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December 14, 2016     Portola Reporter
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December 14, 2016

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Portola Reporter Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016 9A Sierra nse million ! The Sierra Nevada Conservancy governing board on Dec. 8 approved $3.1 million in grants for 10 projects that will decrease wildfire risk, lessen tree mortality, and restore forest and watershed health in the Sierra Nevada region. Funding for these projects comes from Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014. This is the fifth set of awards made under the SNC's Prop. 1 grant program. In addition to meeting the requirements of Prop. 1, the projects awarded support the goals and objectives of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program, a large-scale restoration program designed to address ecosystem health in the Sierra Nevada. This program is being coordinated by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service, and is working to increase the pace and scale of restoration across the Sierra by increasing funding, addressing policy barriers and increasing infrastructure needed to support restoration. Sierra Nevada forests are facing a variety of challenges, and the need to increase the pace and scale of restoration across the Sierra Nevada region is more urgent than ever. According to the Forest Service, 102 million trees have died statewide since 2010. Ninety-five percent of those dead trees are in the Sierra Nevada region. "Sierra forests are the source of more than 60 percent of California's developed water supply, but these forests have experienced rapid and significant change," says Jim Branham, Executive Officer for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. "The grants that were awarded by our board today are great examples of the kind of work we need to be encouraging across the entire Sierra to protect the source of California's water." ."It is important that we invest in projects like these through the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program because.they help make our forests more resilient to insects, drought, large, damaging wildfires and disease," said Randy Moore, Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester. The following is a partial list of grants awarded this year by the SNC. Lassen County - Lassen Creek Watershed Restoration Project, $250,000 This grant to the Honey Lake Valley Resource Conservation District will complete mechanical harvesting of small trees, hand thinning, pruning, mastication, and slash disposal on 250 acres across two privately owned properties located just north of the Lassen National Forest and within the Wildland-Urban Interface zone for the City of Susanville. This work is part of a larger 325-acre project, and will enhance past Honey Lake Valley RCD projects and projects that are planned or underway by the Lassen National Forest and Lassen County Fire Safe Council. Lassen Creek, the main drainage within this watershed and located within the project boundary, is a tributary to the Susan River, an important supply of agricultural water that drains into the 7,667-acre Honey Lake Wildlife Area wetland. Plumas County - Genesee Valley Watershed Improvement Project, $74,576 This grant to the Plumas Audubon Society will complete wildlife and botanical surveys, a cultural resource inventory, and soils and hydrological analyses that will support the completion of environmental documentation on 618 acres on the Plumas National Forest-and 221 acres on the privately owned Heart K Ranch. The work completed under this grant will support the next phase of forest thinning and underburning, which will incorporate traditional ecological knowledge recommendations from the local Maidu people. Both properties are identified as priority project areas in the recently completed Genesee Valley Wildfire Restoration Plan. The project location is within Genesee Valley on Indian Creek, a significant tributary to the north fork of the Feather River. Plumas County - T smam Koj6m Restoration Management Plan, $73,312 This grant to the Maidu Summit Consortium and Conservancy will help complete an Environmental Impact Report to support future implementation of the T smam KojSm Land Management Plan on T smam KojSm, a 2,326-acre parcel that includes a meadow, streams, springs, and overstocked mixed conifer forest, and is a culturally important place to the Mountain Maidu. Sierra and Nevada Counties ' Forest Health and Watershed Improvement through Noxious Weed Management, $362,538 This grant to the Truckee River Watershed Council will survey 18,000 acres for high-priority noxious weeds, remove infestations of weeds on 1,500 acres, and revegetate native grasses, forbs and shrubs on 450 acres on Forest Service and state Department of Fish and Wildlife-managed lands in Sierra and Nevada counties. The project area was designated as high-priority due to the habitat values and threat from potential wildfn-e to the municipal water supply at Prosser, Boca and Stampede Reservoirs. Created in 2004, the SNC 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 nearly $60 million in grants for projects that 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 wildfn'e. Funding for these projects came from Prop. 84 passed by voters in 2006 and Prop. I passed by voters in 2014. The Sierra Nevada Region spans 25 million acres, encompasses all or part of 22 counties, and runs from the Oregon border on the north to Kern County on the south. sonal bird count underway ay Mari Erin Roth Staff Writer eroth@plumasnews.com Volunteers, in coordination with the Audubon Society, have a long tradition of organizing a Christmas Bird Count in every area they manage. The Audubon website calls it, "The nation's longest running citizen science bird project that fuels the Audubon science throughout the year." Results from all previous year bird counts can be found at Audubon.org. The data goes all the way back to the beginning, 117 years ago. Ornithologist Frank M. Chapman initiated the first Christmas Bird Count in 1900 when he proposed a new holiday tradition. Chapman was an officer in the Audubon Society that was just getting started: Chapman was among the people who were looking at the environment and studying the critters that live there. That group began to recognize the limitations of the standard and somewhat competitive holiday practice of going out and shooting everything with fur or feathers. Way back in 1900, Chapman suggested instead that members of the group organize a Christmas Bird Census that would count birds during the holidays rather than huntthem. The tradition has stuck and continues 116 years later. There are local counts organized with the longest history in our area at Eagle and Honey lakes in Lassen County. The Honey Lake Christmas Bird Count has been running for 35 years and will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 20. Tim Manolis is the organizer and may be reached at Ylightfoot@aol.com. The 14th annual Eagle Lake count will be conducted Thursday, Dec. 15, and Lewis Oring compiles the data. He may be reached at 825-3386 or oring@cabnr.unr.edu. Individuals organize counts and compile the data. The information is then provided to the California and National Audubon for inclusion in the public record. Volunteers that may be found on bird counts include members of the American Ornithologists Union, The Society of Western Field Ornithologists, the Lassen Lands and Trails Trust, Fish & Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service and H.T. Harvey Associates. Surrounded by such credentials, any bird or nature enthusiast would be assured an education if one is sought. "Anyone is welcome," said Kay Oring, co-compiler for Eagle Lake. All of the bird count circles in California are listed on the California Audubon website at ca.audubon.org/Christmas-bird-c ount-3 or the NationaI Audubon Society website at audubon.org/conservation/scien ce/christmas-bird-count. P[umas Unified Schoo[ District Invites Locat Contractors to Prepare for Bidding on Public Works 1. What does public works mean? 0 0 0 Under the Labor Code, public works in general refers to: Construction, alteration, demolition, installation, maintenance, or repair work, Done under contract, and Paid for in whole or in part out of public funds It can include preconstruction and post-construction activities related to a public works project. 2. What are prevailing wages; and who must receive them? All workers employed on public works projects must be paid the prevailing wage determined by the Director of the DIR according to the type of work and location of the project. The prevailing wage rates are usually, but not always, based on rates specified in collective bargaining agreements. 1. Who is a public works contractor? A public works contractor is anyone who bids on or enters into a contract to perform work that requires the payment of prevailing wages. It includes subcontractors who have entered into a contract with another contractor to perform a portion of the work on a public works project. It includes sole proprietors and brokers who are responsible for performing work on a public works project, even if they do not have employees orwill not use their own employees to perform the work. 2. Who needs to registeras a public works contractor? Anyone who fits within the definition of public works contractor (above) is required to register with the DIR 3. Are there any exceptions to the registration requirement? The contractor registration requirement does not apply to contractors working solely on public works projects awarded prior to April 1, 2015. Soma exceptions allow contractors to bid on federally funded projects or submit joint venture bids without first being registered, as long as the contractors that are parties to the joint venture and the joint venture are registered at the time the contract is awarded. 4. Who is eligible to register? Contractors must meet the following requirements to register: o Have workers' compensation coverage for any employees and only use subcontractors who are registered public works contractors. o Have a Contractors State License Board license if applicable to trade. o Have no delinquent unpaid wage or penalty assessments owed to any employee or enforcement agency. o Not be under federal or state debarment. o Not be in prior violation of this registration requirement once it becomes effective. However, for the first violation in a 12- month period, a contractor may still qualify for registration by paying an additional penalty. 5. How much does registration cost, and how long does it last? Registration costs $300 and covers one fiscal year (July 1 -June 30), regardless of the date on which a contractor registers. Registration is renewable annually. 6. What if I don't register (i.e., what are the consequences of noncompliance)? 7= . Contractors who are required,to register but fail to do so are ineligible to bid or work on a public works contract and can be removed from any public works project on which they currently are working. For a single violation in a 12-month period, a contractor who is otherwise eligible may still register by paying a $2,000 penalty in addition to the $300 registration fee. Registered contractors who inadvertently fail to renew by June 30, but continue to work on public works after that date, have a 90