THE Alpine County Resource Advisory Committee held its first meeting in November. The “RAC” as it’s referred to, was convened by the Carson Ranger District and it consists of individuals who represent specific interests in the Alpine County area of the California Alps region of the Sierra Nevada.
THOSE specific interests, and those reps when appointed (after being recommended by local USFS personnel) are placed into certain categories, e.g., commercial recreational activities; commercial or recreational fishing groups; regionally or locally recogonized enviromental organizations; Native American tribes, etc., in order to bring broad ranging backgrounds, perspectives and abilities to the Committee.
CATEGORY A includes “Developed Outdoor Recreation, Off-Highway Vehicle Users, or Commercial Recreation Activities” and that’s where I, and hopefully you too, come in.
REPRESENTING hikers, bikers, OHVers and other recreaters — not re-creators 😉 — (ref. Cat. A lingo above) is now my privilege, I’m happy to write, as I am one of the thirteen (13) appointed public members of the RAC. Thanks, Secretary Vilsack!
The purpose of each RAC is to improve collaborative relationships among the people that use and care for the National Forests and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with Title II of the SRS Act.Excerpted from United States Forest Service, Secure Rural Schools Advisory Committees, CHARTER
From The Title II Guide…
THE funds may be used for projects that have broad-based support and with objectives that include:
- road, trail, and infrastructure maintenance or obliteration
- soil productivity improvement
- forest ecosystem health improvements
- watershed restoration and maintenance
- wildlife and fish habitat restoration, maintenance, and improvement
- noxious and exotic weeds control
- native species re-establishment
OUR RAC advises on, and recommends for, projects in Alpine County, in the Eldorado, Stanislaus and Toiyabe National Forests, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to obtain some funding for various projects that benefit these forests within our little county.
Per David Griffith, of the Alpine Biomass Collaborative: “possible project ideas could include such things as trail and trailhead improvements, toilets, campgrounds and campground improvements, new or improved signage etc.”
CURRENTLY there is approximately $200,000.00 available with an possiblity of $15-30k per year after that. Projects must be submitted by February 1, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. in order to be considered for this round, which ends in June of 2023 (FY 2022-2023).
Benefitting More Than Just U.S. Forest Service Land
Matt Dickinson, Sierra Zone GIS Specialist for the Carson District, explains it this way: “In the language of the actual law, there is no indication that it is only Forest Service lands. So, [the RAC] should be able to approve projects if they show a benefit to any federal land.”
OUR goal is to get as oodles and oodles of projects submitted so that we have a robust, perpetual list on which to vote. Since the initiative is ongoing projects that don’t get chosen initially can be considered in future years, so why not have as many in our back pockets as we can, right?
Projects Approved How?
HERE’S Matt again…
- There has to be a quorum of members in order to recommend projects.
- To move a project forward there would have to be a majority vote of yes within each of the three membership categories. If any one of the three groups votes no then the project does not move forward, as required by the committee charter.
- Funding would need to be decided by a simple majority of members. The options for funding include – fully fund the project; fund only a portion of the project; fund only a portion of the project now, but recommend the remaining funds be approved if additional funding becomes available; or recommend a project for funding above the amount requested if the project has the capacity.
- Finally, by a majority vote, projects would need to be ranked in order to determine the priority of which projects get funding with the current funds available and which ones would be funded first when more money becomes available.
OUR next meeting is February 28, 2023 and it’s at that meeting that we will begin the vetting process and vote on projects that have been submitted to date.
HERE are links to the forms you’ll need:
For more information or to submit a project idea contact Brian Peters (RAC Chairperson), firstname.lastname@example.org, or Matt Dickinson, Matthew.Dickinson@usda.gov, or 775-884-8154.
SO, spread the word! Share a link to this post on your social media. Part of an organization that could benefit from a project or projects? Let your leadership know. Know someone or some group that fits the bill? Give ’em a heads up.
THANKS and have a great 2023! Let’s start it off with a big bang for our CA Alps forests.
Submit your project ideas today!