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  Events  |  Campaign Updates  |  Resources   |  Funding  |  Comic of the Month  |  Recent News September 2013       

Alliance Updates

Staff Transitions: Executive Director, Joan Clayburgh, resigning at year's end

Dear Friends of the Sierra Nevada Alliance

I wanted to let you know that I am resigning as the Executive Director of the Sierra Nevada Alliance on December 31 of this year. I have considered it an honor to be able to serve as the ED for the last twelve years and this was a hard decision for me. I love this amazing region, find the conservation leaders within the range to be as amazing as the mountains, think the world of the board members I’ve served with, and been blessed to have worked with such talented and amazing staff and supporters over the years. I am simply at a point in my life right now that says it is time to change it up. It’s been a great run and I am very proud of the work I’ve done with all of you to build the Alliance and achieve some important milestones. I am looking forward to taking some time off to travel/ski early next year and then begin looking for my next opportunity to do good work and address climate change.

The Board of Directors is launching an Executive search process, so stay tuned and please forward and connect the Board to the next leader who will help the Alliance thrive and fulfill its awesome mission. The staff and I will be supporting the Board this fall in the search and continuing the great work underway. I truly believe my departure is a great opportunity for the Alliance to take the organization to a new level in protecting and restoring the Sierra.

But be warned. While I may be leaving as ED at the end of the year, I plan to always be an Alliance supporter, stay in touch, and keep my Pika spirit strong. I hope you’ll join me in keeping your Pika spirit going strong and working with the Alliance to ensure the Sierra remains as vibrant and inspirational as it is today.


Joan Clayburgh
Executive Director
Sierra Nevada Alliance


Ray C. Anderson Foundation Invites Letters of Inquiry for Environmental Grants Program

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation is accepting Letters of Inquiry from nonprofit environmental organizations for initiatives that support environmental, economic, and social sustainability in the United States. Through its Gray Notes Grants program, the foundation awards grants of between $2,000 and $25,000 for environmental conservation, preservation, education, and restoration initiatives; urban agriculture programs; clean water and clean air projects; environmental and economic think tanks; and grassroots initiatives that inform and inspire people to collaborate and take positive action to protect the planet. In addition, the program supports organizations and programs that are working with industry, government, and businesses to create environmentally sound planning practices to reduce the environmental footprint of urban development through energy efficiency, increased use of renewable energy, and the reduction of carbon intensity. All organizations requesting funding must be recognized as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. LOIs are accepted throughout the year and must be submitted through the foundation's online grant inquiry system. Applicants will be notified if a full application is requested. Grants are awarded twice a year, in June and December. See the Ray C. Anderson Foundation Web site for eligibility and application guidelines. Visit the CPF Web site for complete program guidelines and the application form.

Click here for more information and application.

National Forest Foundation Accepting Applications for 2014 Matching Awards Program

The National Forest Foundation, the nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service, works to engage America in community-based and national programs that promote the health and public enjoyment of the National Forest System. The NFF Matching Awards Program provides matching funds for direct on-the-ground and citizen-based monitoring projects benefiting America's national forests and grasslands. NFF is interested in action-oriented projects that enhance the viability of natural resources while benefiting and directly engaging surrounding communities. MAP funds can be used to support conservation and restoration projects in the areas of wildlife habitat improvement, recreation, watershed health and restoration, and community-based forestry. In addition to focusing on one or more of these four areas of stewardship, the foundation requires projects to show a strong commitment to civic engagement and community involvement through the direct involvement of the public in on-the-ground conservation, restoration, and monitoring projects. NFF will consider applications from non-federal partners, community-based organizations, Native American tribes, and 501(c)(3) nonprofits implementing action-oriented on-the-ground conservation and citizen-based monitoring projects on or around national forests or grasslands.

Click here for more information.


Resource: Harvard Science and Policy Integration Project

Description: The Science and Policy Integration Project works to increase the impact of long-term ecological research in environmental decision-making. We address grand challenges in environmental stewardship through problem-oriented scientific synthesis, decision maker engagement, and science communications.
Click here for more information

Position Opening: Long Range Planning Manager, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

Job Description:

The Long Range Planning Manager is working on the leading edge of planning, creating some of the nation's most environmentally innovative land use and transportation policies. This position will lead a talented team in cutting edge regional planning in a highly engaged, politically challenging community. This is a unique opportunity for a results-oriented professional to develop innovative and creative solutions to complex, contemporary long range land use and environmental planning issues such as:

  • Implementing the updated Lake Tahoe Regional Plan and first Sustainable Communities Strategy

  • Building the public -private partnerships needed to complete one of the nation's largest ecosystem restoration efforts

  • Managing development in diverse communities surrounding a highly protected national treasure

  • Transitioning the Agency to an integrated Area Planning framework designed to relocate and infill existing development to improve transportation while restoring environmentally sensitive areas

Click here for more information

Location: Stateline, NV

Position Opening: Development and Communications Director, Sierra Nevada Alliance

Description: The Development and Communication Director is responsible for leading the organization’s major donor, individual donor, event, and sponsorship programs. They are also responsible for managing our web communications and producing various organizational outreach communications. The Development and Communications Director reports directly to the Executive Director, supervises an Outreach and Development Program Associate and works closely with the Board and staff on organizational fundraising efforts.

Click here for more information

Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA

Position Opening: Executive Director, Sierra Nevada Alliance

Description: The executive director will lead and manage Alliance staff, and work with board, member organizations and volunteers in strategy formation, coalition building, policy and program development and fundraising to achieve the goals of the Alliance. The executive director will also work to strengthen the capacity of the Alliance to pursue its mission, including staff development, administrative systems, financial management and board development.

Click here for more information

Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA

Campaign Updates

Our monthly update on projects the Regional Climate Change Program is working on as part of our effort to maintain and improve the health of our beautiful "Range of Light."

Regional Climate Change Program Update

October 18th, 2013
By Gavin Feiger
Regional Climate Change Senior Program Associate, Sierra Nevada Alliance

For each of the next few months, we will highlight one of the key projects that the Regional Climate Change Program is working on to help protect and preserve the Sierra.

Fresno County Sustainable Communities Strategy

As part of California's effort to curb climate change, Governor Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 375 into law in 2008. SB 375 requires every Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in the state to create a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), tying land use and transportation planning together. About 30% of California's greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) come from passenger vehicles, largely due to people commuting between work and increasingly distant affordable homes. Each MPO was assigned a GHG reduction target based on reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per person in the MPO region.

Now that we've waded through the proverbial acronym soup, here's how the Alliance is helping implement SB 375 to protect agriculture land, open space, and the rural way of life in the Southern Sierra. Fresno County stretches from the valley floor to the Sierra Crest and includes Sequoia National Park. The Regional Climate Change program is part of a couple of coalitions actively working to convince the Fresno County MPO (the Fresno County Council of Governments - COG) to choose an SCS scenario that invests in existing communities instead of sprawling growth and new towns through the Sierra foothills. Our approach is to inform the elected officials that make up the Fresno COG about the benefits that come with smart growth strategies, while dispelling sources of misinformation. For example, mayors and supervisors often think that all development is good because it brings in property tax revenue. Unfortunately, sprawling development is very expensive for cities and counties as they must provide a slew of community services while accruing less revenue per acre than infill, mixed-use development; and even single-family homes adjacent to existing communities. Here is a good fact sheet on the cost of community services and one about the economics of smart growth versus sprawl. We and our coalitions are working directly with elected officials and government staff to inform the SCS scenarios and answer questions. Our coalition designed and analyzed a new scenario that outperforms all three of the COG's scenarios in just about every category. This scenario (Scenario D) protects more land, provides more affordable housing and transportation options, and reduces GHGs. We are also undertaking a grassroots effort to influence decision-makers with voices from community members representing a broad spectrum of interests, from agriculture to business to environmental justice. We help community members and organizations contact their elected officials, attract media attention, and pack public meetings to ask for a Scenario that is not just business as usual sprawl.

The Fresno COG will be voting on a preferred SCS scenario next month. Right now it looks like they are leaning towards “Scenario B,” which protects the least amount of agriculture and open space by allowing a business as usual approach to dispersed development and allowing “new towns.” New towns are literally that – huge developments housing up to 30,000 people in our beautiful rolling foothills. Think of Rancho Cordova, El Dorado Hills, Copperopolis. Under Scenario B, two new town and a large medical campus could be built using money that would otherwise go to growing and improving existing communities. Developers promise to build roads and schools and businesses for their new towns, but generally the County is left holding the bill for maintenance and many community services. At the same time, existing communities continue to lack affordable housing, safe drinking water, and transportation systems. The only winners in this scenario are a few large developers. Under the scenario we are promoting, there are some developers with foresight, like members of the Council of Infill Builders, who would benefit while improving the economic, environmental, and community health of Fresno County.

We will keep you updated on the progress in Fresno and if you would like to help us with this and our other efforts across the Sierra, please give a few dollars to the Alliance today. Stay tuned over the next few months as we highlight our other projects such as: regional and statewide water management and policy, a Sustainability Action Plan for the Tahoe Basin, the water-land use nexus, model policies for general plans, and more.


2013-2014 Sustainability Leadership Workshops

C2C Fellows convenes regional workshops for undergraduates and recent graduates who want high-impact careers in sustainable business and politics. Join one of the C2C Fellows’ workshops to learn the leadership skills necessary to succeed, such as how to: raise money, tell your story, build your network, pitch your idea, and know what you’re good at. Graduates of our workshops are eligable for scholarships to continue their leadership training, as well as to become funded graduate students at Bard's Center for Environmental Policy.

Date: November 8-10, 2013 5:30 PM
Place: University of California Berkeley
More Information: Click here for more information

TERC monthly lecture: Developing tools to detect harmful chemicals

There are lots of chemicals used in textiles, cosmetics, personal care products, etc., and many of these exhibit unintended harmful consequences to humans and wildlife. Two presenters from UC Davis Environmental Chemistry Graduate Group will discuss how these chemicals interact within our body to prevent normal function of our hormones (endocrine disruption) and the development of new tools, cell lines, to help measure chemical toxicity before the chemicals are used.

Date: October 24
Place: South Lake Tahoe
More Information: Click here for more information

Placer County Tahoe Basin Community Plan Update Workshop

North Tahoe Events Center
8318 North Lake Tahoe Blvd
Kings Beach, CA 96143

Come learn about the most recent progress regarding the Tahoe Basin Community Plans. These sessions are interactive and are intended for the public to provide input on policies that they would like to see implemented,

Date: October 23rd, 2013
Place: Kings Beach, CA
More Information: Click here for more information

Comic of the Month

Newsletter contents prepared by Danny Lapin.
If you have articles, events or announcements that you would like included in this newsletter or if you have feedback, please email

Recent News

Sierra News

State, Nevada extend compact on Lake Tahoe control
San Francisco Chronicle, Erin Allday 10.12.2013

Sierra Link: The governors of California and Nevada recently agreed to extend the bi-state compact that coordinates planning efforts throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin. With changing economic conditions looming in the future, it is important to maintain such compacts to coordinate smart regional planning efforts.

In Rim Fire's wake, lessons for saving our forests
UC Berkeley News Center, Barry Bergman 10.15.2013

Sierra Link: This article coming out of UC Berkeley provides interesting lessons learned from the Rim Fire on the policy gaps that have plagued forest management in the Sierra. With the increased probability of severe fire events, it is of the utmost importance to mobilize state and federal actors to improve forest management practices as quickly as possible.

State News

Another dry year could be bad news for California
Los Angeles Times, Bettina Boxall 10.14.2013

Sierra Link: California is currently in the throes of back-to-back dry years raising a great deal of concern over statewide water supplies. As water supplies diminish, increased strain on Sierra water supply will ramp up as municipal users throughout the state begin to look to the Sierra for their water.

Sacramento easement preserves farmland, improves flood safety
Sacramento Bee, Matt Weiser 10.17.2013

Sierra Link: This article presents another example of how land use planning and water management are connected. Utilizing conservation easements to reduce flood risk and limit development can play a huge region in the foothill regions of the Sierra.

National News

Citizen science: how a Facebook game could help us tackle climate change
Think Progress, Katie Valentine 10.17.2013

Sierra Link: Citizen science is taking center stage as a way to help bridge the science-policy gap. Imagine how awesome it would be if Sierra scientists could harness the collective intelligence of the internet to solve the range's environmental problems.

Turning floodwaters into liquid assets
Think Progress, Ari Phillips 10.10.2013

Sierra Link: Researchers have begun thinking of re-purposing floodwater as a potential source of water supply for arid regions in the western US. While floods can cause significant structural damage, trying to store floodwater may help alleviate drought related water stress in the region.

Sierra Nevada Alliance

P.O. Box 7989
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158

phone: 530. 542. 4546
fax:530. 542. 4570

Since 1993 the Sierra Nevada Alliance has been protecting and restoring Sierra lands, water, wildlife and communities. The regional climate change program shapes and implements county and regional resource plans that promote smart land use, incorporate sustainable water management practices, aggressively reduce greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change.