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

Alliance Updates

Staff Transitions: New Alliance Americorps Member!

Welcome to Cody Bear Sutton. New Watershed Education and Restoration Assistant for the Sierra Nevada Alliance and California Tahoe Conservancy.

Cody is the Alliance’s new Watershed Education and Restoration Assistant through the Sierra Nevada Americorps Partnership. He will also be serving half his time doing watershed restoration and assessment with the California Tahoe Conservancy. Cody graduated with a B.S. in Wildlife Sciences from the University of Idaho in 2012. Previously, Cody has built trails and taught conservation in the rugged mountains of northern New Mexico, surveyed for bird and bats in the prairies of northeastern Montana, lived among the giant sequoias of southern California while surveying for the elusive pacific fisher, and monitoring logged sequoia groves, spent the summer in the temperate rainforest of southeastern Alaska living and working with the bears at Anan bear observatory, and worked on the Hawaiian island of Kauai with 3 extremely endangered forest birds. Most recently he worked with endangered Chinook salmon and steelhead at a fish hatchery in northern Idaho. Visit the SNAP website to learn more about Cody and other SNAP members!


Funding Opportunity with Environmental Education Regional Grant Program

The purpose of the Environmental Education Regional Grant Program is to increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues and provide the skills that participants in its funded projects need to make informed environmental decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. The EPA expects to award two or three grants per Region and two at Headquarters for an expected 22 - 32 grants nationwide. The award amounts for the Regional grants will be no less than $75,000 and no more than $200,000 in federal funds.

Click here for more information and application.

Funding Opportunity with the National Forest Foundation: Matching Awards Program.

The National Forest Foundation (NFF) Matching Awards Program (MAP) provides competitive challenge grants to community-based and national nonprofit organizations to engage in on-the-ground conservation initiatives that benefit National Forests and Grasslands. For specific programmatic focus areas, these areas are Wildlife Habitat Improvement, Recreation, Watershed Health and Restoration, and Community-Based Forestry. The Matching Awards Program is unique, in that it effectively doubles the money available to natural resource conservation projects by adding federal funds to private, non-federal matching dollars. Project funding is for one year, with two award decision cycles per year. If awarded, project activities must be complete, with all NFF and matching funds requested and fully expended, by the end of the one-year award period.

Click here for more information.


Position Opening: Associate Project Director, Conservation Associates Program - The Nature Conservancy

Description: The Associate Project Director will gain exposure to aspects of natural resource protection, science, stewardship, conservation financing, and community relations. S/he will work directly under the supervision of a senior team member in the Conservation Investments department and work with one or more Conservation Department teams in development and execution of priorities. The position will be expected to work with a variety of stakeholders including landowners, government agencies, other conservation organizations, foundations and the academic community on a wide range of cutting-edge conservation issues that are often found at the intersection of asset transactions, conservation policy and science.

Click here for more information. Search Job ID: 41613

Location: San Francisco, CA

Position Opening: Environmental Incentives Associate

Job Description:

Environmental Incentives is seeking to hire 1 or 2 staff members to start in January 2014. EI is specifically looking for applicants with work experience, graduate degree or both that provide practical understanding of public land management and policy, Endangered Species Act regulatory policies, habitat suitability analysis, conservation planning, project pro-forma development and offsite mitigation to assist with their habitat exchange and regional environmental accounting work.

Click here for more information

Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA

Position Opening: Planner Positions - Delta Stewardship Council

Description: The Delta Stewardship Council is seeking an innovative problem solver to join in working to implement California's new Delta Plan. The planner collaborates with other DSC staff, a wide range of local, state and federal government officials, and the public in developing creative and effective approaches to integrating habitat restoration, water supply reliability, flood risk reduction and economic sustainability.

Click here for more information

Location: Sacramento, CA

Position Opening: Environmental Scientist, CA Department of Water Resources

Description: The Environmental Scientist will be responsible for providing assistance with reviewing, tracking, organizing, and monitoring project activities for the BDCP, BDCP related documents/projects, and other related restoration projects. This includes multi-agency collaboration, knowledge of regional species of concern, and keeping current with regional science as it applies to the Delta.

Click here for more information

Location: Sacramento, CA

Happy Holidays!

We would like to wish all our supporters a happy holiday season and happy new year from everyone here at Sierra Nevada Alliance.

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

December 20th, 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.

Plumas County Adopts General Plan with Strong Conservation Language!

After over four years of hard work by the Sierra Nevada Alliance, our Member Groups, and advocates in Plumas County, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to adopt a new General Plan and accompanying environmental impact report (EIR) on Tuesday the 17th. The Alliance believes the Plan contains some model language and policies that other Sierra Nevada counties may want to build upon. General Plans are the “land use constitution” for a county – guiding the amount, types, and locations of development. Plumas’ plan will shape the county through 2035.

Thanks to the diligent work of the Regional Climate Change Program and our Plumas County allies (Plumas Tomorrow, Plumas Audubon Society, Moonlight Valley Alliance, Quincy Transition Initiative, and the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, among others), the General Plan contains some strong conservation and climate change language, a standalone Water Resources element, and support from the community. The General plan focuses new growth into existing communities, helps protect open space, agriculture, timber, and water resources, and maintains rural character. We successfully stopped Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) from advancing a plan alternative and specific language that would have allowed more residential development on productive timber lands.

It is a model General Plan for the Sierra in a number of ways – balancing economic development with the protection of open space and natural resources and gaining broad community and governmental support. We hope other counties in the Sierra will use aspects of this plan to help shape their land use plans.

In 2009, the Board of Supervisors signed the contract with Design Workshop and the Sierra Business Council, consultants based out of Lake Tahoe, to update Plumas County General Plan and environmental documentation. The Alliance got involved with the Plumas effort in late 2010. We built a small coalition of Alliance Member Groups, individual advocates, and policy experts. We helped the coalition become more engaged in the public process, write effective comments on the Plan and EIR, communicate with the County staff, elected officials, and consultants, and push back on pressure from developers, the timber industry, and fringe political views to design and adopt their General Plan. Some of the things we like most about the plan include:

• In the early workshops and visioning sessions, community members took markers to maps to identify “planning areas” around existing communities where they thought the County should direct growth. The County then did their best to have the plan align with this community vision.

• There is robust discussion of climate change and there is a climate change icon that indicates climate change language throughout the proposed plan.

• Large lot sizes are basically disallowed on agriculture, open space, and timber lands (discouraging “ranchette” style development)

• Subdividing a lot into more than four units requires a general plan amendment

• Clustering of homes is encouraged in agriculture and forest designations and the remaining land must be put into permanent protection.

• Developers, not the County, must provide community services (roads, water, sewer, fire protection and response, etc.) for proposed developments.

• There are non-required elements in the Plan for Water, Economics, and Agriculture and Forestry.

While there is plenty of good language, policies, and intent, no plan is perfect. There could be stronger implementation language, more protection for sensitive areas such as ridgelines, riparian zones, and meadows, and smaller planning areas. We are also concerned that some of the mitigation measures that make the plan strong are unlikely to be implemented due to financial or political constraints.

The Alliance has been working on land use issues for two decades, publishing reports, toolkits, and guides to aid our Member Groups and individual advocates. We work closely with our partners to build coalitions, analyze policies, and conduct advocacy and outreach to help protect and preserve the Sierra.

While developing strong plans is essential in our efforts to protect and restore the Sierra, our Plumas County allies will have to be diligent to ensure the plan is implemented. The Alliance is here to help. We will continue to track general plan updates in all 22 counties in the Sierra, support our Member Groups and individual advocates, and take the lead when needed. We cannot do our important work without you.

Please donate today to help us help the Sierra.


The Sierra Fund Annual Winter Legislative Reception--You're Invited!

The Sierra Fund is hosting the Annual Winter Legislative Reception for Sierra Nevada leaders, organizations, and agencies. This year's honorees are assembly member Richard Gordon and Senator Fran Pavley.

Date: January 21, 2014 6:00 PM-8:00 PM
Place: Tsakopoulos Library Galleria 828 I street, Sacramento, CA

Wild and Scenic Film Festival

This January, SYRCL’s (South Yuba River Citizens League) 12th Annual Wild & Scenic® Film Festival returns with another incredible selection of films to change your world. Each year, the Wild & Scenic® Film Festival draws top filmmakers, celebrities, leading activists, social innovators and well-known world adventurers to the historic downtown of Nevada City, California

Date: January 9th-12th
Place: Nevada City, CA
More Information: Click here for more information

REI — Winter Trails Day 2014

REI invites you to join in this national celebration of winter fun at Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center in Truckee, CA. Winter Trails Day offers those new to snow sports the chance to try snowshoeing and cross country skiing for free, and discover the great fitness and social benefits with these easy-to-learn winter activities.

Date: January 11th
Place:Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Center, 15275 Alder Creek Road, Truckee, CA
More Information: Click here for more information

Comic of the Month

Newsletter contents prepared by Cody Bear.
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

Measuring Available Water
California Academy of Sciences, Molly Michelson 12.17.2013

Sierra Link: At the American Geophysical Union Meeting last week in San Francisco, researchers presented the results from the first trial of NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO). ASO was initiated to carry out two tasks—to measure the amount of snow and to estimate the date when the water from that snow would be available. Using LiDAR to measure snow depth and density and a imaging spectrometer to measure the reflectivity of the surface, notifying the rate of sunlight absorption, scientists produced high-resolution maps that show how much snow is there and when it will be available. This new method could help in adapting to the lower amounts of snowpack in the sierra by helping managers manage water easier.

Rim Fire recovery effort gets a $1 million boost.
Calaveras Enterprise Report, 12.17.2013

Sierra Link: The Sierra Nevada Conservancy, an organization dedicated to improving the environmental, economic and social wellbeing of the Sierra Nevada region, has allocated $1 million in grant funding to aid in the Rim Fire recovery effort. Recovery efforts will help restore and protect the watershed which will benefit the area in many ways.

State News

Wildfire in California’s Big Sur region destroys 22 structures.
CNN, Michael Martinez 12.18.2013

Sierra Link: A wildfire rips through Big Sur region in California in December. The warmest November in over a century and the continued drought in California may lead to an increase in Wildfires throughout California in 2014. .

The importance of controlling water
Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, John Buckley 12.17.2013

Sierra Link: Considering the current drought and what has been a very dry winter so far in the Sierra, reducing our water use seems as prudent as ever. "Since we cannot control the weather, what we can control is how we use water now by making extra efforts to avoid waste. As individuals and families, we all can start to reduce water use. We can also collectively strive to make prudent investments, both individually and as a region, in water conservation and recycling, so if this dry winter worsens, we’ve done as much as possible to be prepared."

National News

Poop-eating Pikas More Resilient to Climate Change than Previously Believed, Study Suggests
Nature World News, Tamarra Kemsley 12.18.2013

Sierra Link: Pika are thought to be one of the most sensitive species when it comes to the warming effects of climate change in the Sierra. Warmer temperatures at higher elevations are forcing populations to adapt. This adaptation suggests there is hope for the for the species to survive the estimated temperature rises in the Sierra to an extent.

Interior’s Secretary Jewell Announces New Wildlife and Climate Studies at the Southwest Climate Science Center
USGS Newsroom 12.19.2013

Sierra Link: The Interior’s Southwest Climate Science Center is awarding nearly $1.2 million to universities and other partners for research to guide managers of parks, refuges and other cultural and natural resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change. This includes a project planned to "examine the changing effects of the North Pacific Jet on water resources and Sierra Nevada fires. The NPJ is a high-altitude narrow path of strong winds over the North Pacific Ocean, and a key determinant of snowpack variability in California. Changes in the NPJ trajectory are forecasted for the future as the climate changes, which could greatly influence California water resources, ecosystems and fire. The project will inform decision makers for proactive wildland fire management"

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.