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December 13, 2017

Sierra Happenings

Events and Activities

Alliance's Wild & Scenic Film Festival in South Lake Tahoe

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 supports the Alliance’s work to protect and restore the Sierra through our Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership.

Date: March 30th
Location: MontBleu, South Lake Tahoe

Please click here for more details.

Webinar: 100% Renewable, 100% Doable - How to Start Your 100% Committed Campaign

This webinar, through the Climate Reality Project, will highlight the experience of a Climate Reality Leader who has helped win a 100% Committed campaign in her own community, while staff share what you might need to start your own campaign. The Alliance is currently coordinating 100% renewable energy campaigns around the Sierra. We have already gained committments from South Lake Tahoe, Nevada City, and Truckee. Watch this webinar and reach out to us to help start this campaign in your town!

Date: December 15th at 5pm (Eastern Time)
Please click here for more details.

Public Lands Alliance Convention

The Public Lands Alliance Convention and Trade Show brings together nonprofits, land management agencies and companies to learn, network and engage on public lands issues.

Date: February 25th - March 1st
Location: Palm Springs, CA

Please click here for more details and to register.

California Adaptation Forum

The biennial California Adaptation Forum gathers the adaptation community to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and mutual support to create resilient communities throughout the state. The Forum offers a series of engaging plenaries, sessions, networking opportunities, workshops, and tours to support our transition from adaptation awareness and planning to action.

Date: August 28th - 29th
Location: Sacramento, CA

Please click here for more details.

Job Announcements & Volunteer Opportunities

Western Watersheds Project - California Director

The California Director will expand and continue WWP’s campaign to protect and restore public lands in California and parts of Nevada, particularly in the context of reining in livestock grazing and related environmental problems. The position will entail administrative and legal oversight of federal decisions, fieldwork, data collection and analysis, participation in agency planning processes, media outreach and legislative advocacy.

For more info, click here.

California Program Coordinator - Defenders of Wildlife

This professional-level position is responsible for conducting outreach and education to diverse communities, and assisting with wildlife conservation and climate change policy for the California Program of Defenders of Wildlife. Through constituency building, public education, and strategic communications, the California Program Coordinator will strengthen Defenders’ wildlife conservation and climate change advocacy. This position also will assist in the development environmental advocacy campaigns, legislative efforts, and policy.

For more info, click here.

Conservation Project Associate - Audubon California

The Conservation Project Associate is an integral member of Audubon California’s Working Lands Team, supporting projects to enhance the habitat value of managed wetlands and agricultural lands for birds and other wildlife. This position is based in Sacramento, California and is open until filled.

For more info, please click here.

Volunteers Needed for Winter Trek and Ski with a Ranger in South Lake Tahoe

The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is looking for volunteers to assist with our Winter Trek and Ski with a Ranger conservation education programs at Heavenly Mountain Resort from January through March 2018.

For more info, please contact Reanna Suela at


UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center Accepting Applications for Youth Science Institute

In the Youth Science Institute, high school students will work with scientists, conduct science experiments, take a ride on the UC Davis research vessel, experience our 3-D visualization lab, share science activities with other students and much more! TERC offers a 16-week afterschool program January through May. Apply by Jan. 12th.

For more information, please click here!

Petition: Protect Our Mountains - Help MAP Challenge Martis Valley West

Support Mountain Area Preservation's (MAP) efforts to challenge the approval of the Martis Valley West Parcel Specific Plan project, a 760-unit development located on the pristine Brockway Summit ridgeline, straddling Lake Tahoe and Martis Valley. Impacts to Lake Tahoe including increased traffic, public safety hazards, severe fire danger, diminished lake clarity and loss of our starry nights, highlight the detrimental damage this project will have on the region.

Sign the petition here!

RFP: Rose Foundation's Central Valley Disadvantaged Community Water Quality Grants Program

In partnership with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB), Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment has developed a grants program to support disadvantaged communities working on water quality issues throughout the Central Valley. Letters of Inquiry due by December 20th.

To view the RFP, please click here.

USACE Watershed Analysis Tool Available

The Watershed Analysis Tool (HEC-WAT) software developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a model integration tool that allows multi-disciplinary teams to perform water resources studies. HEC-WAT accomplishes this through a framework that provides the user with the ability to perform studies in a comprehensive, systems-based approach. The HEC-WAT is now available for free download.

To learn more, please click here.


SNAP Spotlight: Ben Jensen and Kaitlin Raven of the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation!

Restoration in the El Dorado National Forest


Kaitlin and Ben at the CSNC office.

Ben Jensen and Kaitlin Raven are Restoration Technicians at the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation (CSNC) in Placerville, California. Kaitlin also serves as the Stewardship Assistant for CSNC.

Ben earned his BS in Wildlife Biology, with a minor in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, from the University of Vermont in 2015. Following graduation, Ben worked in the retail warehouse of a gear shop in Burlington, VT for close to two years before his desire to work outside got the better of him. Looking to explore and live in a different part of the country, the opportunity to work with CSNC in the Sierra provided the ideal opportunity for Ben, who eagerly packed up and drove west.

Kaitlin earned her BS in Environmental Studies from Florida State University in 2016. Since then she has been moving back and forth across the country following Americorps opportunities focusing on Environmental projects. She worked for six months with the American Conservation Experience as an Invasive Vegetation Management intern at Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona where she aided in efforts to eradicate Buffelgrass from the desert. After Arizona, she picked up and moved to the frigid northeast to work for the Student Conservation Association New Hampshire Americorps, a residential corps focusing on environmental education in the winter, and field conservation work in the summer and fall. She jumped on the opportunity to move back out west and is excited for the adventure the next year brings.


Ben and Kaitlin out in El Dorado National Forest;
above is an example of a site in need of their restoration work.

The primary work Ben and Kaitlin do with CSNC is based around evaluating, restoring, and monitoring sites within Eldorado National Forest. Most often, this means closing undesignated Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) roads and trails. This includes disguising vehicle tracks, creating exclusions at entry points, transplanting vegetation, scattering woody debris, and covering bare ground. To accomplish these restoration actions, Kaitlin and Ben use a variety of hand tools to collect debris and disguise tracks, as well as rigging equipment to pull fallen trees across the undesignated trail. Their restoration work also includes shutting down dispersed campsites by removing fire rings and trash to discourage people from creating new OHV tracks and disturbances in the area. This helps decrease erosion and sediment deposition into sensitive riparian areas. Additionally, Kaitlin and Ben collect data and photos to track the progress at each site and monitor the recovery effort, as well as document any new disturbances or travel on undesignated routes.


CSNC volunteers aiding in a restoration project with the previous SNAP members.

Kaitlin and Ben will also host monthly volunteer events in the Spring and Summer to bring groups into Eldorado National forest, where participants will get hands on experience doing restoration work. Over the years, CSNC volunteers have worked to restore forest habitat by cleaning up trash, repairing damage from undesignated vehicle use, planted native species, and helped remove noxious weeds. They have played a key role in recent restoration accomplishments. This year, Kaitlin will be implementing new strategies to recruit local youth volunteers for these events, hoping to involve them in restoration activities in their community. She plans to establish a partnership with local schools and businesses to expand the CSNC’s volunteer efforts.

The CSNC also plans to host their annual fundraiser in May, which Kaitlin will be helping to plan. Look out for further details in the coming months about the fundraiser on the CSNC website and Facebook page.

Make a Year-End Gift to the Alliance Today!


What better way to ring in the new year than by donating to an organization working to protect and restore the Sierra for future generations?

Donate to the Alliance here!

Supporting the Alliance this Giving Tuesday means supporting…

  • Our Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership which conducts on-the-ground watershed restoration and environmental education;

  • Our Grassroots Advocacy and Regional Climate Change Programs which work with cities throughout the Sierra on transitioning to 100% renewable energy;

  • Our Member Group Support Program which allows us to help other groups in the Sierra build capacity and expand their impact;

  • And so much more of the work we do!
  • For additional information about how your donation truly makes a difference, please contact us at or (530) 542-4546. Thank you for considering supporting the Sierra Nevada Alliance this holiday season!

    Check out this video about the Alliance's work here!

    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

    Sierra Lost Water Weight, Grew Taller During Drought
    NASA JPL, Yuba Net, 12/13/17

    Sierra Link: Loss of water from the rocks of California’s Sierra Nevada caused the mountain range to rise nearly an inch (24 millimeters) in height during the drought years from October 2011 to October 2015, a new NASA study finds.

    California Losing 2 Million Trees a Month as Drought-Related Plague Drags On
    Kurtis Alexander, SF Gate, 12/11/17

    Sierra Link: The U.S. Forest Service announced Monday that 27 million trees died over the past 13 months after five dry years left them severely dehydrated and vulnerable to bark beetle attack. The unprecedented casualties, which run rampant across the Sierra Nevada as well as parts of the coast, have turned patches of forest into a somber rust color for mile after mile.


    California is Losing its Prized Rural Forestland, One Luxury Home and One Ski Run at a Time
    Jane Braxton Little, Sacramento Bee, 12/1/17

    Sierra Link: California values forests. From coastal stands of iconic redwoods to high-elevation pines, trees cover 33 million acres, nearly one-third of the state. Lawmakers have historically recognized the critical role private forests play in the state’s economy and beyond: providing water and wildlife habitat, storing carbon, creating and retaining soil; but things may be changing.

    Sierra Nevada Forests Rely on Nutrients From Windborne Dust
    University of Wyoming, Yuba Net, 12/7/17

    Sierra Link: Trees growing atop the Bald Mountain Granite in the southern Sierra Nevada rely on nutrients from windblown atmospheric dust — more than 50 percent — compared to nutrients provided from underlying bedrock. University of Wyoming researchers led a study that found this surprising result by measuring the isotopes of neodymium in the bedrock, soil, dust and pine needles in living trees.


    Winter Tourism Diversifying on Tahoe’s South Shore
    Claire Cudahy, The Record-Courier

    Sierra Link: For decades, skiing and gaming have dominated the winter tourism scene on Lake Tahoe's South Shore, but with travelers hitting the slopes and slots less and climate change threatening snowfall, travel experts say that's changing.

    You Should Know About Valley Fever
    Jack Haskel, Pacific Crest Trail Association, 12/23/16

    Sierra Link: When it comes to Valley fever, awareness is key. Unfortunately, too few people know much of anything about it. A fungus that lives in the soil throughout the Southwest causes this terrible lung infection. The Pacific Crest Trail likely passes through areas where this fungus exists.


    A Tale of Two Fires: How Wildfires Can Both Help and Harm Our Water Supply
    Gabrielle Boisrame, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, 12/3/17

    Sierra Link: Not all news is bad when it comes to the interactions between fire and water. These two seemingly opposite elements can actually work in tandem under the right circumstances, to the benefit of people as well as the environment. Fire has many roles in the Sierra.

    US Officials Drop Mining Cleanup Rule After Industry Objects
    Matthew Brown, ABC News, 12/1/17

    Sierra Link: The U.S. mining industry has a long history of abandoning contaminated sites and leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for cleanups. Thousands of shuttered mines leak contaminated water into rivers, streams and other waterways, including hundreds of cases in which the EPA has intervened, sometimes at huge expense. Many of these mines are in the Sierra.


    Baby Endangered California Salmon Use Different Rivers Than Expected, Research Shows
    Ryan Sabalow, Sacramento Bee, 12/4/17

    Sierra Link: Juvenile winter-run Chinook aren’t just using the Sacramento River as rearing habitat; after hatching, they also venture in large numbers into the river’s tributaries, including creeks that feed into it below Redding, as well the Feather and the American rivers.

    Bears Exposed to Plague Found in Northern California
    Ashiah Scharaga, Record-Bee, 12/8/17

    Sierra Link: Two black bears exposed to the plague were found in Paradise, according to the California Department of Public Health. The department collected blood in September from two bears killed under depredation permits, and the samples tested positive for antibodies to Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes plague.


    Seeking the Source of the Vanishing Great Salt Lake
    Joanna Klein, NY Times, 11/28/17

    Sierra Link: Since 1847, the volume of water in the lake has dropped nearly 50 percent. More recently, the change has been so dramatic, you can see it from space. In 2016, the Great Salt Lake reached its lowest levels in recorded history. In looking for ways to preserve the lake, scientists are taking cues from the restoration of Mono Lake.

    CDFW Awards $39.7 Million for Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration and Protection Projects
    CDFW, 12/6/17

    Sierra Link: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced the selection of 39 projects to receive funding from its Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) Restoration Grant Programs. Many of these projects will occur in the Sierra, some by Alliance Member Groups and SNAP Host Organizations!

    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.