Monthly Archives: June 2017

Spotlight on: New Collaboratives

To begin the collaborative spotlight series, we will highlight the groups that are new to the SCALE network.  FireScape Mendocino and Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions have been working collaboratively on forests in California for several years, but last month was the first time either of them attended a SCALE workshop.  Alpine Biomass Committee was formed last year, and South Lassen Watersheds Group only a few months ago.  The Forest First Partnership, part of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA), also attended the workshop for the first time, but that collaborative will be highlighted separately with a focus on water partnerships.

FireScape Mendocino 

FireScape Mendocino is a collaborative formed in 2013 as part of the Fire Learning Network (FLN) with a project area encompassing Mendocino National Forest and surrounding communities.  The main focus is on fire adapted communities and proactive fire management, but the collaborative is also interested in cultural heritage and tribal involvement, recreation, economic opportunities, and healthy forests and watersheds.  FireScape Mendocino is still a relatively new collaborative, and has been working on defining their goals and objectives.  So far they have been prioritizing WUI areas and climate change impacts.

The collaborative is facing some potential changes in the Mendocino region, such as the Northwest Forest Plan revision and the uncertain future of the Snow Mountain National Monument. Like many other groups, FireScape Mendocino also faces challenges around prescribed burning including regional air quality regulations and public opinion and with engaging private landowners in forest restoration work. Visit their website to learn more and find out about upcoming meetings and field trips!

Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions 

Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions (YSS) was formed in 2010 to increase the pace and scale of restoration to prevent large wildfires in the Stanislaus National Forest.  The collaborative was still in its early stages in 2013 when the Rim Fire devastated the region and shifted the focus of YSS from a preventative to a reactionary approach.  The group has implemented several habitat restoration projects with the help of a large volunteer base and has raised $4.5 million for habitat restoration on the landscape.

Now, YSS is shifting its focus back to the unburned parts of the landscape. The group is working to advance a Forest Resiliency Pilot Project that will provide a demonstration that public support for science-based forest treatment can shift the forest to a more resilient state.

YSS typically meets every other month on the third Friday of the month in Sonora. For more information about YSS, contact YSS Chair, Chris Trott (, or Vice-Chair, Nathan Graveline (

Alpine Biomass Committee 

The Alpine Biomass Committee (ABC) is a new collaborative formed in June 2016 that is focused on unifying partners, promoting forest and watershed health and supporting sustainable economic development throughout Alpine County.  Ninety-five percent of the county is federal land, including four National Forests (Stanislaus, Humboldt-Toiyabe, El Dorado and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit).

ABC is currently working on strengthening partnerships in the county and is holding monthly meetings that frequently include guest speakers.  The collaborative is drawing from the experience of its neighbor groups, such as ACCG and CHIPS, and sharing projects that individual agencies and organizations are implementing in the county. The ABC’s monthly meetings are generally held the evening of the first Tuesday of the month at Turtle Rock Park in Markleeville.

South Lassen Watersheds Group 

The South Lassen Watersheds Group (SLWG) was formed out of the Lake Almanor Watershed Group, which has been working on the landscape since 2005.  The SLWG expands the project area beyond the Almanor Basin and covers the Upper Feather River, Upper Mill Creek and Upper Deer Creek Watersheds.  SLWG plans to focus on collaboratively managing the area’s public and private lands to prevent large fires which pose a threat to local communities and the watersheds, which include the headwaters of the State Water Project.

Workshop Wrap Up

Last month the Sierra Institute hosted its biannual SCALE meeting in Sacramento.  More people and groups attended this SCALE meeting than ever before, coming from all over California and representing over eleven collaborative groups.  During the workshop we heard introductions from new groups such as Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions, Alpine Biomass Committee and the South Lassen Watersheds Group, as well as updates from Dinkey, Trinity County, Burney-Hat Creek and others.

The workshop focused on providing tools and support to collaboratives to move from project planning to implementation, and incorporated a mix of small and large group discussions to capitalize on the wealth of knowledge in the room.  One of the sessions consisted of expert stations on three different USFS tools and authorities: the Wyden Authority, Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) and Stewardship Contracts and Agreements.  Attendees were able to participate in two out of the three small group discussions, which provided an introduction to these tools to see which might be applicable for their collaborative.  One of the next steps for SCALE will be to follow up with additional resources on how to utilize these tools, as well as working with collaboratives and the Forest Service to advance projects under these mechanisms.

After lunch, a panel featuring Barnie Gyant (USFS Region 5), Helge Eng (CalFire), Ian Achimore (Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority), and Zach Knight (Blue Forest Conservation) discussed opportunities for partnerships and funding all-lands restoration work. The diversity of the panel, with panelists representing federal and state agencies, water agencies, and a mission-driven, for-profit highlighted the need to bring in new stakeholders and connect with downstream beneficiaries of forest restoration. Connecting downstream water users to the watershed services provided by healthy forests at their water source was of particular interest to the workshop participants, and SCALE is exploring how collaboratives can develop partnerships with IRWMs, water agencies, and private investment. Expect to hear more on this subject in the coming months!


A third theme that arose during the workshop was a focus on collaboration and community.  The workshop included a session on local contracting and workforce development, and many of the attendees appreciated the work of those presenters to contribute to the local community.  Another session used a workshop approach to brainstorm solutions to challenges encountered by three different collaboratives in the region. One workshop group discussed strategies for educating private landowners about the importance of fuel reduction to complete all-lands restoration using a real-world example from FireScape Mendocino. Another group focused on the idea of Burney-Hat Creek to develop a restoration project using Good Neighbor authority that incorporates a timber component, while a third group how to move from general concepts to project selection – a current challenge for Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions.  Using real, on-the-ground projects and collaborative process challenges, members of different groups shared their experience with these and similar issues, and reinforced the idea that there is a lot of existing knowledge in the SCALE network for groups to utilize.  One of SCALE’s ongoing projects will be to continue to share this information- through group updates, webinars, and this website- to better connect collaboratives with these resources.

In addition to the next steps described above, Sierra Institute will continue to focus on project planning and permitting, local contracting, addressing turnover in the USFS and other agencies/organizations, and engaging new collaborative forestry groups in California.