By the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
Autumn may be here, but your lawn still requires care. The drought in the West has taken a serious toll on lawns throughout the region and they are showing signs of stress. Here are a few tips to help you keep your yard in top form and delivering these health benefits for you and your community:
Tip #1: Let your grass go brown. Grass grows in cycles, “turning on and off,” based on the resources it gets. As water becomes less available, grass will slow down, go dormant and turn brown.
Tip #2: Don’t Over Water. It may be tempting to give your thirsty lawn a heavy duty drink, but stick with what the experts recommend. Make your grass work hard for its water. Grass gets lazy if you water it too much and sends its roots horizontally. With little water, grass will send its roots deeper, vertically, seeking water. Having to work harder, makes grass do a better job of sequestering carbon and releasing oxygen.
Tip #3: Plant the Right Grass. Fall can be a good time of year to transition to a more drought-friendly grass variety in your yard. Hundreds of varieties of turfgrass exist, and some of them are perfect for drought conditions. When established, these grasses require very little water and also will survive foot traffic, children’s play and pets.
Tip #4: Add Pollinators. Your lawn is an ecosystem, and pollinators are a key part of its life cycle. Even in the desert, a host of plants flower. Add pollinator plants for bees, butterflies, and humming birds if you haven’t already.
Tip #5: Mix Native Plants and Drought-Resistant Adaptive Species in Your Lawn. We no live longer in a native environment. We live in cities and suburbs where we must incorporate both native plants and drought-resistant adaptive plants to offset the concrete, asphalt, people and traffic.
Tip #6: Educate yourself on the benefits of your landscape. Living landscapes provide you and your community with a host of benefits. Turfgrasses, like those found in your lawn, dissipate radiant heat through a process called evapotranspiration, helping to cool urban “heat islands.”
Grass also improves air quality and sequesters carbon, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that contributes to the greenhouse gas effect. Your lawn also produces oxygen. A turf area 50' x 50' will produce enough oxygen to meet the daily needs of a family of four. Grass also captures and filters water run-off and rainfall too, removing harmful pollutants.
With a little care, your yard can continue providing these benefits for you and your community. While many people feel pressured to rip out their lawns and deaden their landscapes with mulch, gravel and plastic grass, the reality is that a living lawn offers a host of benefits. Even in a drought you can have grass and other living plants; you just have to choose the right kind of lawn and care for it properly.
DOWNIEVILLE, Calif. – The Yuba River Ranger District recently completed thinning and hand-piling of forest fuels for the Red Ant Thinning and Fuels Reduction Project. The 550-acre project, which will help prevent wildfires in the Downieville/Goodyears Bar area, now moves into the next phase involving prescribed burns.
The purpose of the Project is to enhance forest and watershed health and wildlife habitat, as well as reduce the risk of extreme fire behavior within and adjacent to the wildland urban intermix zones (WUIs).
Started in 2007, the Project began with timber harvesting—4.9 million board feet of timber was removed. More recently, crews hand-cut and hand-piled vegetation to reduce “ladder fuels,” which allow fire to move from the ground up into the tree canopy.
The next phase of the Project involves prescribed burns, including understory burns and pile burning, in the units that have been harvested and thinned. This maintenance phase of the Project will limit the build-up of ground fuels to help reduce wildfire risk in the area. Prescribed burning operations will begin as soon as conditions permit.
“Understory and pile burning activities are a critical part of this project. Our first priority is public and firefighter safety, so these operations will only take place when air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, and fuel moisture are appropriate,” said District Ranger Karen Hayden. “The Red Ant Thinning and Fuels Reduction Project is one of the ways we’re reducing the threat of wildfires to Downieville and other communities within the Tahoe National Forest.”
Forest Service fire managers work closely with air quality management districts to minimize smoke impacts to communities during prescribed burn operations.
For more information on the Project, please contact Mark Longshore at (530) 288-3231.
For more Tahoe National Forest information, go to www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Tahoe_NF and “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TahoeNF.
Sierra Valley Lodge is happy to welcome local resident Dwight Brooks as our partner and General Manager
of The Lodge effective immediately. Mr. Brooks will also oversee the transformation of the Lodge’s
restaurant into a more locallydriven,
BBQ centric menu.
Dwight Brooks is no stranger to the Sierra Valley where he has been a residence since 1999 after moving
to the area with his wife, Heidi where they raise their two boys. After honing his culinary skills in his
Sierraville cafe for the past several years, Dwight plans to take his growing love of smoking and bbq
ing ribs, turkeys and brisket to a whole new level at Sierra Valley Lodge.
The new hours for the lodge will be Thursday through Sunday from 11am til 11pm. Menu items to include a
la carte BBQ plates, sandwiches and pasta. Look for the restaurant to feature daily specials, lower prices, a
bigger selection available in the bar and on Sundays, the emphasis will be on families with kids under 10
Dwight is also a musician and his love of music will dovetail well with the Lodge’s musical offerings which
include a great Halloween show this Sat as well as a very special New Year ve show with the Dead Winter
The lodge was originally built in 1919 as a recreation hall for the oncethriving
mill town owned by
Lumber Company. Although the town and the hall have changed over the years, the
enjoyment the town and the county have derived from the space made it an important part of the community
as they watched bands, graduations, weddings, and cowboy poetry readings over the year.
There are now rooms available for the lodge which will be open all winter long as well as the bar and the
restaurant. So come on down to Calpine!
Sierra Valley Lodge is located at 103 Main St, Calpine CA. This charming venue boasts a state of the art
digital sound system, a restaurant and a great local western themed bar. The Parish Entertainment Group is
owned by Michael O’Connor and Jason Perkins who operate The New Parish, The Rock Steady, The Speaker
Box Cafe and Leo’s in Oakland, plus Brick & Mortar, Place Pigalle, BIg Rec and Crafty Fox in San
Francisco. Their latest installment is Sierra Valley Lodge a
mountain music venue (sierravalleylodge.net).
-Additional meeting added in Sierra City-
QUINCY, Calif. – October 28, 2015 – Plumas National Forest officials have added an additional meeting in support of the over-snow vehicle (OSV) designation effort currently underway for roads, trails and areas within the Plumas National Forest.
The meeting will be held on November 5 in Sierra City, CA at the Sierra City Community Hall (14 Castagna Alley (off Hwy 89)) from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.
This is the fifth of 5 meetings with a focus on the initial step of the environmental planning effort, called the “Proposed Action.” People interested in the project have until November 13 to provide feedback during this phase of planning called project “scoping.”
Following the scoping phase, an interdisciplinary team will be reviewing information about the project; including feedback received from the community and will develop new alternatives as needed. After analyzing the impacts of the proposed action and other alternatives and then packaging the information into a draft environmental impact statement, a second public comment phase will be conducted in the spring of 2017. Comments received at that time will be considered in the development of the Final Environmental Impact Statement. A decision on the project will be made following the completion of a final EIS in fall of 2017.
More information, including the proposed action and opportunities for comment, is available at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=47124 or by calling the Plumas National Forest at (530) 283-2050.
LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL met Tuesday night. Mayor Pat Whitley reported out of closed session they’d hired Colby Russell as a public works employee. Councilman John Cussins was absent.
Annie Fassbender addressed the council in public comment over having to cancel the firemen’s fundraiser over the stove at the new City Center. Pat said it wasn’t a commercial kitchen. Annie said she’d gone to the health dept. and that the city’s building inspector said she could have three fundraisers in three months. This will be on next month’s agenda.
Under fire department news with Chief Shawn Heywood, there is a new hire. He complained about communication between Sierra Brooks and Loyalton and will check on using the Babbitt repeater for mutual aid.
Resolutions were approved; one was accessing
Federal Excess Personal Property and one for response away from one’s official duty station and being paid portal to portal.
The mayor reported a “blip” with two missing checks which have had stopped payment. Finance Director Kim Lombardi said the checks were not generated off the software system and it’s been reported as theft.
The mayor warned on the budget and to be checking into what is being spent.
On the wastewater treatment plant litigation, Councilman Brooks Mitchell reported the Courts had accepted amending the motion for fraud.
With the discussion of rental agreement for the City Center Auditorium, the issue of the stove was again raised. Kim felt it was no different than what was done at the social hall with the museum right next door to the kitchen. Curator Jackie Mitchell suggested using the “fabulous” new kitchen at the senior center and suggested progressive dinners from there to the auditorium. It was lengthy discussion and Phyllis felt a lot of money was wasted for not using the kitchen.
Brooks will check with the insurance carrier about cooking with artifacts. Pat will follow up with the city’s building inspector. Jackie said she wouldn’t object if there were proper venting.
The fees for rent now are: Social Hall $65 per day plus $100 refundable cleaning deposit; Loyalton Pavilion, $65 per 50/100 people refundable cleaning deposit only; City Center Auditorium, $30 plus $100 refundable cleaning deposit.
Jackie Mitchell detailed the City Center yard on the west side, and stated Wayne White will donate time to move historic equipment and Travis Marsh will use city equipment to scrape off the grass and prepare for gravel of which Joy Engineering donated two loads. She said she had $1,000 remaining in the museum fund and she's called SPI about using metal beams for a shade wall to protect historic ranching and farm equipment with shade walls around the perimeter of the former yard.
A special meeting was held Friday, Oct. 23rd regarding expenditures on the City Center.
Washington, DC – This morning House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) and every California Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to President Obama and Governor Brown on the state and federal governments’ plans to increase water capture during the upcoming winter months.
In addition to hearing from Members of Congress, the Obama Administration and the Brown Administration received a similar letter from State Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller and Republican members in California State Senate and Assembly.
Below is the text of the congressional letter:
October 22, 2015
The Honorable Barack Obama The Honorable Jerry Brown
The White House Governor of California
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW State Capitol, Suite 1173
Washington, D.C. 20500 Sacramento, California 95814
Dear Mr. President and Governor Brown:
As California faces a persistent, catastrophic drought, we write today to request that you direct Federal and state agencies and departments to take all necessary steps to prepare to capture, store, and move water to northern, central, and southern California in the event El Nino-related precipitation materializes this winter.
As you know, California is experiencing the driest years on record since 1895. This has resulted in communities we represent depleting their existing water supplies or simply running out of water altogether, as we have seen in some Central Valley regions. The extent of the drought has also resulted in unprecedented water rationing orders designed to stretch our already limited supplies into the future and first-of-their-kind groundwater regulations in our state.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts the current El Nino in the Pacific Ocean has a 95% chance of continuing through the 2015-2016 winter. NOAA goes on to state that current atmospheric conditions indicate this could be a strong El Nino, bringing heavy and much-need precipitation to our drought-parched state, in northern, central, and southern California.
NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) data shows there is a 66% chance that El Nino could bring normal to above normal precipitation this winter in northern California, where rain and snow feed critical reservoirs that supply water to the rest of our state. CPC data also shows upwards of a 93% chance of normal to above average precipitation for the rest of the state. This precipitation would likely peak in the first quarter of 2016. While El Nino-related precipitation will probably not end the drought we face, this much needed water would be a crucial lifeline to our struggling constituents.
We believe that Federal and state environmental policies and regulations have exacerbated California’s current situation by denying us the ability to capture water for human use and consumption now and to better prepare ourselves for situations like the current drought. The House of Representatives has passed legislation to help provide more water to all Californians while maintaining protections for the environment. We remain committed to working with you and the Senate in a constructive manner to enact legislation to help our state.
However, as the legislative process continues, we are interested in making sure that Federal and state agencies and departments are prepared to maximize the benefits of El Nino for California’s families, farms, businesses, and cities. To that end, we have the following questions:
· Do Federal government agencies, such as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, have plans in place to capture El Nino-related precipitation for human use? If so, what are these plans?
· Do California government agencies, such as the Department of Water Resources, the California Fish and Wildlife Service, and the State Water Resources Control Board, have plans in place to capture El Nino-related precipitation for human use? If so, what are these plans?
· If neither Federal nor state agencies have such plans in place, what is the timeline to develop and implement such plans?
· In years past, we have seen various policy and regulatory impediments – including those associated with protecting fish – that limited water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. How do Federal and state agencies intend to overcome these obstacles to maximize water exports to central and southern California?
· What actions are Federal and state agencies taking or have already taken in advance of El Nino to capture water for human use?
While it is important to prepare for potential mudslides and flooding, it also important to remember that our constituents desperately need the water they are entitled to or have contracted and paid for. El Nino could be a potential Godsend if precipitation materializes and we are able to capture it for human use. While no one can know for certain how much rain or snow could occur this winter, it is imperative that we are prepared to maximize the benefit to all Californians that El Nino could bring.
We look forward to your response and working together to help our state through this difficult period.
The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) is working with local agricultural and community organizations, tourism professionals, and experienced agritourism operators to offer a three-session agritourism planning course for farmers and ranchers in Plumas-Sierra Counties and the surrounding region. Farmers and ranchers who are considering, starting or expanding agritourism or nature tourism businesses on their farms or ranches are invited to register for this low-cost, hands-on course.
“Agricultural operations in the Lost Sierra offer a wealth of beautiful natural resources and unique experiences with local farmers and ranchers. With prices, competition and water situations the way they are all over California, it can be hard to make a living. Our workshops will give farmers and ranchers the contacts and tools to more successfully grow and market their individual agritourism enterprises adding to their income and helping spread the risk of tough production years. Working with others in the community, we hope to expand marketing options for the Lost Sierra Region,” said Holly George, Livestock & Natural Resource Advisor and County Director with UC Cooperative Extension, Plumas-Sierra.
Participants will learn about the variety of potential businesses, including farm stands, U-Pick operations, event hosting, tours, festivals and outdoor recreation. Each participant will receive a free copy of the UC ANR published handbook, “Agritourism and Nature Tourism in California”, which will be used as the text for the class. Attendees will hear from experienced agritourism operators and experts in business planning, risk management, regulatory compliance and marketing. Class instructors will provide individual guidance and help participants form a supportive network as they plan and develop their own agritourism or nature tourism businesses.
Registration is open. Space is limited, so please sign up early.
Plumas County Agritourism Intensive:
Dates: Tuesdays, Dec 1, 2015, Jan 12 & Feb 23, 2016
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. each session (lunch provided)
Location: Mineral Building, Plumas County Fairgrounds, Quincy, CA 95971
Cost: $50 for 3-session course (only $20 for additional participants from same family or business)
For more Information: Penny Leff, UCCE Agritourism Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, 530-752-7779
Holly George, UCCE Plumas/Sierra, email@example.com, 530-283-6262
New Plastic Bag Ballot Measure
Targets Greedy Grocers
By Jon Fleischman
For many years, the most extreme elements of the environmental movement pursued a statewide ban on plastic grocery bags in California. Every time they would do this, despite the overwhelming liberal majorities in the state legislature, their efforts would fail.
Over and over the arguments on the junk-science behind defaming the bags, the negative economic impacts of a ban, and the impressive political coalition opposing the ban combined to kill the effort.
Until last year, that is, when something happened.
The California Grocers Association (CGA), which had been a key member of the coalition stopping the ban from passing for many years, threw its full weight behind SB 270, which added to the statewide ban on standard plastic grocery bags a ten-cent "fee" (read: TAX) on each paper bag and thicker plastic bag provided to customers. The profits from those fees will go to-you guessed it-the grocers.
To put it bluntly, the greed of the grocers could not resist the idea of a windfall that would see them gaining brand new tax-free profits that could approach a half-billion dollars annually.
The legislation, backed by the CGA, passed out of the legislature and was signed by Governor Jerry Brown. However, the American Progressive Bag Alliance immediately set about the task of collecting over 800,000 signatures to refer SB 270 to the voters. The State Constitution provides that if enough voters sign petitions, they can halt a newly-enacted law, and then that law has to appear before voters on the next general election ballot. If voters approve it, the law goes into effect. If they reject it, the law is repealed. SB 270, the statewide plastic bag ban combined with the ten-cent per paper/thicker plastic bag tax, will be up before voters next November.
No doubt grocers have been salivating over the opportunity to reap hundreds of millions of dollars of profits from their unholy alliance with extreme environmentalists.
Except that there is now a very real possibility that they will never see the anticipated 30 pieces of silver which they covet-in fact it's very possible their greed might cost them big bucks instead.
This is where things get a little more complicated, but I'm counting on you to stick with me as I talk about a brand new development that the greedy grocers could not have seen coming.
A couple of weeks ago the American Progressive Bag Alliance, the same group that spent several million dollars gathering signatures for the referendum on SB 270, filed a petition to place yet another ballot measure before voters, entitled the Environmental Tax Protection Act. If passed by the voters, it would require that the ten-cent paper/thicker plastic bag tax collected under SB 270 be redirected to an environmental purpose.
Specifically, this new measure would require that those hundreds of millions of taxes be deposited into a state Environmental and Enhancement Fund that is administered by the State Wildlife Conservation Board. These funds would then be available for legitimate environmental grants (e.g., drought mitigation projects, recycling).
It doesn't take a rocket scientist, or a sophisticated political analyst, to figure that the public, if forced to pay a tax at grocery stores, would far more prefer that the money go to a public benefit than simply to profit major grocery chains. Especially when they learn during next fall's campaign the self-dealing role that the California Grocers Association actually played in the process.
Based on the timeline involved with the qualification of a ballot measure, the American Progressive Bag Alliance will be able to start gathering signatures for this new measure in early December, which will afford them more than enough time to gather the necessary signatures to place this measure on the November ballot.
That leaves the members of the California Grocers Association in quite the conundrum. Before this new twist their path was clear: shell out tens of millions of dollars to help pass SB 270 at the ballot. A great investment given the huge, permanent financial windfall for their members.
But now you have to wonder if the play for the grocers might actually be to spend big bucks to defeat SB 270 at the ballot box. Not only would the new ballot measure divert their windfall to a public environmental purpose, but it is actually the case that paper and thicker plastic bags cost the store more than traditional plastic bags, so grocers would be forced either to jack up the overall price of goods just to cover that cost, or take a significant financial loss. A loss that could even further impact the already troubled Safeway-Albertson's IPO delayed earlier this week.