 395, Johnstonville, California
The LCFSC Diamond Mountain Initiative meeting was called to order at 5:34 pm on April 3, 2017 at the Susan River Fire Protection District Office, 705-145 Hwy 395 in Johnstonville, California. Attendees were Scott Rosikiewicz, Bobette Jones, Don Hansen, Bob Andrews, Laurie Tippin, Hannah Tangeman, Joe Starr, Mark Shaffer, Shane Starr, Karl Todd, Tom Esgate, Lloyd Keefer, Carol Keefer, Terri Frolli, Cathy Dirden, and Kristy Hoffman via conference call.
I. Welcome and Introductions – LCFSC Managing Director Tom opened the meeting welcoming all and asked for introductions.
II. National Forest Foundation (NFF) Capacity Grant Update – Tom stated he emailed some of the representatives to do a photo op at the newly installed project sign on Wednesday, April 5th at 10:00 am the corner of Gold Run Road and Richmond Road. He will be following it up with a press release. One of the deliverables for the NFF is to have six press releases by September.
III. SNC DM USFS NEPA process – Bobette reported the proposed action is at the Supervisors Office (SO) for review; the Eagle Lake team did a good job meeting all their timelines. Once the SO review is complete it will go to the public. She has a third alternative just in case the interim spotted owl outline changes their plans. Most think they will be able to write their Effects analyses by September for the Environmental Assessment (EA). This is speculative based on what happens with scoping and to the public. She shared copies of the DRAFT proposed action for the collaborative team only. Tom recently filed a progress report with SNC. All surveys have been done except the Economic Analysis which will be done during the Effect phase. It will be based on the timber product. Tom asked if they know how many saw logs will come off the project; he will be using the number as match on another project. Bobette will get the info for him. The Forest Service has about $600,000 budgeted for project administration and this can be considered part of a GHG project match. Tom asked if Bobette knows what’s left on the archeological survey; she stated it mostly small items and that their head archeologist is off for two weeks. Tom asked if there is a way for the Forest to say the work is substantially done so we can pay our archeologist. Bobette will look into it.
IV. SNC DM Implementation – LCFSC entered into agreement with Evans Right-of-way for mastication; they are able to masticate in areas that cannot be biomassed do to road issues, water courses, slope steepness, etc. LCFSC also entered into agreement with Tubit Enterprises for biomass treatments. He stated we probably won’t start until May or later; he hopes to get something done before the fire risk it too high. Tom applied for a budget modification; Kristy ran it through her boss and stated she anticipates it will be approved. We originally had $60,000 for mastication and $360,000 for biomass thinning. We know there will be more mastication and he asked for $100,000 for mastication and $320,000 for biomass thinning. This will allow our masticating contractor to get out there early. If we need more for mastication we will put in another budget amendment request. The goal is to do every square foot in biomass thinning that we can rather than mastication.
V. CFSC Diamond Mountain Grant – Funds will be used to back fill the SNC project on Beaty ground. We may be able to do other properties as well.
VI. CFSC WWUI – See above.
VII. SRA Diamond Mountain Status – Tom shared that Don Hansen received approval from Cal Fire for our Exemption for the SRA treatments along the motorway. We will be able to go to work as soon as conditions allow and we can begin planning with Antelope Camp for treatments and start tying in some of the landowners.
VIII. Honey Lake Valley RCD SNC Grant Awarded. Tom congratulated Honey Lake Valley on their award. Laurie approved agreements to be signed between the parties, Hulsman Ranch, for the ground work. Phil Nemir stated they will be starting fieldwork this week advertising for contractor bids and hopefully will have them by early May. He stated they have better access at their project than we do higher on the mountain. He has reviewed the roads to see how they’ve held up. Tom and Phil discussed the capacity issues with contractors and rising prices. Phil hopes to have it done this season. He shared concerns with road conditions due to flooding and routes for hauling.
IX. Treatment Funding Discussion.
GHG – Tom stated since our last meeting Cal Fire rolled out the GHG program. We worked in the past with SPI and Beaty on GHG applications and neither seem inclined to go forward with it this year due to the new 50 year requirement for recording on private land deeds. It’s not required for public land. Tom stated earlier Don Gordon/Cal Fire felt Diamond Mountain would be a home run. There is some leeway in the GHG Procedure Guide stating you have to have the Environmental Clearance done a year after the grant agreement is signed. The last round for funding took over a year to go to contract, and they’re now on a fast track and think they can get agreements out by June. Cal Fire has a priority for projects that have the Clearance done at the time of application. Tom said the concept papers are due this Friday, a three week turnaround. If accepted, the full application is due by May 15th, another very fast turnaround. He has already started working on the concept paper and feels we have a great project. The DMI program has over a $1 million right now in project work which hasn’t been done yet. That includes SNC, the two CFSC grants, the SRA and even the NFF. He wants to include the HLV RCD project of $250,000 with their approval. Laurie agreed, but had to take it to their board. Tom figured $600,000 in chips, and $300,000 for saw logs which would put the Match up to $2.4 million. Today the Forest Service submitted an estimate of what their administrative cost would be, bringing the potential match up to $3 million. This will make the project very attractive. Tom will request $5 million for the project. His intent is to ask for the moon on the concept paper. When by May 15th we’ll have a better idea of what is feasible and we can cut back if necessary.
Tom is proposing that LCFSC do all the treatments including hand treatments and mechanical thinning, chipping and saw logs, with completion by March 2020. That means DMI needs to be done by October 31, 2019. He hopes to have both a 2018 and 2019 operating season. Bobette said they may be able to lay out the non-timber treatments early on, which is a quick prescription. Anything to do with mechanical is much more complex. Tom stated our concept is to do the project as a Stewardship agreement, not a sale. The agreement will be with LCFSC; the same as what we are doing with the PRCD Black Mountain, where the money for the material goes back into the project treatments. He explained how that would happen. The Stewardship agreement has to be approved at the Regional Office. Tom feels if they have a $5 million contribution from a partner they would go for it. Discussion regarding not completing the project by 2019. Tom feels the project is attractive because it’s very large, we’re doing something there right now, and we’ll also include what we’ve already completed from Elysian Valley and up through Gold Run. Tom showed the footprint on the map. He said it will include the whole DM watershed. Our biggest challenges is getting the environmental done. LCFSC will hold the Stewardship contract and there can be multiple contractors. Tom explained how the Black Mountain project works. Discussion regarding authority and how the process works with the Forest Regional and Local Offices. Tom stated he received Eileen’s comments and will give Bobette the draft. Bobette stated Tom should talk with Dave Hays/Forest Supervisor since there will be capacity and priority concerns. Bobette will set up a time and date for the meeting.
Discussion regarding saw log prices and Stewardship agreements. Tom stated part of the Purpose and Need document speaks about under-burning, pile-burning, etc.; for our purposes we are saying none of those activities will occur during the project, they will happen afterward. We are proposing these as a maintenance type activities; monitoring will go on during the grant period. Tom stated he expects yearly reports from the Forest will be required for about 10 years. Bobette asked about the priority for biomass purposes. Mark/HLP doesn’t see it as an issue for them. Tom stated the Forest should be sure to include in the Purpose and need how large the Diamond Mountain Initiative collaborative is.
SNC USFS – Tom stated if we fund this with GHG we won’t be coming to SNC for more funding.
SRA – Same as above.
X. Other –
XI. Next Meeting – The next meeting will be held at 5:30 pm on Monday, May 1, 2017.