Discussion

Let us know what you think about any topic related to the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project in the forums below. The Principal Investigators on the UC Science Team cannot answer every post, but they will read all comments in their areas, and respond to comments as a group at each quarterly meeting. We greatly value your input!

John Battles - SNAMP PI, response to comments by Kim_Ingram, at 11:35 a.m. on 21 July 2014,

The following response to Jerry Bloom's comments re. the American Fire comes from John Battles, SNAMP PI:

"As for the concern regarding the lack of monitoring of the fire-fighting efforts, it seems to me to be a challenging proposition to do the kind of "simple" monitoring Mr Bloom is talking about. Safety concerns and command needs limit access of researchers. And back-fires are often adjusted on the fly from the front lines. So knowing what is what when the emphasis is on containing the fire is anything but a simple matter.

Determining what tree will or will not die is a controversial question. From a scientific perspective, my sense is that most, but not all of those badly burned green trees will die in the next five years. During our re-measure, we will note any hazard trees in our plots that were cut but we cannot assess char and scorch height."

The following comments and concerns were sent to me from Jerry Bloom, a participant in our field trip to the American Fire, June 19, 2014:

"I went on the SNAMP tour of the Last Chance area. It was interesting but I was pretty disturbed by the lack of follow up on what actually happens when the fire runs through the study area. I know that the fire came through before anyone expected that it would but still it would have been nice to have had funds available in advance to monitor the fire behavior and the suppression activity. A good example is that there was much backfiring in the area - I would bet that much of the study area was actually backfired rather than burned by the wildfire. However, the FS has no idea as to where the backfire met the wildfire - not because they could not have made the determination - they just didn't bother to do the monitoring that would have been required.

The roadside hazard sale is really aggressive. They are taking many large old green trees that they claim are dead (they just don't know it). Where have we heard that before?

They did take us to an area where there was a large area of dead fir that they said were not killed by crown fire. The trees were green after the fire was extinguished but have subsequently died. Interestingly this was an area where they had cable logged and thus the slash had been left on the ground. They had hoped for a couple of years of snow to crush the slash down. In an adjacent area that hadn't been logged, the ground fire did not kill the trees. They thought that both these areas were from the wildfire, but I am suspicious. After returning home and looking at the maps, I think that both those areas may have been backfired. Again, with no monitoring, there is no way to know.

The SNAMP team is trying to get emergency funds to do some monitoring now but the roadside salvage is occurring regardless and I fear a great opportunity has been lost."

Jerry Bloom, Science Director Forest Issues Group Nevada City, CA

Thank you Jerry. We will have someone respond to your comments and concerns as soon as possible.

Kim

Beargrass burning at Last Chance Site by jwlong, at 10:39 a.m. on 1 November 2011,

I was forwarded notice about a planned "Bear Grass burn area" at the Last Chance study site. Do you have information about the objectives/prescription for that particular treatment as well as what kinds of monitoring data will be collected pre/post to evaluate the effects? My colleague, Frank Lake, and I are interested in gathering information about fire effects on cultural resources as well as monitoring prescribed fires on the quality of those resources for cultural uses. Thank you, Jonathan Long Pacific Southwest Research Station

Met station concerns and comments by Kim_Ingram, at 11:07 a.m. on 30 November 2010,

The following concerns and comments were brought up from a general public participant after the UC Water Team field trip to Duncan Peak at the Last Chance study site. The UC Water Teams response follows.

"Thanks for allowing me to attend the field trip to Duncan Peak. Good timing....getting up there before this storm. I have one small concern. When there is a lot of snowmobilers out, those poles (met stations) won't be that easy to see. I think that they should be painted a bright orange on top to help for visibility. I mentioned it to the guy who was leading us to the different sensor sites... He said that they (snowmobilers) wouldn't be going that fast & would see them. I don't think that he understands that the extreme snowmobilers around here go very fast on the sides of the mountains, they don't stick to groomed trails; & are out at night sometimes in major storms...not just during the day. Although I agree that someone probably will not be hitting a sensor pole, it wouldn't hurt to make them more visible." Sincerely, Rita Moriarty

"Painting the poles orange would certainly make them more visible to snowmobilers...but my concern is that they would also be extremely visible to everyone else and make them very susceptible to vandalism. I also think that the number of trees surrounding most of our poles would not enable snowmobilers to go very fast around most of our installations. I have seen snowmobile tracks around our previously installed equipment, and they all purposefully avoid the poles. The solar panels on the top make them fairly visible to anyone close by in most conditions. While there are some snowmobilers that do go out at night and in blizzards, that is not recommended by, or for anyone and they do so at their own risk. Furthermore, all terrain covered by snowmobilers is supposed to be reviewed every time before any fast or difficult snowmobiling, due to changes in snow condition, along with any small trees, sticks, logs (or poles!) sticking up that may not be visible at fast speeds or from far away.

I appreciate the concern that Rita has shown for the snowmobilers out there (as we are some of them). We certainly don't want anyone getting hurt or injured from our installations. However, I believe that in most normal conditions our installations will not cause a problem for safe snowmobiling, and we cannot control the actions of those riders that choose unsafe snowmobiling practices."

Thanks, ~Phil Saksa UC Water Team

"Hi All,
I really didn't think about vandalism & wouldn't think that it would be a high priority in winter. Snowmobilers are normally just interested in riding. When you put up any extensions, it might be possible to flag or paint the tops in just the sites that are in the open . That way it isn't allot of extra work for the team. I just mentioned the visibility of poles because you said that if the people on the field trip thought of anything to let you know. I feel that visibility could be important & needed to address that issue." Thanks for listening. Rita Moriarty

MET Station costs by Kim_Ingram, at 10:32 a.m. on 27 October 2009,

At the September 1st water field trip to the Last Chance site, a question was raised as to how much our MET stations cost? There is potential interest by other organizations in setting up similar MET stations. The water team has provided the following estimated cost breakdown for the SNAMP MET stations.

Tower - 10 meter aluminum tower - $700; Datalogger - Campbell Scientific CR1000 - $1,350; Remote Data Transmitter - GOES Setup - $3,400; Precipitation - Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge - $1,100; Net Radiation - Kipp & Zonen NR Lite - $1,600; Incoming Radiation - Li-Cor Li200 - $500; Snow Depth - Judd Ultrasonic Sensor - $600; Barametric Pressure - Sollnst Barologger - $500; Wind Speed & Direction - RM Young 05103V - $1,150; Temperature & Relative Humidity - Visalia HMP50, Radiation Shield - $450; Misc. equipment - wires,box, concrete - $1,000;

Total - $12,350

I appreciate the challenge with identifying a site and ensuring it remains unaffected by the adaptive management study. I applaud the team for its position, “The UCST continued to emphasize the need to ensure that what they are studying represents the “normal” routine management activities as guided by the 2004 Record of Decision (ROD)”. However, I noted a later comment, “This will allow for mutual planning of SPLAT placement to maximize research goals”. I find that at odds with the earlier statement. As an independent, shouldn’t the UCST only monitor the results of the FS and not be involved in anyway with the placement of the SPLATs?

The field notes alluded several times to the SNAMP goals. These are probably articulated somewhere, but if they will control the selection of the site and perhaps the “mutual planning of the SPLAT placement”, they should be headlined somewhere.

I would suggest that as this project moves forward, that the UCST also select two other sites, one in the north and one in the south, near these areas, for the purpose of comparison between the projects that are approved in the study sites and the projects approved in these non-study sites to determine the degree that the projects really are typical and not altered because of the adaptive management study.

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