Acting Sierraville District Ranger, Rachel Hutchinson reported that the Forest Service will be operating Jackson Meadows this summer and stated between Memorial Day and first two weeks of June they anticipate opening. Other Campgrounds will open May 20th. Board Chair Paul Roen stated it was the first year they haven’t been open for opening day of fishing season. She said they will be open in time next year. Hutchinson told the Board they were gearing up
for a bunch of fuel reduction work. Roen asked about the mortality that is appearing rapidly in the forest. Hutchinson stated the tree mortality is very visible and mostly occurring in fir species. She said they need to talk to Cal Trans and see what their plan is regarding the hazard trees. Forest wide some large projects are already under NEPA. She added they will probably be primarily focused on hazard trees in the near future but in the longer term will be targeting trees for removal and stated it will be an ongoing project
A PRESENTATION by County Forester Danielle Bradfield, RPF, regarding forestry activities and status report on of Fire Safe Coordinator Grant, North Yuba Forest Partnership, Smithneck Fuels Treatment Grant (SVRCD), and other similar programs was given to the Sierra County Board of Supervisors at its meeting held May 3rd in Downieville. Bradfield explained that part of her role has expanded to include acting as the Coordinator for Fire Safe Sierra County.
Last November Sierra County was the recipient of the County Coordinator Grant. This grant is $175,000 and provides for a County Coordinator and pays for a part-time Outreach Specialist.
Key objectives developed are to: Have coordination with wildfire groups in the County; Enhance the presence of Fire Safe Sierra County; Gather census by surveying residents and stakeholders. The information gathered will be used to provide and create a wildfire resiliency program of work. Bradfield called it a strategic pathway the council can use to move forward to identify projects, and have some level of grant strategy so they can identify needs and identify potential funding sources for it.
Fire Safe Sierra County took action to change the logo and the name, created a new website that is very informative, and are holding monthly meetings alternating to each side of the county. She said the next step is analyzing surveys and discussed having a few community meetings to go over program of work. Bradfield explained some of the funding can go toward grant writing to “keep the ball rolling.” They were able to secure $258,000 through Sierra Nevada Conservancy and funding goes through 2024. Her contract is $12-15,000 and after 2024 they will have brought in $433,000 dedicated to wildfire mitigation.
Board Chair Paul Roen appreciated Bradfield’s efforts and stated it has been a positive outcome. Supervisor Sharon Dryden was excited to see the Fire Safe Council getting reinvigorated. She anticipated great projects going forward, adding there is a lot of money out there and now they have a “vehicle to move it forward.”
Bradfield reported the Sierra Valley Resource Conservation District has a grant through Sierra Nevada Conservancy for 723 acres of fuel treatment adjacent to Sierra Brooks and Smithneck. The project has been put out to bid and is ready to implement. It is advertised at 707 acres but waiting for more areas to dry out to get to the 723 acres or more for fuel reduction on Federal and Department of Fish & Wildlife lands.