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October 28, 2015

Sierra Happenings

Events and Activities

Discuss Yuba River ecosystem restoration at public US Army Corps meetings!

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, will host a series of public scoping meetings discussing the feasibility of ecosystem restoration in Northern California’s Yuba River watershed.

Dates and Places:

• Thurs, Oct. 29, 5–7 pm in Nevada City.

• Weds, Nov. 4, 5-7 pm in Marysville.

Please view the Official press release here!
For more info or to RSVP, please contact Jenn Tabo!

Public Salmon Tours!

Get out on the Yuba River for an all-day rafting exploration of prime salmon spawning habitat between the Hwy 20 Bridge and Sycamore Ranch Park. Get your hands (and feet) wet while learning about the salmon life cycle, their ecology, and human impacts.

Dates: Oct 31st and Nov 7th, 2015
Location: Browns Valley, CA
Fee: $65 for SRYCL members and $75 for nonmembers, proceeds help support the school salmon tour program.

For more information, click here, or contact River Education Coordinator Heather Kallevig or call (530)265-5961 x218!

SGMA Information Meetings!

The State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Water Resources will hold a series of informational meetings at the dates below to discuss implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and to answer questions from the public!

• October 21st - Valley Glen, CA
• October 22nd - Visalia, CA
• October 27th - Sacramento, CA (Webcast)
• November 5th - Redding, CA

• 1 to 4 pm: Technical sessions for Local Public Agencies and organizations
• 6 to 8 pm: Public forums for groundwater users and the general public

More info available here!

South Sierra Wilderness Addition Exploration!

Join Friends of the Inyo in exploring the South Sierra Wilderness Addition, a potential recommended wilderness area in the Inyo National Forest's management plan revision. FOTI will be exploring and admiring this area's natural beauty! The Shirley Canyon Trail Day, sponsored by Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and PlumpJack Inn, is this Saturday!

Date: November 14, 2015

For more info or to RSVP, please contact Preservation Manager Jora Fogg!

TERC: El Niño and the Upcoming Winter

Dr. Kelly Redmond, regional climatologist for the western United States with the Desert Research Institute, will be leading a discussion on the strong El Niño predicted for the upcoming winter 2015-16.

Date: October 29, 2015, 5:30pm to 7pm
Location: The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, NV
Cost: free, $5 suggested donation to the research center.

To register, click here.
For more info, here!

Job Announcements & Volunteer Opportunities

River People Coordinator AND River Policy Director with SYRCL!

South Yuba River Citizens League is looking for an experienced, organized and friendly candidate to manage SYRCL’s outreach and communication efforts as part of their dynamic River People team!

They also seek an effective River Policy & Communications Director, a seasoned advocate and manager with excellent leadership, communication, community organizing and coalition-building skills.

For more information, click here!

Bodie Hills Conservation Organizer!

The Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership seeks an organizer to work on short and long-term goals and to provide visionary leadership to direct a coalition of organizations working to protect lands in the Bodie Hills in Mono County, CA.

Job description and application info here.

Associate Governmental Program Analyst with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy!

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC or Department) is seeking a highly motivated individual who has strong critical thinking skills and natural resource experience to join the Department’s Policy and Outreach Division in Auburn, CA. The analyst will conduct research, analyze proposed policies, evaluate the effects of existing policies, and create written materials that will be used to influence policy and increase public awareness and understanding of the issues in the Sierra Nevada Region.

Job description and application info here.


Call for Artists - Wild & Scenic Film Festival!

Would you like to display your artwork at the 2016 Wild & Scenic Film Festival? Submissions accepted for review through November 1.

More information available here!

Protect the California Spotted Owl!

On September 18th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service accepted a petition submitted by Wild Nature Institute and the John Muir Project of the Earth Island Institute to list the California spotted owl under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Following this positive finding, the USFWS opened a 60-day comment period requesting additional scientific and commercial data relevant to the status of the species.

Please comment here in support of the California Spotted Owl and any other listed species!

Become a 2016 Switzer Environmental Fellow!

The Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation has launched the application period for 2016 Switzer Environmental Fellowships. Switzer Fellowships are given to top graduate students in New England and California who demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, and who are committed to a career in environmental improvement.

The Switzer Fellowship provides:
• A one-year $15,000 cash award;
• Access to other Switzer grant programs and career support, and
• Membership in the Switzer Fellowship Network of over 570 local and global environmental leaders

The Switzer Fellowship focuses on leadership potential than any particular research project.

More information available here.


Sierra Watch Volunteers dominate the Placer County Board of Supervisors meeting

Sierra Watch1
“Keep Squaw True” Supporters, October 20, 2015

On October 20, Keep Squaw True volunteers filled the public forum to the brim.

As reported by Ted Lipien of Eco Truckee Tahoe, residents and environmental groups declared KSL Capital Partners’ proposed development of Squaw Valley Ski Resort as being “out of touch” with the culture and values of the region. KSL development plans, which include, in addition to 1,500 new bedrooms, high-rise hotels and condos, a proposal to build in Squaw Valley a massive indoor amusement water park with watersides and fake rivers.

An overflow crowd of Tahoe locals urged decision makers to “KEEP SQUAW TRUE” as some of their representatives, including leaders of environmental and community organizations, spoke at the meeting of the Placer County Board of Supervisors in Kings Beach.

Sierra Watch2
“The decisions made in the months ahead will shape Tahoe for generations to come,” said Tom Mooers, Executive Director of Sierra Watch. “We’re committed to securing outcomes that respect the timeless values of Tahoe itself.”

The Board of Supervisors listened to a report from Placer County planning staff on a number of individual proposals:

  • Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan: more than 1,500 bedrooms in a series of ten-story tall condo/hotels and an indoor water park;
  • Brockway Campground: 104-acre resort complex with 550 sites, ranging from tent sites to structures on the north rim of the Tahoe Basin;
  • Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley Base-to-Base Gondola: new connection proposed for land designated as Granite Chief Wilderness; and
  • Martis Valley West Parcel: 760 residential units and 6.6 acres of commercial uses on 775 acres along the rim of the Tahoe Basin.

Placer County has issued an environmental assessment, known as a Draft Environmental Impact Report, for just one of the four biggest projects, the Squaw Valley proposal. Public response was overwhelming.

A total of 338 local jurisdictions, regulatory agencies, private organizations, and individual citizens submitted comments on the Squaw assessment to Placer County, according to Mooers, and "nearly all − 97% − expressed opposition”.

The development’s supporter countered that Sierra Watch was a vocal minority and that supporters of the project were in fact “a silent majority.”

However, opponents of KSL proposals were clearly dominant during the meeting in the number of attendees and the number of speakers.

Please visit this write-up for more information, and click here to review the Keep Squaw True (Sierra Watch) website and sign their petition!

Sara Kokkelenberg Chosen As California AmeriCorps Member of the Year

Sara Kokkelenberg Recognized Across the State for Her Service to the Community Through Her Work with Eastern Sierra Land Trust

Sara Kokkelenberg was presented with the Catherine Milton California AmeriCorps Member of the Year award at a special ceremony held
on the Capitol steps on October 15th.

Out of more than 4,000 individuals serving non-profits, schools, public agencies, and communities across California, Bishop resident Sara Kokkelenberg has been singled out as the state’s AmeriCorps Member of the Year.
This annual award is given by CaliforniaVolunteers, the state office that manages the California AmeriCorps program and other initiatives aimed at engaging Californians in service and volunteering.

It is one of the highest honors in community service throughout the county. Sara has worked with local non-profit Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT) since November 2013, completing two 11-month service terms as the organization’s Education Coordinator/AmeriCorps Member.

Sara has been hired full-time with ESLT as the new Stewardship Coordinator!

From among a highly-accomplished pool of nominated candidates, Catherine Milton selected Sara as the award recipient for the substantial impact Sara has had on the Eastern Sierra community.

“Sara represents the very best of AmeriCorps,” Catherine commented. “She has focused on real, important problems facing our nation and has learned specific skills to make a difference. And even better, she has shown that she is a true leader who has been able to encourage others to help. Sara is a star. I am so proud to have her name and mine be connected.”

Congratulations, Sara! Review the ESLT press release here!

If you would like to support the Sierra Nevada Alliance Initiatives,
please click here to contribute to our funding.

The policy of the Resource is to include articles that appear in local or major media outlets relevant to Sierra conservation. We also include news releases, event notices, funding opportunities and job announcements sent to us from our Member Groups and friends. If you as a reader disagree with the content of a submission we encourage you to submit a letter to the editor of the issuing publication to reach the broader audience who read the article. You are welcome to forward your letter to the editor to the Alliance for inclusion in our new "Letters to the Resource" section. We also invite Letters to the Resource to be directly submitted on any article with which you're concerned.

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

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LA Times, Paige St. John, 10/18/15

Sierra Link: Scientists who study climate change and fire behavior criticize the numerous statements our Governor has made regarding wildfires. They say that their work does not show a link between this year's wildfires and global warming, or support Brown's assertion that fires are now unpredictable and unprecedented. There is not enough evidence, they say.

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In Defense of The Bark Beetle
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Government to require registration of most drones
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Drought takes toll on 'agritourism' farms that once thrived on Halloween crowds
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Sierra Link: All through California, drought has taken a toll on small "agritourism" farms that once thrived on the Halloween season crowd. Some have shut down, while others have stopped growing their own pumpkins or trimmed acres and canceled activities. What does this mean for our community?


199 drought maps show just how thirsty California has become
LA Times, Kyle Kim & Thomas Suh Lauder, 10/9/15

Sierra Link: If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many are 199 worth? This infographic, which depicts the extreme to exceptional drought data collected by the US Drought Monitor, shows an increasingly drying state since 2011.

Absorbing El Nino: Map identifies farmland with greatest potential for groundwater recharge
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Sierra Link: A new interactive map developed by UC Davis's Soil Resource Lab is part of the Soil Agricultural Groundwater Banking Index, which identifies farmlands with the most potential to capture groundwater and help recharge the aquifer. Will growers, researchers, and policymakers adopt this tool or ignore it? - View the Soil Agricultural Groundwater Banking Index here !

Dan Walters: A new law stops gold dredging
Sacramento Bee, Dan Walters, 10/22/15

Sierra Link: Senate Bill 637, carried by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, shifts that power to the State Water Resources Control Board, which has quickly notified dredgers that they cannot operate without a series of permits which satisfy the Clean Water Act, which will be impossible to obtain. This is a triumph for Sierra environmental advocates everywhere!


USFS issues 90-day Finding on Petitions to List the California Spotted Owl
Sierra Forest Legacy, Staff Report, 9/18/15

Sierra Link: On September 18th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service accepted a petition to list the California spotted owl under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Following this positive finding, the USFWS opened a 60-day comment period requesting additional scientific and commercial data relevant to the status of the species. Within 12 months, the USFWS will complete a status review.
Please comment here to support this native Sierran forest-dweller.

Congress tries to speed up contentious post-fire logging
High Country News, Jodi Peterson, 10/15/15

Sierra Link: Despite science showing timber salvage harms essential wildlife habitat, Congressional Republicans are pushing two bills, supported by the timber industry, that would speed up logging in national forests after wildfires and reduce environmental review.

Other Articles

California’s next worry: mudslides from El Niño rains
San Francisco Gate, Peter Fimrite, 10/23/15

Sierra Link: Rainstorms forecast to rage during this winter’s “Godzilla” El Niño could release damaging mudslides on drought-dried and fire-scarred landscapes in the Bay Area and through much of California, geologists and meteorologists warn.

Sierra Nevada Alliance

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

phone: 530.542.4546

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.