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January 11, 2017

Sierra Happenings

Events and Activities

Truckee River Talk with the TRWC!

Join the Truckee River Watershed Council for a one-hour "virtual tour" of core watershed programs, and learn more about the important work they are doing to protect, enhance and restore our rivers, streams and meadows.

Date: January 19th, 2017
Location: TRWC Office, 10418 Donner Pass Rd # B, Truckee, 8am

For more information and to sign up, click here!

TERC Lectures: The Tahoe Natural Year, A Journey through the Seasons!

Join the Tahoe Environmental Research Center for the Tahoe Natural Year with Dr. Will Richardson from the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science. Learn about a wide variety of natural history topics, track the ebb and flow of the Sierra’s seasons, and catch a sneak peak at some of the wildlife you may want to watch for in the coming year.

Date: January 19th, 2017 - 5:30 to 7pm
Location: Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences, 291 Country Club Dr., Incline Village, Nevada
Details: $5 suggested donation, refreshments and no-host bar 5:30pm, presentation begins at 6pm

Register for this event here!!

Yosemite Policymakers Conference!

Join mayors, city council members, county supervisors, city managers, and high-level department heads for the 26th Annual Yosemite Policymakers Conference. This timely and inspirational program will provide tools and support needed in implementing innovative solutions to address society's most pressing challenges. This year's conference focus is sustaining our progress and protecting the American dream.

Date: March 16-19, 2017
Location: Yosemite National Park

For more information and to register, click here!

15th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival: At The Edge!

Join SYRCL for another fabulous weekend at the largest film festival of its kind. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival sits apart from the hundreds of festivals around the world by leaving you feeling INSPIRED and MOTIVATED to go out and make a difference in your community and the world.

Date: January 12-16, 2017
Location: Location TBD, likely by Nevada City, CA

Visit the festival website for more details! Or, review the tour calendar to find a tour date near you!

2017 California Climate Change Symposium!

California Climate Change Symposium 2017 is the premier forum for the sharing of cutting-edge research addressing the impacts of climate change on the state. California Climate Change Symposium 2017 is convened by California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.

Date: Jan 25-26, 2017
Location: Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel
Details: The 2017 symposium will feature preliminary reports from California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment.

Please click here for more information!

Call for Abstracts: Reclaiming the Sierra 2017 with the Sierra Fund!

Reclaiming the Sierra 2017 offers a platform for progress toward a more resilient future at the nexus of cutting edge science, forward thinking policy and state of the art technology. This event draws hundreds of leaders in the fields of science, policy, research, environmental regulation, water quality, consulting, mining, public health and environmental advocacy. The Sierra Fund invites interdisciplinary researchers to submit abstracts describing strategies for headwaters resiliency.

Consideration will be given to abstracts that address the following themes:

1. Assessment and Abatement Strategies for Environmental Toxics
2. Ecosystem Function and Resiliency
3. Policies to Promote Responsible Land Use and Management

Deadline to submit: January 31, 2017

Visit the conference website for specific details including abstract submission guidelines and submission procedure.

Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training!

Our climate is changing. Do you want to make a difference? Join the Climate Reality Project for a Leadership Corps training, and work with former US Vice President Al Gore and renowned climate scientists and communicators to learn about what’s happening to our planet. The training will explain how we can use social media, powerful storytelling, and personal outreach to inspire audiences to take action.

Application Deadline: Jan 24, 2017
Date: March 2-4, 2017
Location: Denver, CO

Please click here for more information!

Job Announcements & Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunity: Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey!

Join the Alliance’s team for the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science’s 2017 Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey. From 9am-12pm on Friday, January 13th, volunteers will be paired up and stationed at 26 vantage points throughout the Tahoe basin, mostly around the lakeshore, to tally and age any eagles they see. This count is part of the National Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey initiated by the National Wildlife Federation in 1979. More information & registration available here.

Don’t forget to join the Alliance’s team when registering! New this year, TINS will be hosting an informational dinner the night before the count to help volunteers learn the best methods to spot and age the eagles they see. More information on the dinner available here.

Water Master Technician: Honey Lake Valley RCD!

The Honey Lake Valley RCD is looking for a qualified person to fill the position of Water Master Technician.
Job Description available here, and employment application available here.

If interested, please send cover letter, resume and completed application to Ian Sims, District Manager, at, and please call him with any questions, (530) 257-7271 ext. 100.

Sierra Forest Organizer!

The Sierra Forest Coalition is seeking a field organizer to help extend and build support for conservation in the central Sierra Nevada, to organize targeted constituencies in support of forest conservation and to increase public awareness and favorable media coverage about key conservation issues.

For more info, click here!

Botanical Jobs in the Sierra Nevada!

The Tahoe National Forest will hire a botany crew for the summer field season of 2017! Temporary Biological Science Technicians are needed for ~six months.

To download the full vacancy post, click here!

Environmental Incentives: Associate, Senior Associate, Marketing Specialist!

Environmental Incentives is seeking a marketing specialist, 1-2 full-time associates and 1-2 senior associates to join their South Lake Tahoe headquarters, and support wildlife and water programs.

Please review Associate, Senior Associate, and Marketing Specialist vacancy postings.


Start the Year Off Right, With Clean Energy!

Our energy concierge partner, MyDomino’s, mission is to reduce global fossil fuel use. They help individuals take meaningful actions to lower their carbon footprint and save money by switching to renewable energy. MyDomino is currently offering Alliance supporters a free one-year membership to their servces, and they’ll donate $50 to the Alliance on your behalf when you have a conversation with a MyDomino advisor (no purchase or obligation required). Your membership allows you to save money and the environment by following MyDomino's clean energy recommendations for your home, whether you rent or own. Use our Partner Code “ALLIANCE” at to redeem the offer, initiate the donation, and begin your switch to clean energy! The Sierra will thank you!

Environmental Justice Small Grants Program!

This program provides funding for eligible applicants for projects that address local environmental and public health issues within an affected community, helping communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks. Applications due January 31, 2017.

Land and Water Conservation Fund State and Local Assistance Program!

The National Park Service provides matching grants to states and through state to local governments for the acquisition and development of lands and waters for outdoor recreation purposes. Applications due February 3, 2017.

CA Energy Commission Funding Opportunity!

The Energy Commission’s Challenge program announces the availability to local governments of up to $10.2 million in grant funds for projects that stimulate innovation in building energy efficiency and developing or implementing climate action plans.
Applications Due March 6, 2017 by 5pm.
Pre-Application Workshop will be held Jan 12, 2017 in Sacamento.

Please click here for more info!

Truckee River Fund 2016 Request for Proposals!

The Community Foundation of Western Nevada is accepting proposals for grants from the Truckee River Fund. The mission of the Truckee River Fund is to protect and enhance water quality or water resources of the Truckee River or its watershed. Applicants must be registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit agencies, nonprofit educational institutions, or governmental entities.
Deadline for completed proposals is Aug 4, 2017, at noon.

Please click here for more info!


Become a 2017 Member Group of the Sierra Nevada Alliance!


Becoming a Member Group means becoming a part of a Sierra-wide network that works to protect and restore the Sierra Nevada region.

Being a part of a network like this comes with immeasurable benefits that have the potential to catalyze progress for both your organization and the region. Non-profit organizations whose work aligns with the mission of the Alliance are invited to apply. We are accepting applications for 2017 Member Groups until February 15, 2017. More information here.

California storms add 350 billion gallons to parched reservoirs

This story may be read in Paul Roger's
original publication with The Mercury News,
published 1/9/17 and updated 1/11/17.

The powerful storms that soaked Northern California over the past week did more than trigger power outages, mudslides and flash floods.

They sent roughly 350 billion gallons of water pouring into California’s biggest reservoirs — boosting their storage to levels not seen in years, forcing dam operators to release water to reduce flood risks and all but ending the five-year drought across much of Northern California, even though it remains in the south, experts said Monday.

“California is a dry state and probably always will be in most years, but we certainly don’t have a statewide drought right now,” said Jay Lund, a professor of engineering and director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis.

“We have to be careful about crying wolf here,” he said. “You have to maintain credibility with the public when there are critically dry years, so you have to call it like it is when conditions improve.”

On Monday much of the state began drying out from the weekend drenching that caused at least three fatalities and triggered flooding in Morgan Hill, Sonoma County, Yosemite and parts of the Sacramento Valley, even as forecasters said another storm system was coming in Tuesday. That new storm system should bring 1 to 2 inches of rain around much of the Bay Area, and up to 6 inches in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Big Sur, with more rain in the North Bay, tapering off Wednesday.

“It’s not going to be as heavy,” National Weather Service forecaster Steve Anderson said. “But even though the amount of rainfall will be less, the impact will still be there.”

Despite concerns that the weekend storm’s warmer temperatures would significantly deplete the Sierra Nevada snowpack, it grew significantly. Last Monday, it was 70 percent of historic average. This Monday, it had grown to a staggering 126 percent for this time of the year. In fact, since Oct. 1, more precipitation has fallen across the key watersheds of Northern California — eight areas from Lake Tahoe to Mount Shasta that feed many of the state’s largest reservoirs — so far this winter than any time since 1922, according to state totals.

In a typical year, that “Northern Sierra eight-station index” receives 50 inches of precipitation. As of Monday it was already at 40 inches — 199 percent of the historic average for this date — and running slightly above 1982-83 and 1997-98, both of which were marked by severe El Niño flooding. The rain and snow could shut off, as happened three years ago in January, although the reservoirs now are so full in many areas there wouldn’t be water shortages for several years.

Officially, California’s drought won’t end until Gov. Jerry Brown rescinds or revises the emergency drought declaration he signed in January 2014. Lund, of UC Davis, said that because other parts of the state — particularly Santa Barbara and other parts of Southern California — are still well short of rain and suffering from low reservoir levels, Brown should issue an updated drought declaration that reflects the regional differences. That is one of the options he is considering, said Nancy Vogel, a spokeswoman for the state Natural Resources Agency. But a decision may not be made until the end of the winter snow and rain season, she said.

“It’s early and the precipitation patterns could dry up at any time,” she said. “We’ll see where we are in March or April.”

Rain from Sunday’s storm fell in sheets at time, flooded roads and storm drains, and toppled trees. It fell most forcefully in the Big Sur area of Monterey County, dumping more than 12 1/2 inches over a 72-hour period. More than 9 3/4 inches fell in the Lexington Hills in Santa Clara County and more than 6 inches soaked areas of San Mateo County. In Contra Costa County, 4 1/2 inches of rain fell atop Mount Diablo, and 3 1/4 inches fell in Orinda. San Francisco and parts of Oakland saw 2 1/2 inches of rain. Only 1.03 inches fell at Mineta San Jose International Airport, but that still set a record for Jan. 8.

More importantly, the recent storms have sent reservoirs swelling. The 154 largest reservoirs tracked by the state Department of Water Resources added 1.1 million acre feet of water from Jan. 1 to Monday, boosting their capacity to 97 percent of historic average, said Maury Roos, longtime state hydrologist.

“It’s excellent news,” said Roos. “I don’t make the decision on the official drought, but from the Bay Area north we are in good shape for this time of the season.”

Specifically, Loch Lomond, the main reservoir serving Santa Cruz, filled to capacity. All seven reservoirs that serve the Marin Municipal Water District were 100 percent full. Pardee Reservoir, the main reservoir that provides water to 1.3 million people in Alameda and Contra Costa County, spilled on Monday. Lexington Reservoir, near Los Gatos, has gone up 31 feet since New Year’s Day, surging to 93 percent full from 42 percent full a week ago. Perhaps most dramatic was San Luis Reservoir, California’s fifth largest, located between Gilroy and Los Banos. Sitting at 10 percent full in August, it now is 66 percent full, having risen 134 feet. At current rates, it may fill to the top for the first time since 2011, said Roger George of Fresno, a professional guide who leads fishing trips for striped bass there.

“Back in August, it was scary. I was beginning to wonder if we were going to have a die-off of the fish,” he said. “Now it looks like an ocean.”

Similarly, the state’s second-largest reservoir, Oroville in Butte County, has risen 35 feet since New Year’s Day. It added 250,000 acre-feet of water over the weekend, enough for 1.3 million people’s needs for a year. It now stands at 64 percent full, or 102 percent of historic average.

On Monday, officials at Yosemite National Park announced they would reopen Yosemite Valley Tuesday morning. The park suffered some damage when the Merced River jumped its banks, but the flood levels were only two or three feet above flood stage, less than had been earlier feared.

Staff writers Patrick May, Rick Hurd and Eric Kurhi contributed to this report.

About The Sierra Nevada Alliance: Since 1993, the Sierra Nevada Alliance has been protecting and restoring Sierra lands, water, wildlife and communities. Our mission is to protect and restore the natural resources of the Sierra Nevada for future generations while promoting sustainable communities. We are truly an alliance. There are over eighty-five conservation-focused Member Groups that are based or work in the 400-mile mountain range that is the Sierra Nevada region.

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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Recent News

Climate Change

New California Dam Proposed to Combat Climate Change Concerns
News Deeply, Matt Weiser, 1/9/17

Sierra Link: Nevada Irrigation District, which serves two California counties, wants to build a new reservoir on the Bear River to capture rainfall, amid concerns that climate change is shrinking Sierra Nevada snowpack.

Obama’s lasting legacies in the West
High Country News, Elizabeth Shogren, 12/26/2016

Sierra Link: Under the 44th president, the West re-examined its relationship to energy and the climate. Eight years later, a new president-elect has dismissed climate change as a hoax, promised to revive coal and other extractive industries, and sworn to cut or gut the U.S. EPA.


Giant Sequoia ‘Tunnel Tree’ in California Is Toppled by Storm
The New York Times, Erin McCann, 1/9/17

Sierra Link: A giant ancient sequoia with a hollowed-out tunnel that drew thousands of visitors each year in California toppled over on Sunday during heavy rains, according to the Calaveras Big Trees Association.

How healthy riparian forests benefit California ranchers
Environmental Defense Fund, Evan Patrick, 1/5/17

Sierra Link: Riparian forests offer shade to cattle, provide critical erosion and flood control, sequester carbon and support abundant wildlife.


Ski areas add warm-weather options
High Country News, Allen Best, 1/9/17

Sierra Link: The Forest Service has made it easier for resorts to include summer activities. Looming over the shoulder of many ski areas, particularly those in the Sierra Nevada and at lower elevations elsewhere, is the specter of a changing climate.

LIVE COVERAGE: Blizzard, winter storm and flooding around Lake Tahoe, Northern Nevada
Tahoe Daily Tribune, Staff Report, 1/8/17

Sierra Link: This week’s winter storm continues with heavy amounts of snow amid a blizzard warning throughout the greater Tahoe-Truckee region. This article contains live storm impact updates from local agencies.


Out With the Old Drought and In With the New?
California WaterBlog, Jay Lund, 12/28/16

Sierra Link: We are just a few months into this year’s wet season, and progress has been great. Statewide, California is about 800,000 acre ft below average surface water storage for this time of year.

Weeks of rain are rapidly reviving California's drought-ravaged lakes
The Los Angeles Times, Louis Sahagun, Matt Stevens and Paige St. John, 1/11/17

Sierra Link: As of Tuesday morning, 154 of the largest reservoirs tracked by the California Department of Water Resources had filled to about 97% of their collective average for the day, said Maury Roos, a longtime state hydrologist. Just a year ago, many were at or below 50% of average.


Should grizzly bears be brought back into the Sierra Nevada?
The Los Angeles Times, Shelby Grad, 12/27/16

Sierra Link: In the Sierra foothill town of Three Rivers, a debate is raging over whether the time is ripe to reintroduce bigger and more aggressive California grizzly bears into the wilds of the Sierra Nevada.

Wild horses get favorable hearing in battle with California ranchers over sanctuary
Sacramento Bee, Michael Doyle, 1/11/17

Sierra Link: With tough questions and some pointed statements, three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit revealed their apparent skepticism about management of the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory in Modoc County.

Other Articles

By midweek at Mammoth, the sun was out, glinting off the 18 feet of snow that hold promise for the weekend
The Los Angeles Times, Chris Erskine, 1/11/2017

Sierra Link: The mega-storm that has blasted Mammoth Lakes and other outposts in the Eastern Sierra for eight straight days was easing up Wednesday. But the popular ski destination still faces two more days of snow, and power outages to more than 500 customers that began late Tuesday spilled into midday Wednesday.

This Place in California Has Higher Lead Poisoning Levels Than Flint
Teen Vogue, Ashley Paige, 12/30/2016

Sierra Link: A study by Reuters, found that people in the Fruitvale area of Oakland, Calif., are being exposed to potent levels of lead: 7.57% of the 500 children tested had high levels of lead in their blood — far higher than the national average (2.5%), the East Bay Times notes. The "legacy lead" problem is not limited to Fruitvale, however; it's all over California as well as the Sierra Nevada.

Sierra Nevada Alliance

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

phone: 530.542.4546

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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.