Five Ways to Keep Fire on the Agenda – by Dr. Elwood Miller, Coordinator for the Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities
A Fire Adapted Community is one where the people have totally prepared themselves and the place they call home for surviving the inevitable presence of wildfire. To achieve this state of preparation, people need to change the way they think about their vulnerability as well as that of their house and the landscape where they live. They need to include the presence of fire as part of the community culture. Changing the culture of a community requires exposure to information that presents an alternate way of thinking about and picturing the surroundings and the structure, as well as personal behavior. Providing this information is not a “one and done” event but rather a well-planned communication scheme that involves routine and frequent delivery of the message. It means putting fire on the agenda; every agenda available.
In the fall of 2014 twenty seven successful community leaders were interviewed to learn from their experience and identify the methods they employed to keep fire on the agenda in their community. The top five approaches used to change the culture of their community are listed below in rank order of importance:
- Defensible space inspections of the house and landscape. This was consistently reported as the most effective educational tool available.
- Distribution of high quality, professionally prepared material such as that available from the Living With Fire Program and the local fire department. Having this material available at all times and at all community gatherings was an important component of keeping fire on the agenda.
- Personal contact through door-to-door campaigns. No means of communication is more important or effective than personal contact and face-to-face conversation.
- Presentations by respected fire professionals. Taking advantage of every available opportunity to have fire service professionals speak directly to members of the community brings credibility to the fire message. Their involvement also builds trust and creates a strong partnership that reinforces the shift in the community’s culture and enhances efforts to be prepared. Opportunities for presentations may be readily available or may have to be planned as neighborhood get-togethers.
- Routine and frequent distribution of notices, reminders, personal letters, news articles, personal stories, newsletters, and photographs. While all of this takes time and commitment, it is an effective way to keep people reminded that fire is a part of the culture and preparation for its occurrence is critical for the survival of the entire community. The utilization of social media can be very effective in keeping the message alive.
Whether you use one or all of these methods, the most important first step in adapting a community for fire is to create a fire culture. Using these methods will put fire on the agenda and greatly advance the mission of survival.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) today announced the award of up to $4,000,000 in Proposition 1 funds to the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) to partner with the California Tahoe Conservancy and the Tahoe Fund to seek acquisition of the Johnson Meadows Property located in South Lake Tahoe. The approximately 209-acre property is the largest privately owned meadow in the Lake Tahoe Basin and the last large private property holding in the lower nine miles of the Upper Truckee River (UTR).
The funding from DFW combines with $4,234,000 awarded to the Tahoe RCD by the California Tahoe Conservancy in March 2016. The Tahoe Fund is also a funding partner and will be seeking to raise an additional $100,000 to help secure the entire $8,315,000 necessary to acquire the Property.
“If completed, the acquisition of the Johnson Meadow Property will be one of the most important public land purchases in the last decade in the Lake Tahoe Basin,” said Kim Boyd, District Manager at the Tahoe RCD. “The Property would connect over 1,000 acres of UTR floodplain in near continuous public ownership within the UTR’s lower nine miles.”
Acquisition of the Property would preserve wildlife habitat and open space, create public access to the UTR, and prevent additional environmental degradation from grazing. Additionally, acquisition of the property could lead to potential future restoration opportunities such as floodplain enhancement, sediment filtration improvement, and wet meadow habitat enrichment.
“This potential acquisition places virtually the entire river corridor in public ownership,” said California Tahoe Conservancy Executive Director Patrick Wright, who noted that the Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service, the City of South Lake Tahoe, and California State Parks have all been working to restore various stretches of the river, the largest watershed in the Lake Tahoe Basin and the highest contributor of fine sediment that impacts the lake’s clarity. The Tahoe RCD hopes to complete negotiations with the land owners to enable the acquisition by the end of 2017.
Starting in October boat inspections will move to select launch ramps and winter hours will begin. Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) inspectors will be stationed at Cave Rock and Lake Forest boat launches from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, weather and construction permitting. All boats without an intact Tahoe inspection seal are required to get an inspection during daylight hours. Decontaminations are available at Cave Rock and Lake Forest throughout October as long as weather permits. Decontamination fees will apply for watercraft that are not clean, drained and dry. “Clean, Drain and Dry” watercraft that have been in a known infested waterbody will also require a precautionary decontamination at no cost. Boats with intact inspection seals are permitted to launch at all open launch facilities; however, inspections are only available at Cave Rock and Lake Forest. Boaters are encouraged to confirm hours and inspection locations online at TahoeBoatInspections.com or by calling the toll-free hotline at 888-824-6267.
“It is more efficient to move inspections back to the boat ramps with the decrease in boater traffic during the slower fall and winter months,” said Dennis Zabaglo, aquatic resources program manager at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, “but we will continue operations at roadside inspection locations for the 2017 summer boating season. We appreciate the continued cooperation from Tahoe boaters in helping to protect our amazing recreational resources from the threat of aquatic invasive species and supporting our nationally recognized prevention program.”
According to monitoring and scientific reports, Lake Tahoe remains free of new invasive species introductions, which are major threats to the overall health of Lake Tahoe and surrounding waterbodies. During the 2016 boating season, Tahoe RCD watercraft inspectors performed more than 7,500 inspections. In total, more than 15,000 vessels launched at Lake Tahoe, including both newly inspected vessels and those with intact Tahoe-issued inspection seals.
As watercraft continue to arrive from high-risk waters, the importance of Lake Tahoe’s Watercraft Inspection Program remains critical. In fact, in 2016, 35 of the inspected watercraft were harboring aquatic invasive plants, mussels or snails. With our efficient roadside inspection stations, Tahoe RCD decontaminated approximately 3,500 watercraft with hot water, preventing invasive species from entering Tahoe’s waters.
“We would like to thank the thousands of boaters who arrived at our Watercraft Inspection Stations with their watercraft clean, drained and dry,” said Nicole Cartwright, aquatic invasive species program manager for Tahoe RCD. “These boaters were able to get on the water faster and avoided paying the additional fees.”
Tahoe RCD continues to support aquatic invasive species prevention efforts in the Truckee region. Tahoe RCD partnered with the Town of Truckee to provide watercraft inspections and decontaminations for Donner Lake at our Truckee-Tahoe watercraft inspection station. Please join the Town of Truckee at 6pm Wednesday September 28th at Town Hall in the Council Chambers for their second public workshop about the future of Donner Lake’s prevention program. Tahoe RCD watercraft inspectors also educated over 3,000 boaters and paddlers about preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species at Prosser and Boca Reservoirs in Nevada County and Stampede Reservoir in Sierra County.
Prevention efforts for over 12,000 paddlers in the Region occurred at beach kiosks, boat ramps and park entrances. Watercrafts were assessed for their risk of transporting aquatic invasive species from previously visited waterbodies. Paddlers were also educated about self-inspecting and decontaminating canoes, kayaks and paddleboards and encouraged to become a Tahoe Keeper (TahoeKeepers.org).
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and TAHOE CITY, Calif. – August 22, 2016 – In an effort to spur innovation in Tahoe, the Tahoe Fund announced that it is providing the initial funds for a project that will evaluate UV light as a new method to remove aquatic invasive weeds. This innovative approach that will be used in a pilot program at Lakeside Marina and Beach could change the way aquatic invasive weeds are controlled in Tahoe’s watershed and beyond if successful.
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On Sunday August 14th join us from 12:00 pm to 3:30 pm for the 9th annual Landscape Conservation Workshop at the Evans Family Garden. The garden is located at 1383 Mount Olympia Circle in South Lake Tahoe. To get to the Evans Family Garden from South Lake Tahoe travel south on Lake Tahoe Boulevard from the “Wye” to Mt. Ranier Drive, just past the Angora Creek Bridge, and take your second left onto Mt. Olympia Circle. SIgns will be posted from Lake Tahoe Boulevard .
The workshop will provide a unique opportunity to see demonstrations of Tahoe Friendly Landscape practices and to interact with local conservation professionals who will be there to answer questions. Subjects that will be covered at the event include: BMPS and erosion control, gardening for wildlife, water conservation and irrigation efficiency, Fire Adapted Communities and Defensible Space, Tahoe native and adapted plants, lawn conversion practices, vegetable gardening, and composting. We would graciously thank our event partners: South Lake Tahoe Public Utilities District, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, California Conservation Corps, Lake Valley Fire Protection District, League to Save Lake Tahoe, and the Lake Tahoe Master Gardeners. For more information contact Adam Henriques at email@example.com
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