Newspaper Archive of
Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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April 16, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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April 16, 2014
 

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16B Wednesday, April 16, 2014 ~u,,~u,,, ~ecorQ, rrogresslve, ~epurl:er Digging In participants get excited about earthworms. From left: Serena Polzak, Tatum Hughes and Tenaya Fletcher. Photo courtesy Plumas Rural Services ! The Digging In garden Cooperative in Quincy andwhere students beg for education program is hosting Lupines Natural Foods in carrots and radishes." its annual Dine Out for Greenville. Digging In is run entirely Digging In fundraiser Since 2010 the Digging Inon community donations, Saturday, April 26. Digging In" garden educators have been fundraisers and small grants. is a community-based working with teachers to A collaborative of volunteer program that makes hands-on develop and lead garden community members and garden and nutrition lessons that engage students' organizations -- including education possible for classes senses, reinforce the Mountain Passages, Sierra at Quincy and Greenville classroom curriculum, andFarmstead and Plumas Rural elementary schools, help students understand the Services share Dine Out for Digging In connection between healthy responsibility for the guests will enjoy a meal of food and healthy bodies, program's operation, driven shepherd's pie, generously Students plant and tend the by the belief that gardening is prepared by Pangaea Caf8 garden; learn about a fantastic way to inspire a and Pub, as well as a no-host earthworm anatomy, turn love of fresh food, active bar and a prize giveaway, compost piles and sample the lifestyles and respect for the Seatings are available at 5:30 food that they've grown, land. and 7:30 p.m., and tickets are Garden educator Cody ReedTo learn more about how to $15 in advance, $20 at the laughs about the healthy support the Digging In door. Tickets can be bribes she uses for her program visit DiggingIn.us or purchased at Carey Candy Co. students: "This might be the call Mountain Passages at and Quincy Natural Foods only program in the county 283-0859. A new study recently released finds investing in proactive forest management activities can save up to three times the cost of future fires, reduce high-severity fire by up to 75 percent, and bring added benefits for people, water and wildlife. "Recent megafires in California and the West have destroyed lives and property, degraded water quality, damaged wildlife habitat and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars," said David Edelson, Sierra Nevada Project director with The Nature Conservancy. "This study shows that, by investing now in Sierra forests, we can reduce risks, safeguard water quality and recoup up to three times our initial investment while increasing the health and resilience of our forests." The Mokelumne Watershed Avoided Cost Analysis examines the costs and benefits of reducing the risk of high-severity forest fires through proactive techniques like thinning and controlled burns. Set in the central Sierra Nevada, just north of last year's destructive Rim Fire, the analysis allowed scientists to model likely future wildfires with and without proactive fuel treatments. The results indicate that investing in healthy forests can significantly reduce the size and intensity of fires and save millions of dollars in structure loss, carbon released and firefighting safety and costs. Megafires have become much more common in the last decade -- the average size of a fire today is nearly five times the average fire from the I970s, and the severity is increasing. The Sierra Nevada is at especially high risk this year with only in ! one-third of normal snowpack as a result of the drought. "Many scientists are predicting an increase in the size and severity of fires due to a changing climate," said Jim Branham, executive officer of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. "These fires, such as last year's Rim Fire, degrade wildlife habitat, release massive amounts of , greenhouse gasses, and can result in many other adverse impacts." Last year, the U.S. Forest Service spent $1 billion to cover firefighting shortfalls, taking money from programs that fund activities designed to reduce the risk of such fires. New bipartisan legislation called the Wildfire Funding Disaster Act seeks to address this problem by creating a . reserve fund dedicated to excess firefighting costs, similar to the way FEMA provides funds to respond to other natural disasters. "Our ongoing goal is to increase the pace and scale of our restoration work and this study strongly supports that," said Randy Moore, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region forester. "Our current pace of restoration work needs to be accelerated to mitigate threats and disturbances such as wildfires, insects, diseases and climate change impacts. The goal is to engage in projects that restore at least 500,000 acres per year. Many types of projects help us reach our restoration goals including mechanical vegetation treatments, prescribed fire and managing wildfire for resource benefits." The study is authored by the U.S. Forest Service, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy and was developed in consultation with a broad range of local and regional stakeholders. It concludes that the benefits from proactive forest management are two - three times the costs of firefighting and that increasing investments in such activities would benefit : federal and state taxpayers, : property owners (and their : insurers) and timber companies. For more information on : the Mokelumne Avoided Cost :! Analysis, or to download the : study, visit sierranevada. ca.gov. About the Sierra Nevada Conservancy Created' in 2004, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy is a state agency whose mission is to improve the environmental, economic and: social well-being of the Sierra Nevada region. The SNC has awarded more than $50 million in grants for projects to protect and enhance the health of California's primary watersheds by improving forest health, remediating mercury contamination from abandoned mines, protecting critical natural resources and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire. Funding for these projects comes from Proposition 84, passed by voters in 2006. : About The Nature Conservancy The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than I million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at nature.org. 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