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September 16, 2015

Sierra Happenings

Events and Activities

The Great Sierra River Cleanup 2015!!

The Great Sierra River Cleanup is the state's largest volunteer event, focused on restoring Sierra Nevada waterways. This event coordinates thousands of volunteers throughout the Sierra and along adjacent coastal areas. Over six years, more than 24,000 volunteers have removed nearly 700 tons of trash and recyclables from 22 counties and over 2,200 river miles.

Date: September 19th, 2015
Place: Many locations available!

Please Click here for more info and to choose your location.

2nd Annual Alpine Aspen Festival

The festival features events throughout the weekend that celebrate the natural beauty, ecology and history of Alpine County. Live music and other free activities will be located at our expo on Blue Lakes Road in Hope Valley.

Date: Oct 10 & 11, 2015
Location: Alpine County, CA

The Alpine Watershed Group seeks organizations interested in participating, volunteers, and is also offerring sponsorships.

For more information, click here, or contact Nicole Lutkemuller!

2015 Tahoe Science Conference!

The Tahoe Science Consortium, University of Nevada, Reno and the Desert Research Institute will host the 2015 Tahoe Science Conference, “Tahoe Science in a Changing Climate.” The 2015 Conference will encourage creative dialogue among scientists, environmental managers, public officials and the general public.

Date: Sep 21-23, 2015
Location: Joe Crowley Student Union, University of Nevada, Reno

To register for the conference, click here , or review the agenda here!

Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program Webinar!

The Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program is a coordinated, integrated, collaborative program to restore the health of California’s primary watershed through increased investment and needed policy changes. This webinar will discuss present and future plans for the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program and complementary California Headwaters Designation.

Date: October 8th
Location: Please RSVP by October 5th to receive Webinar access information

To review the agenda, visit the webinar page.
For more information, click here!

Job Announcements & Volunteer Opportunities

Associate Environmental Planner!

Caltrans seeks an Associate Environmental Planner in their Yuba County office. Incumbent will assess impacts of transportation projects on biological resources and assist recommendations for appropriate environmental approvals and permits in compliance with state and federal laws.

Job description and application info here

Environmental Scientist!

The Department of Fish and Wildlife seeks an environmental scientist in their Inyo County office.

Job description and application info here.

Natural Resources Social Science Intern!

The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment is currently hiring for a Natural Resources Social Science Intern. The intern will support the organization’s social science work, which occurs within context of natural resource management and rural development at the local, regional, and state-wide levels.

Job description and application info here.


California Water Policy Challenge with Imagine H2O!

Imagine H2O's Challenge will source policy ideas accelerating the deployment of water technologies to combat California's drought.

Enter the Competition:
-Policy briefs of 1000 words (or less)
-Solutions leading to broad implementation
-Plausible, measurable tech adoption impact
-Entries deadline: September 30, 2015

Awards & Benefits:
-$25,000 in cash and grants
-Introductions to funders, advocacy organizations and other stakeholders
-Visibility to elected officials and industry leaders through media coverage and participation in a policy showcase event
-Expert feedback and coaching

More information available here

Switzer Foundation Leadership Grant Program!

The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation created the Leadership Grant Program to help advance the professional careers of Switzer Fellows and to give non-profit organizations, educational institutions and government agencies greater access to individuals with superior technical, scientific or policy expertise. Grants are awarded to organizations actively addressing issues of environmental quality to implement programs designed collaboratively with Switzer Fellows.

More information available here.

State To Host Updated AB 32 Scoping Plan Workshop!

The California EPA, California State Transportation Agency, California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, California Natural Resources Agency, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Air Resources Board, and Governor's Office of Planning and Research are hosting a community workshop to continue moving forward with the updated AB 32 Scoping Plan, which reflects California's new goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, as directed in Executive Order B-30-15. The meeting is open to the public and full participation by all parties is encouraged.

The workshop will be held on October 1st at the Secretary of State building in Sacramento

Learn more here!


The Alliance's 21st Conference: Back to Our Roots

Keynote Speakers & Conference Agenda!

September 25 & 26, 2015

Click here to Register online now

Registration Rates going up!

Don't forget to register online for the Sierra Nevada Alliance's 21st Conference, September 25-26th, 2015 at the North Tahoe Event Center, 8318 North Lake Boulevard, Kings Beach, CA 96143. 

Register by this Friday before prices go up again!  Last minute ticket sales and Walk-In rates are the same for members and non members. All the event details are online at

Alliance or Member Group Member Pricing

  • Regular: One Day – $72 or Two Days – $120 – available until September 18th
  • Walk In: One Day – $105 or Two Days – $175 – September 19-26th

Non Member Pricing

  • Regular: One Day – $90 or Two Days – $150 – available until September 18th
  • Walk In: One Day – $105 or Two Days – $175 – September 19-26th
If you're still looking for accommodation during the event, we've put together a list which includes Nearby Hotels and Campgrounds close to Kings Beach.

Conference Program Highlights:

Featured speakers on the Conference Opening Panel include: Michael Anderson, State Climatologist of the CA Department of Water Resources; Lucy Blake, President of the Northern Sierra Partnership; Debbie Franco, Community and Rural Affairs Advisor for the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research; and Dr. Malcolm North, Research Plant Ecologist at the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station.

Friday's Closing Keynote Speaker, Elizabeth "Izzy" Martin will build a case for how the Sierra Nevada Alliance can continue to effectively advocate for the Sierra, by increasing visibility in the CA State legislature.

This year's conference attendees will have an opportunity to hear from our Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) members, and participate in a Member Group Planning Session facilitated by the Alliance Executive Director, Peter Van Zant and Calaveras County Supervisor Christopher Wright.

Click here to check out the full 2-Day Agenda

Don't forget your checkbook!

Again this year, the Alliance is bringing back our Annual Silent Auction to help cover our costs and keep the conference affordable. Over 20 spectacular auction items, including art, wine, clothing and outdoor equipment will be on display during the entire 2-day event, so don't forget your checkbooks!
If you would like to donate an item, please send an email to:
Remember, auction item donations are tax deductible!

Volunteer Opportunities:

We're still looking for a couple more volunteers to help put on this event! 
By volunteering for a shift of 4 hours or more, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy this event for free. Benefits include great networking opportunities, educational and inspirational speakers, good food, and a beautiful Lake Tahoe venue.

Positions available include:

  • Tech Assistant
  • Note Taker
  • Setup/Teardown
  • Where needed

Volunteer positions are filling quickly. To volunteer with us, please send an email to ASAP, with your availability and preferred volunteer position.  (We will do our best to meet your request!)


A few Scholarships are still available!  Apply today by emailing your inquiry to Amber Taxiera at to receive a copy of the application form.

The scholarships will cover the conference registration fee for the full event (including meals) and provide some support for travel.  Applicants should only apply if they would not be able to attend without this assistance.
Read the full Scholarship Program Details here
For questions or more information please contact Amber Taxiera, Conference Director at or call (530) 265-8454 ext. 216

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

Climate Change Could Put Tribes’ Electric Systems at Risk
Climate Central, Bobby Magill, 9/8/15

Sierra Link: Heat waves, extreme storms, wildfire and other effects of climate change pose major threats to the electric power systems in Native American communities across the country, most significantly in the West and Southwest, according to a new U.S. Department of Energy report. How can we prevent our communities from going dark?

In Parched California, a Farmer’s Market Is Emerging for Power
The Washington Post, Jonathan N. Crawford and Kelly Gilblom, 9/3/15

Sierra Link: California's drought is depleting easy-to-reach surface water, forcing growers in the country’s largest fruit- and vegetable-producing state to almost double reliance on underground supplies. Pumping water from very deep wells is energy intensive, boosting electricity demand by hundreds of millions of dollars. How might this demand affect us in the Sierra?

Study finds Sierra snowpack at 500-year low
The Sacramento Bee, Phillip Reese, 9/14/15

Sierra Link: Not since at least the days of Christopher Columbus has there been so little snow as this past winter on California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, according to a new scientific study. On April 1, when the California snowpack generally has reached its greatest depths, the Sierra snowpack was at 5 percent of normal.


Severe Wildfires Not Increasing in Western Dry Forests, Study Finds
PR Newswire, Dr. William Baker, 9/9/15

Sierra Link: It is widely assumed that severe wildfires are increasing, but newly published research shows that severe fires from 1984-2012 burned at rates less frequent than historical rates in dry forests (low-elevation pine and dry mixed-conifer forests) of the western USA overall, and that severity did not increase during this period. This research resonates in our Sierra Nevada forests.

Butte, Valley fire crews gain ground as some residents allowed back home
The Sacramento Bee, Tony Bizjak, Bill Lindelof, Dale Kasler, Richard Chang and Ryan Lillis, 9/15/15

Sierra Link: Backed by an air and land assault, firefighters gained ground against two major Northern California fires Tuesday, and began allowing some evacuated residents back into their neighborhoods. But officials warn that the fires remain dangerous and may whip up again as temperatures rise later this week.

Firestorm Leaves ‘Mass Destruction’ in California
Climate Central, Bobby Magill, 9/14/15

Sierra Link: The catastrophic wildfires burning in California, which killed at least one person over the weekend and injured several others, are being fueled by high temperatures, strong winds and years of withering drought influenced by climate change. We have seen this in our own communities lately.


A displaced California tribe reclaims sacred land
High Country News, Ana Maria Spagna, 9/14/15

Sierra Link: After more than a decade of trying, the Mountain Maidu, a small and federally unrecognized tribe, had reclaimed title to Humbug Valley, a 4,500-foot-elevation sacred valley, from Pacific Gas & Electric Company. This moving story illustrates this great Sierra success for us all.

More than 155,000 trout die at American River Hatchery
The Sacramento Bee, Ryan Sabalow, 9/8/15

Sierra Link: An estimated 155,000 rainbow trout suffocated in a matter of minutes Tuesday at the American River Hatchery due to an unexpected release from Folsom Dam that clogged water intakes. Rainbow trout are crucial to our Sierra Nevada watersheds, and hatcheries were already struggling with inventory. This chilling mistake reminds us to be careful.


Big ruckus over little streams
High Country News, Jodi Peterson, 9/4/15

Sierra Link: A new EPA rule to regulate US waterways has provoked a pile of lawsuits. 13 states have already filed suits to block the rule, which would give more Federal jurisdiction over our nation’s small waterways under the Clean Water Act. The Sierra is full of small streams likely to be affected by this rule, as well as its backlash.

Despite drought, California has record high crop revenue
USA Today, Ian James of the Desert Sun, 8/26/15

Sierra Link: Even with hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland left dry during the most severe drought on record, California farmers have been bringing in record-high revenue from crops, according to a recent study. How does this address demands we have felt in the Sierra?

Water and Power: The Sierra Nevada's historic low
The Los Angeles Times, Alice Walton, 9/15/15

Sierra Link: This article discusses the Sierra's historic low, fire damage, and drought poll numbers, among other informative topics like fire-affected children and thirsty animals. It is sad but pertinent to us this week.


Caltrans proposes wildlife overpass on 101 Freeway
The Los Angeles Times, Martha Groves, 9/2/15

Sierra Link: Mountain lions, bobcats and other wildlife would have less chance of becoming roadkill if the state adopts a plan to build a landscaped bridge over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills, claim state agencies, elected officials and wildlife advocates, urging the state to provide the much-needed link in an area where rampant development and highways have fragmented once-continuous habitat.

Feds scramble to avoid another mass salmon die-off in the Sacramento River
The Sacramento Bee, The Associated Press, 9/5/15

Sierra Link: Despite the focus on fallowed farms and withered lawns, native fish have most direly suffered in California’s protracted drought. The lack of snowmelt, warmer temperatures and persistent demand leave many of the state’s reservoirs, streams and rivers hotter than normal. This has threatened the existence of 18 native species of fish, the native Chinook salmon among them.

Other Articles

Photo Gallery: Valley fire destruction Sept. 13
The Sacramento Bee, Randy Pench, 9/13/15

Sierra Link: These photos are chilling. And they speak volumes. You can help: For more info on donation avenues, click here.

Quick video explanation of El Nino forecast for West Coast
The Sacramento Bee, Bill Lindelof, 9/3/15

Sierra Link: Representatives from the National Weather Service and the Department of Water Resources provide a two-minute video explanation of the El Nino predicted for California.

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.