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January 24, 2018

Sierra Happenings

Events and Activities

Tahoe Environmental Research Center's Science of Cocktails

Stir things up at the UC Davis Tahoe Science Center, where mini bars meet big science. Enjoy ten science-themed cocktail stations that double as learning hubs with unique activities and demonstrations for adults. Register in advance.

Date: Friday, February 2nd from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Location: Incline Village, NV

Please click here for more details and to register.

Echo Lake Showshoe Hike with American River Conservancy

The group will snowshoe from the Echo Lake Snow Park to Echo Lake and a ridge overlooking Lake Tahoe. Please visit website for additional details.

Date: Saturday, January 27th from 8 am - 4:30 pm
Location: Near South Lake Tahoe, CA

Please click here for more details and to register.

Eastern Sierra Land Trust's Open House

Meet and mingle with Eastern Sierra Land Trust staff (including our SNAP member, Ryan!) and other conservation partners, then lift our glasses to celebrate a GREAT start to the New Year. Your RSVP is helpful, please use the link below.

Date: Wednesday, January 31st from 5 pm - 6:30 pm
Location: Incline Village, NV

Please click here for more details and to RSVP.

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 - When Seasons Change: Building Climate Connectivity for Topographically Diverse Regions

Morgan Gray is a quantitative ecologist whose research focus is global change biology, with an emphasis on forecasting the impacts of land use and climate change on species and ecosystems for natural resource management and conservation. Listen in to learn more about her studies.

Date: Thursday, January 25th from 10 am - 11 am
Please click here for more details.

Sierra Streams Institute's Spring 2018 California Naturalist Course

Registration is open for SSI's spring California Naturalist course. Become a certified California Naturalist to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to educate your community & take part in local citizen science projects! The course will take place in Nevada City on Wednesday evenings from March 7th through May 16th, plus three half day Saturday field trips.

Date: March 7th - May 16th
Please click here for more details.

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

Environmental Justice Community Organizer (Bilingual) - The Sierra Fund

The Sierra Fund (TSF) is seeking a bilingual Environmental Justice Community Organizer, responsible for leading the implementation of TSF’s Disadvantaged Community (DAC) Outreach Program in the Cosumnes, American, Bear, Yuba (CABY) watershed region. Apply by February 1st.

For more info, click here.

California Grant Accountant - Trout Unlimited

The California Grant Accountant will be responsible for budgeting and analyzing program and project expenses, preparing invoices and financial reports for funders, monitoring funds availability, and assisting with annual program budgets. Position open until filled.

For more info, click here.

Sierra Gardens Assistant - Sierra Harvest

The Sierra Gardens Assistant will assist the Sierra Gardens Coordinator and volunteer crew with garden builds, gathering and hauling materials for builds and spring start deliveries, site visits and work days. Apply by February 1st.

For more info, click here.


Cal Fire Grant Opportunities

Cal Fire is accepting applications for their Forest Health Grant Program and their Urban and Community Forestry Program. The programs focus on restoring forest & watershed health and employing urban forestry in communities, respectively.

For more information, please click the links above!

Sierra National Forest Seeks Public Input for 2018 California Off-Highway Vehicle Grant Funding

Feedback will be considered in development of the preliminary grant applications and as final applications are prepared for the 2019 State OHV grant funding proposal.

To learn more, please click 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 February 2nd.

To view the RFP, please click here.

Interactive Online Educational Platform: A Forest Without Trees

This dynamic website includes interactive information about tree mortality in the Sierra and includes shareable resources to educate others.

Check it out here.

Sierra National Forest Seeks Public Input for 2018 California Off-Highway Vehicle Grant Funding

Feedback will be considered in development of the preliminary grant applications and as final applications are prepared for the 2019 State OHV grant funding proposal.

To learn more, 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. The HEC-WAT is now available for free download.

To learn more, please click here.


Updates from the Alliance

The New Year has brought a changing tide at the Alliance! Our beloved Lynn Baumgartner, who has been with the Alliance for 7 years (5 years as Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership Program Director and 2 years prior in our Development Program), has accepted a job with one of our Member Group partners, Mountain Area Preservation. We are so appreciative of her service and leadership throughout recent years. For a while now, Lynn has been the longest standing employee of the Sierra Nevada Alliance, so she has provided an unparalleled breadth of knowledge.

Lynn, thank you for your dedication over the years. You will be missed, but we are excited for you and your new opportunity and look forward to working with you in your new role as a partner.

Jenny Hatch, Lynn Baumgartner, Carley O'Connell

Carley O'Connell, former SNAP Program Associate, has been selected to take Lynn's place after a competitive pool of interviews and applicants. Carley is a former SNAP Member and has an existing knowledge and relationship with the current Members, Host Sites, and administrative procedures. We are confident and excited for Carley to step into this role!

These shifts in the SNAP Program have prompted the creation of a new role: Education and Communications Director. This new staff member will work to further develop our SNAP curriculum, training, program evaluation methods, and partnership amongst our host sites, as well as build our Member Group Program offerings and base. In 2018 we will host our Bi-Annual Conference, which this new staff member will be key in planning and implementing. We look forward to introducing this new staff member in a future issue of the Sierra Resource.

The Alliance is excited for the growth and restructuring of the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership and the increased impact it will have on improving Sierra Nevada watersheds moving forward! We will be forever thankful to Lynn for the program she has carefully refined and the positive impact she has had on Sierra communities.

SNAP Spotlight:
Emily Feng and Allison Hacker
of Sierra Streams Institute


Emily and Allison are the current Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership members at the Sierra Streams Institute in Nevada City. Emily’s work is focused entirely on river and watershed science, while Allison splits her time between river science and environmental education.

Emily was raised in Rhode Island and traveled north to the University of Vermont where she received her B.S. in Wildlife Biology and Natural Resource Ecology. Backed with internship experience working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife on wetland, riparian, and aquatic habitat restoration and her undergraduate research focused on mapping the genetic diversity of fiddlehead fern populations, Emily has a diverse background in natural resource ecology and assessment. She was eager to learn and expand her experiences to the West Coast flora and fauna and has since gone birding across the Sierra Foothills and had the opportunity to work within Sierra forests learning new plants on a daily basis. Beyond trying real tacos for the first time, Emily has also been learning much about the cultural and natural history of California and the West Coast.


Pictured: Emily

Allison grew up in the Bay Area, graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and has experience with environmental education and research in the Midwest and Rocky Mountains. After working in the forests and bogs of northern Wisconsin after college, she was more than ready to move back to California, where there are many more mountains and many fewer mosquitoes. Since moving to Nevada City she has been running, climbing, and swimming in the Yuba whenever possible, has discovered a newfound love of contra dancing, and, under the influence of her coworkers, is learning to like birds.


Pictured: Allison

Sierra Streams Institute’s primary focus is conducting monthly water quality monitoring in the Deer Creek and the Bear River watersheds. This program includes a network of citizen science volunteers and has provided nearly 20 years of water quality data for Deer Creek. Emily and Allison provide volunteer support and recruitment for this program and participate in data collection in the field, nutrient and bacteria analysis in the lab, and data entry and analysis.

In addition to water quality monitoring, several restoration projects are ongoing within these watersheds. Emily has been assisting with a fuels reduction project in local forested land to promote healthy forests for wildlife habitat and to reduce the risk of wildfire. This involves selecting and removing ladder fuels such as small trees, shrubs, and dead limbs. A continuous AmeriCorps project at Sierra Streams is also hosting restoration days to pull Scotch Broom, an invasive plant that presents high fire risk, from local disturbed forests.

One of Emily’s projects has been sorting through these years of data and beginning some further analysis. Sierra Streams collects benthic macroinvertebrates as biotic indicators of stream health and has been looking to present this information to the public in a meaningful way. The California Stream Conditioning Index (CSCI) is a statewide database for macroinvertebrate data that translates the data into an overall index of health. Emily and Allison have taken the first steps to presenting this data in the CSCI index and displaying it on interactive maps for the public to view. Further goals are to create water quality “report cards” that show even more of the data SSI and citizen scientists have been collecting for years in a way for the public to easily understand.

As the education coordinator, Allison has been running a program for local young women who are interested in STEM careers. The goal of the program is to promote STEM education for our female youth through rigorous instruction and opportunities to connect with women in STEM careers. As a result of the program, girls will gain knowledge of the ecology of their local watersheds, experience conducting scientific research, professional mentors in multiple STEM fields, and confidence in their abilities to pursue a career in STEM. In the fall, Allison hosted a daylong training in which high school girls collected macroinvertebrates at a local restoration site to determine stream health and a second training focused on using a dichotomous key to identify macroinvertebrates in the SSI lab. In 2018, Allison will be organizing similar trainings for middle school girls with the high school students serving as mentors, as well as providing opportunities for high school students to shadow professionals in STEM fields.

Looking forward, Sierra Streams is moving to a new campus at the Woolman Outdoors School. We will have over 200 acres of land to explore as opportunities for citizen science monitoring and education projects. There are plans to open a Citizen Science Center at our new location. Allison and Emily are eager to lay some of the foundations to these new projects by planning and mapping new monitoring points and survey protocols for wildlife and vegetative studies. By collecting baseline data and delineating our new property, we hope to open new opportunities for citizen science monitoring and “investigation” plots for educational purposes. In addition, Sierra Streams has a grant from the EPA to bring every fourth grader in western Nevada County to Woolman for hands-on, inquiry-based environmental education. Allison has been working with the education team to write curriculum to be used in that program. Opening this Citizen Science Center will increase Sierra Stream’s capacity to conduct rigorous scientific research and high-quality environmental education in the Sierra Foothills.

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

In California’s Sierra Nevada, Putting the Trees to Work
Julia Cart, CALmatters, 1/23/18

Sierra Link: As California redoubles its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, officials are rooting around for new ways to meet the state’s goals. Included in their plan: recruiting billions of redwood, oak and pine trees to help diminish planet-warming gases by pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Study Shows Warming Temperatures Shifting Snow to Rain Across Sierra Nevada
Trina Kleist, The Union, 1/21/18

Sierra Link: For most of the past 90 winters, snowpack within the watersheds managed by Nevada Irrigation District has held a frozen reservoir of water — about enough to supply local customers for a year. The changing climate could be altering this.


California Today: 100 Million Dead Trees Prompt Fears of Giant Wildfires
Thomas Fuller, The New York Times, 1/19/18

Sierra Link: The more than 100 million trees that died in California after being weakened by drought and insect infestations have transformed large swaths of the Sierra Nevada into browned-out tree cemeteries.

NFWF Announces New Northern California Forests and Watersheds Grant Program in Partnership with U.S. Forest Service
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, 1/12/18

Sierra Link: The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation plans to award more than $6 million in grants to restore watersheds impacted by wildfires over the next three years, in partnership with the Eldorado National Forest and the Lassen National Forest.


Secretary Zinke Applauds President Trump's Commitment to Expand Rural Broadband
The Times Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times, 1/3/18

Sierra Link: The President recently signed an executive order and a presidential memorandum which together will increase broadband availability for rural Americans. The memo to Secretary Zinke directs the Department of the Interior to develop a plan to allow private high-speed broadband companies to co-locate their equipment on Interior infrastructure, increasing broadband coverage to rural areas.

Biggest Storm of the Winter Promises Killer Ski Conditions
Patrick May, The Mercury News, 1/23/18

Sierra Link: As this week unfolds, so will the skies over the Sierra Nevada, dumping a fresh round of snowfall to warm the hearts of every ski bum for miles.


Oroville Suit Alleges DWR Corruption, Recklessness Led to Spillway Crisis
Dan Brekke, KQED, 1/17/18

Sierra Link: A suit filed Wednesday by the city of Oroville accuses the California Department of Water Resources of a long pattern of recklessness and corruption that ultimately led to last February’s near-catastrophe at the nation’s tallest dam.

Scientists Seek to Unlock Mysteries of Sierra Snow Droughts
Benjamin Spillman, Reno Gazette Journal, 1/17/18

Sierra Link: What’s the difference between one snow drought and the next? More than most people realize. And those differences have implications for everything from skiing conditions to water supply in the western United States.


Bobcat Image Named Winner of Wildlife Photo of the Year Contest
CDFW, 1/23/18

Sierra Link: Santa Clara resident Shravan Sundaram’s photograph of a young bobcat descending a tree earned the 2017 grand prize in the California Wildlife Photo of the Year contest.

New Technology Solves Wildlife Mysteries in California
Tom Steinstra, San Francisco Chronicle, Updated 1/21/18

Sierra Link: Trail cams, GPS collars and DNA taken from scat show how technology can provide glimpses into a largely secret world where people are otherwise denied entry. For unique and provocative wildlife species, the technology is helping to solve many mysteries.


Long-Term Warming Trend Continued in 2017: NASA, NOAA
NASA, 1/18/18

Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA. Continuing the planet's long-term warming trend, globally averaged temperatures in 2017 were 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean.

Bipartisan Approach to Combat Climate Change is Stuck in Congress
Ledyard King, USATODAY, 1/24/18

A proposal mired in Congress could go a long way to curbing the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change — and Republicans from fossil fuel producing states are helping lead the effort.

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.