Biomass on Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s agenda |

Biomass on Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s agenda

Advancements in “bioenergy” derived from forest by-products and how forest thinning relates to California’s new Bioenergy Action Plan will be discussed at the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s upcoming governing board meeting.

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy is identified as one of the key responsible agencies for action in the state’s 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan, in particular, conducting outreach and assistance to diverse stakeholders about the benefits of biomass energy and assisting communities to develop small-scale biomass energy facilities, according to Tuesday news release issued by the conservancy.

“The Sierra Nevada Conservancy will play a significant role in the development of sustainable energy production connected to forest fuels reduction in the Sierra,” said Conservancy Executive Officer Jim Branham. “Development of additional small scale biomass power generation facilities in the Sierra would provide a ready market for biomass, while protecting our communities from catastrophic fire.”

According to the conservancy staff report, the most common practice for managing woody biomass currently is open-pile burning.

Recent innovations in biomass energy technology and new policies promoting bioenergy provide an opportunity for the overstock of woody biomass to be used as a source of renewable energy for California, while at the same time creating jobs, protecting forests and communities from catastrophic wildfire, and reducing air pollution emissions, the release states.

During the past five years, more than 4.5 million acres of California forests have been burned by wildfire. Costs to suppress these wildfires have averaged approximately $1.2 billion per year.

The Board will also hear from conservancy staff on the progress of awarding $5 million in grants to aide ranchers and farmers with conservation measures.

Those grant applications will be before the Board at its March 2013 meeting.

Employees will also present updates on the Sierra Forest System Indicators project, the Sierra Nevada Forest and Community Initiative, and the Sierra Nevada Geotourism MapGuide project.

The public meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 6 in Marysville at Caltrans’ District 3 offices, 703 B St.

On Dec. 5, the Board will tour Teichert Aggregates operation in the Yuba Gold Fields, visit the Blue Point Mine in Smartsville to learn about the impacts of historic mining activities, and visit the Apollo Olive Oil company in Oregon House.

The field trip is scheduled from 1-6:30 p.m. and will start from the parking lot of the Comfort Inn, 1034 North Beale Road, Marysville. A reception will be held at the Alcouffe Community Center following the tour at 5 p.m. Persons interested in joining the tour should be prepared to provide their own lunch and transportation.

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