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October 4, 2017

Sierra Happenings

Events and Activities

Alpine Aspen Festival

The best of Alpine County shows up as the trees show off their fall finery during the annual Alpine Aspen Festival, presented by the Alpine Watershed Group (with the help of two of our 2016-17 SNAP members, Aly and Sarah)! Celebrate the trees that paint the Sierra with fall color at this two-day event in the heart of Hope Valley, always a top spot to catch the fall foliage show. Enjoy music, special events and activities, including Dutch-oven cooking, fly-fishing lessons, horseback riding, disc golf, and history & nature walks.

Date: October 7th - 8th
Location: Hope Valley, CA

Please click here for more info.

Truckee River Day and Fair

Join for a day of river, meadow and wetland restoration. Work side-by-side with other volunteers to plant restoration sites with seedlings and willows, mulch sensitive areas, and more. Projects start at either 9am or 11am and end between 2pm and 3pm. After the restoartion projects, head to the Granite Flat Campground (just outside Truckee) to the River Fair for environmental education activities, live music and entertainment, art projects, and more. Events presented by Truckee River Watershed Council and Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships.

Date: October 15th, 9 am - 3 pm
Location: Various locations around Truckee

Please click here for more details and to register (registration deadline is October 12th!).

CA Water Boards Public Meetings

Staff from the Central Valley and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Boards are collaborating on the development of permits to ensure water quality protection and regulatory compliance on lands managed by the USFS and BLM. They are hosting numerous upcoming public meetings related to this permit development project. These meetings will provide a brief background of the permit development process, permitting goals and will solicit public feedback. Meeting will be held in Susanville, Redding, Bishop, Rancho Cordova, Clovis, and Apple Valley.

Date: October through December
Location: Various, see flyer

Please click here for more info.

Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference

BECC is the premier event focused on understanding individual and organizational behavior and decision-making related to energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and sustainability. BECC brings together a range of academics, practitioners, and policymakers from a variety of fields engaged in energy and climate efforts in order to provide the latest and most relevant behavioral research, best practices, and methodologies.

Date: October 15th to 18th
Location: Sacramento, CA

For more details, click here!

UC Davis Riparian Summit 2017 - Confluence to Influence

The 3-day Summit provides an opportunity to share knowledge from multiple communities on the science, community values, and strategies for managing, protecting, and restoring California’s riparian corridors. It will feature plenary sessions, concurrent sessions, an art and science component, and opportunities for field activities.

Date: October 17th to 19th
Location: Davis, CA

For more information about the event and to register, please click here.

Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference: Preparing for Extreme Water Conditions

This conference will examine what it takes to prepare and manage for extremely low water availability as well as excessive runoff from the perspectives of municipal infrastructure, agriculture production, and riparian habitat maintenance and restoration. The conference will include a tour of the Truckee River from Lake Tahoe to Fallon, NV.

Date: October 19th to 20th
Location: Reno, NV

Please click here for more details and to review the agenda.

Symposium: Sacramento San Joaquin Delta and the Sierra Nevada Tributaries; “The Stressors and the Fix”

Join the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association as they analyze what science shows about flow, fish, the stressors and the fix necessary to achieve a healthy and sustainable Delta. Get the information first-hand from top experts in their field.

Date: October 27th
Location: Auburn, CA

Please click here for more details.

Winter Wildlands Alliance Grassroots Advocacy Conference

Join policy makers, athletes, grassroots activists, scientists, mountain guides, local elected officials and other recreation and conservation stakeholders from across the country for two full days of engaging workshops and discussions on issues important to winter recreation and public lands. Get the latest developments in policy and planning issues, share grassroots successes, meet with public land managers, gain new advocacy tools and spend quality lodge time with colleagues, partners, new friends and allies.

Date: November 9th to 12th
Location: Clair Tappaan Lodge, Donner Summit, CA

Please click here for more details and to register.

Taking on a Global Role: Working in Collaboration to Address Climate Change in California

This symposium will offer all those working towards reducing climate change, whether at the local, state or national level, the opportunity to assess California’s progress in achieving their strategies towards their vision to reduce greenhouse gases. The event will focus on development, shared experiences, lessons learned, challenges ahead, as well as the importance of partnership, research and innovation in reducing emissions and securing a sustainable future for all across the globe.

Date: February 6th
Location: Los Angeles, CA

For more information about the event, please click here.

Sierra Harvest’s Sustainable Food & Farm Conference

Since 2009, this conference has been created for people who value sustainably raised, local food and want to learn from regional and national leaders in the movement.

Date: February 9th to 11th
Location: Grass Valley, CA

Please click here for more info.

Job Announcements & Volunteer Opportunities

Land Use Planning Policy Associate / Senior Land Use Planning Policy Analyst

The League to Save Lake Tahoe (Keep Tahoe Blue) is seeking an experienced, highly-motivated and professional environmental land use expert to work as either a land use planning policy associate or senior land use planning policy analyst to join our program team. The position assists in the implementation of targeted campaigns and programs to help protect, restore and advocate for the health of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

For more info, click here.

Groundwater Modeler

Dudek is seeking a hydrogeologist or engineer in any of their California offices to conduct numerical modeling of saturated and unsaturated groundwater flow. Offices in Auburn, La Quinta, Los Angeles, Oakland, Orange County, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, and Santa Barbara.

For more info, please click here.


Petition: Encourage the Truckee to Commit to 100% Renewable!

Sign this petition today to encourage Truckee to be the third community in the Sierra to pledge 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and renewable energy by 2050! The Alliance is excited to be working Sierra-wide to organize community coalitions towards this goal as part of our Climate Program. Our goal is to obtain at least 1000 signatures on this petition and a unanimous vote by Truckee Town Council this fall.

Sign the petition here!

CA DWR Land Use Viewer

The new California DWR Land Use Viewer has been unveiled, giving users access to 30 years of county land use data. The viewer is equipped with filters that provide information on specific crop information, or illustrate how land use has changed over the years. The information will be especially helpful for groundwater sustainability agencies.

Nevada State Parks Grant Opportunity

Approximately $1.2 million in funding is available for the 2018 fiscal year. The program funds motorized, non-motorized, and educational recreational trail projects.

Applications due: October 26, 2017

For more info, please click here.

CalTrans Grant Opportunity

Announcing Climate Change Adaptation Planning Grants ($20 million over three years) to local and regional agencies for climate change adaptation planning. This funding will advance adaptation planning on California’s transportation infrastructure, including but not limited to roads, railways, bikeways, trails, bridges, ports, and airports.

For more info and elegibility information, click here!


A Note from the Alliance's Executive Director, Jenny Hatch


Happy fall to all Alliance partners and friends! I have enjoyed traveling the Sierra and getting to know more of you over the spring and summer months. Our Annual Member Group Meeting and Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) graduation events in Markleeville in September were informative and fun. A big thank you to Alpine Watershed Group for hosting us and helping to organize a work day collecting willows for their Markleeville Creek Restoration Day!

At the Sierra Nevada Alliance, we are preparing to welcome our 11th SNAP Member group of 28 participants this month, beginning to plan our Biannual Sierra-Wide Conference next summer, and our Climate and Advocacy programs are also growing in their impact Sierra-wide. We look forward to engaging with many of you in the coming year to bolster these efforts. In addition, we will be implementing a series of Member Group trainings beginning next month, via webinar. Stay tuned!

Finally, I wanted to share a wonderful personal story and congratulate a dear friend. Ten years ago, I was the Invasive Species Program Manager at the Tahoe Resource Conservation District. We participated as a host site for the first class of SNAP Members through the Sierra Nevada Alliance. We selected Nicole Cartwright as one of those members. Nicole hailed from Chico and always had a love for the Sierra. She helped initiate and grow a fledgling program that later became known nationally for it's effectiveness and scope in preventing and controlling aquatic invasive species in Lake Tahoe. At the end of Nicole's year of service, we hired her on as a full-time employee at Tahoe RCD. Nicole stayed long after I had moved on. Additionally, Nicole currently serves on the Alliance Board of Directors as Vice President and she was on the selection committee for hiring me last year. We were pleased to learn recently that Nicole was promoted to Executive Director of the Tahoe Resource Conservation District. Through her work, Nicole has made a tremendous impact in the Sierra and the Alliance is excited to see where this new position takes her. My heart is full of pride for Nicole and the SNAP Program. The leaders this program develops and the impact they make in the Sierra is hard to express in mere words. Nicole is the pinnacle example of this.

If you have any questions about the work the Alliance is currently doing or would like to get involved, please feel free to reach out to me at

Part agitator, part consensus builder, Bill Center remembered as Sierra Nevada advocate


An Introduction from Doug Carstens, Alliance Board President:

The world and the Sierra suffered a great loss with the passing of Bill Center. I knew him through the Sierra Nevada Alliance and the Planning and Conservation League. He was always ready with a smile and a kind and supportive word. We would like to present this obituary written by a person who knew him well and join in his loving memory.

Original obituary, below, by Cathy Locke of the Sacramento Bee.

Bill Center served a term as an El Dorado County supervisor, but friends and colleagues say it was his decades as an activist advocating for regional planning and environmental causes that helped shape the county and the future of the Sierra Nevada.

Center, an avid whitewater rafter who with his wife, Robin, owned and operated Camp Lotus Lodge and Campground, a rafting resort near Coloma, died Sept. 18 of stomach cancer. He was 68.

Often a lightning rod in the county’s struggles over growth and land use, Center was an author of Measure Y, approved by county voters in 1998, which requires developers to pay the cost of improving roads to handle the additional traffic their projects cause. In the 1970s and ’80s, he led the fight against a series of water projects and hydroelectric dams that he feared would harm the American River environment and recreational activities, including rafting.

Critics characterized him as a agitator, who often worked behind the scenes, said Ron Briggs, a former county supervisor, who, like Center, represented communities including Cool, Coloma and Lotus – an area popular with rafters, equestrians, hikers and bicyclists. Briggs said Center led by inspiring and empowering people.

The two met when their children were members of a swim team.

“There was no politics in the relationship,” Briggs said. “He was pretty liberal and I’m pretty conservative, but when it came to El Dorado County, we were in agreement.”

Briggs said Center stressed the importance of looking ahead, to envision what life in the county, and throughout the Sierra, would be like in 50 or 100 years. “Bill always had a full command of the facts,” Briggs said. “I always hated to argue with him.”

Center’s father, Norman Robert Center, was a conservationist who ran Camp Mather near Yosemite for the city of San Francisco, and his mother, Emily McDermott Minton Center, was a teacher. Bill Center was born July 19, 1949, in Berkeley and was the youngest of three children. He spent most of his youth in Fort Bragg, and was an exchange student in Christchurch, New Zealand, for a year in high school, said his daughter, Rebecca Foster. He attended Stanford University, but left after two years. Center later
attended Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University. He earned an associate degree in creative writing, but began leading rafting trips on Sierra rivers.

“The thing that struck me was to see incredibly natural, unspoiled
places,” Center said in a 2000 story in The Sacramento Bee. “You
experience going through darkened caves, through clouds of hatching mayflies, past incredible limestone cliffs, and you are awestruck. There
is a major confluence between people and place, and it really does
change people’s lives.”

His activism began in the 1970s when he was part of a losing fight to stop construction of the New Melones Dam on the Stanislaus River. The effort led him to help start Friends of the River, which fought the Auburn Dam and other water projects.

Center and his wife settled in El Dorado County in 1976. They lived for a year in a teepee near the American River in Coloma, before building a house that had sod roofing and solar power. They purchased Camp Lotus in 1978. Center also was operations manager for ARTA river trips and was a co-founder of California River Trips, providing free river excursions with ARTA guides as fundraisers for local environmental, peace, Sierra Club and other nonprofit groups in the county. Over the years, Foster said, her parents employed hundreds of young people at Camp Lotus during the summer, and her father was a mentor to many.

Center ran for county supervisor in 1990 and won an upset victory over Gene Chappie, the appointed incumbent and a veteran of nearly 40 years in politics. Chappie had first served on the Board of Supervisors in the 1950s, and later as an assemblyman and congressman. Center contended Chappie’s real estate development activities conflicted with his job as a county supervisor reviewing proposed developments, while Chappie’s supporters questioned whether Center, as a rafting operator, could objectively oversee future water development projects in the county.

Center lost a re-election bid in 1994 in a backlash over logging cutbacks and his slow-growth policies.

His activism kicked into high gear after he left office. In 1998, he worked successfully to pass Measure Y, to control traffic congestion by forcing developers to pay the cost of new roads, and to defeat Measure W, which would have cut commercial rafting on the south fork of the American River by more than 50 percent.

Over the years, Center came to be viewed as more consensus builder
than agitator. When Measure Y, which included a sunset clause,
returned to the ballot in 2008, Briggs said he asked Center to serve on a committee along with developers to modify the measure. While Measure Y ensured that developers paid for roads needed for growth, it also made it tougher for the county to reach its affordable housing goals and attract commercial development.

Center told The Bee in 2008 that he supported modifications that would encourage affordable housing that could help reduce commute traffic on roadways and commercial development that is needed to keep tax
dollars in the county.

Briggs noted that there was no ballot argument against the 2008 version of Measure Y and it passed it by a wider margin than in 1998.

“I always told Bill that his name was apropos,” said Howard Penn,
executive director of the Planning and Conservation League and a
longtime friend of Center. “He was the center of our community, the
center of discussion and debate. He had enough knowledge to bring
people together to find the center. As he got older and wiser, he was
able to do that with a quieter voice.”

Center, who served on boards and committees with numerous organizations, was secretary-treasurer of the Planning and Conservation League at the time of his death, and he served on the advisory board of the Sierra Nevada Alliance.

Foster said her father also was a co-founder of the Coloma-based American River Conservancy, which has purchased land along the river.

“His reach was so broad,” Briggs said. “As I talk to people in the environmental community, he was like the godfather.”

In addition to his wife, Robin of Coloma, and daughter, Rebecca Foster of San Francisco, Center is survived by his son, Charlie Center of Lotus, sister Sue Brown of Santa Rosa, brother Bob Center of Grass Valley and five grandchildren. Foster said her brother, an attorney, joined the family business in February, and he and his mother will continue to operate
Camp Lotus.

Foster said a memorial gathering for her father is planned, but no date had been set.

Win two free VIP tickets to our March 2018 Wild and Scenic Film Festival in S. Lake Tahoe!


To show our appreciation for our supporters, all donations to the Alliance of $100 or more between now and November 1st will earn an entry into a drawing for 2 free VIP tickets to our 13th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival in South Lake Tahoe in March 2018!

Our Wild and Scenic Film Festival combines award-winning environmental and adventure films with the energy of local activism. Featured films will include exciting outdoor adventures, environmental battles and inspirational stories of people making a difference. The film festival and all donations support the Alliance’s work to protect and restore the Sierra.

Donate here today!

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 Carley O'Connell, Program Associate with the Sierra Nevada Alliance.
If you have articles, events or announcements that you would like included in this newsletter or if you have feedback,
please email Carley.

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Recent News

Climate Change

U.S. Climate Change Policy: Made in California
Hiroko Tabuchi, The New York Times, 9/27/17

Sierra Link: The nation’s most dynamic environmental regulator may be right here in California.

Will Climate Change Make Rockslides Worse?
Rachel Gutman, The Atlantic, 10/2/17

Sierra Link: Despite the frequency of rockfalls, there is a possibility that warming temperatures and an unstable climate could cause even more rockfalls at Yosemite and worldwide.


Finally, a focus on saving the great forests of the Sierra. Is it too late?
Staff, Sacramento Bee, 9/21/17

Sierra Link: There is an urgent need to reform policy and management to ensure that Californians continue to benefit from these forests for generations to come.

Genetic probe of redwoods, giant sequoias is key to restoring forests
Peter Fimrite, SF Chronicle, 9/26/17

Sierra Link: Scientists are attempting for the first time to sequence the genomes of coast redwood trees and giant sequoias, a complex and expensive undertaking that experts hope will help preserve the trees’ ancient groves as the climate changes over the next century.


‘E-motion’ brings electric-powered boating to Lake Tahoe
Justin Scacco, Sierra Sun, 10/1/17

Sierra Link: Tahoe has long been a favorite playground for boating enthusiasts, but over the last month and a half, one boat in particular has been turning heads around the lake's western shores.

Is Rock Climbing Bad for Cliffs?
Greg Epperson, Sierra Magazine, 9/21/17

Sierra Link: Cliff ecosystems are home to some of the oldest and rarest plant species in the world. Their verticality may have spared them logging and agriculture, but it’s made them irresistible for an entirely different kind of human activity.


Kirkwood Mountain Resort fined nearly $755K over wetlands contamination
Claire Cudahy, Sierra Sun, 9/24/17

Sierra Link: Kirkwood Mountain Resort was fined $754,732 in July for contamination to a nearby creek discovered last spring.

Why Disappearing Sierra Nevada Meadows Are Bad News for Water
Matt Weiser, News Deeply, 9/25/17

Sierra Link: Meadows play an important role in water storage and flood prevention. But a new study shows that warming temperatures and resulting tree encroachment could doom these landscapes, except at very high elevations.


A win-win for spotted owls and forest management
Staff,, 10/4/17

Sierra Link: Remote sensing technology has detected what could be a win for both spotted owls and forestry management, according to a recent study by UC Davis, USFS, and the University of Washington.

Interior Readies Gut of Sage Grouse Management Plan
Matthew Renda, Courthouse News Service, 9/28/17

Sierra Link: The Department of Interior is poised to overhaul the management plans of sage grouse habitat in 10 different states, a move that figures to have dramatic implications for land-use decisions in the American West.

Other Articles

Parasites in Peril
Eva Rendle, California Magazine, Fall 2017

Parasites are as vulnerable to climate change as other species, learn more here.

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.