March 2024 Newsletter
Alpine Watershed Group protects, conserves, and restores the watersheds of Alpine County by promoting sustainable community and science-based collaborative solutions.
Trees being planted at Arbor Day 2023
Help Plant Trees
Join the Forest Health Community Working Group on Friday, April 26 for Alpine County's annual Arbor Day tree planting event!
9:45 a.m. Gather to Carpool – Meet at Turtle Rock Park
10:00 a.m. Tree Planting – Curtz Lake Trailhead
12:00 p.m. Lunch – Turtle Rock Park Community Center

For more information: or (530) 694-2327

River Monitors during March river monitoring

March River Monitors Kick Off the Season

Our river monitoring program restarted this month. Volunteer river monitors went out to eight different sites in the Upper Carson River watershed and collected water quality data. Thank you to all our volunteers who participated this month—some had to snowshoe out to sites covered in snow!

If you are interested in becoming a river monitor, mark you calendars for the River Monitor Training and Refresher on Saturday, May 18. Contact Headwaters Coordinator Rachel Kieffer, or (530) 694-2327, with any questions or to learn more about AWG’s longest-running volunteer program.
River Monitoring site in March
Area map of the Hope Valley Project.
Hope Valley Project Updates 

AWG has continued work on the Hope Valley Restoration and Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Project since project construction started in September 2020. For the past three years, AWG has been monitoring project success through vegetation, erosion, photo, and water quality monitoring. As part of adaptive management, we’ve led Creek Day volunteers in implementing additional actions at the two project sites. Volunteers have planted willow and sod plugs, and helped remove exclusionary fencing (now down for good due to great vegetation growth). The purpose of this project is to help reduce erosion and sedimentation in the West Fork Carson River at the two project locations. The long-term goals of this project are to improve water quality and aquatic habitat and create a more connected and functional channel and floodplain.
Site visit image in Hope Valley
As we go into the last year of grant funding, our project team will continue to monitor the conditions of both sites and discuss any other management at either site that can be covered in the remaining budget and timeline. Each year AWG creates an annual monitoring report summarizing the project’s progress, a requirement of the project permit from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. The 2023 Annual Monitoring Report as well as other project information is available on the project webpage.
AWG Receives Funding to Lead Environmental Education Lessons
AWG is excited to announce funding for two years of environmental education through the California Coastal Commission's WHALE TAIL® Grants Program. Funding will include classroom lessons and field trips that cover topics on watersheds, ecosystems, climate change and wildfire, and environmental stewardship. Lessons will begin before the end of this school year and continue through 2025.  AWG is partnering with Alpine County Library, and the funding will cover some awesome new library resources. Stay tuned for more details!
We are so grateful to have Alpine County included in this longstanding state grant program!
A bumblebee blending in perfectly with a goldenrod flower
A bumblebee blending in perfectly with a goldenrod flower
A hairstreak butterfly perched atop an aster flower
A hairstreak butterfly perched atop an aster flower
Can you find the pollinator? A sneaky stinkbug sits amongst rabbitbrush flowers.
Can you find the pollinator? A sneaky stinkbug sits amongst rabbitbrush flowers.
A bumblebee dips its head into a monkshood flower.
A bumblebee dips its head into a monkshood flower.
Climate Corner
Planning Your Pollinator Garden
By Kaitlyn Garber, Wildfire Restoration and Forest Resiliency Fellow
Bring on the slushy season! The days are warming up, and the snow is beginning to melt. This is a great time to start thinking about pollinators again. There’s a lot of information about pollinator gardens out there, and it can be overwhelming, so here are some tips to get you started.
Think local! Every area has different pollinators and different native plants that attract them. A great tool for prioritizing local plants and pollinators is The Native Plant Finder from the National Wildlife Federation. It lets you type in your zip code and sorts the local plants by the highest number of pollinators that use them, which makes it one of the best resources for localizing your pollinator garden.  
Dream big! Planning your garden as a unit will make the biggest impact. Pollinators need certain plants for food, known as nectar plants, and certain plants for shelter, known as host plants. A garden that can provide both will do the most good. Pollinators also like to have some type of flower blooming for as many months out of the year as possible, and including a variety of flower shapes will provide for a diverse array of pollinators. Thinking of the whole picture as you start out will help you remember to check all these boxes A good native garden planning tool is Calscape’s Garden Planner. Try it out here.
Don’t forget your features! As mentioned, pollinators need both nectar and host plants. But there are certain features that will go that extra mile and are sure to bring all these special critters have to offer to your yard. According to the Eastern Sierra Land Trust’s Pollinator Garden Certification program, a pollinator garden is best if it has water features and both natural and constructed shelters in addition to plants. Learn more about these criteria here.
Remember fire! Gardening and fire safety don’t have to be mutually exclusive. There are guidelines for gardening according to defensible space standards. Native plants are also predisposed to resist fire, rather than fuel it. For more about guidelines for home hardening and gardening with fire, visit the CAL FIRE defensible space website here.
Watch what happens! Pollinators lining up in your garden? Have some extra fun with your pollinator garden and engage in community science. There are many apps for identifying and reporting the pollinators you're seeing, including the Bumble Bee Watch app, iNaturalist, and the Calscape web app
For more information or resources, feel free to reach out to Bella or me via the contact information below. Happy gardening!
Kaitlyn Garber (left) and Bella Kurtz (right) speak at the annual CWSD Forum.
Kaitlyn Garber (left) and Bella Kurtz (right) speak at the annual CWSD Forum.
Learning from the CWSD Forum  
On March 5 and 6 AWG staff attended the Carson River Watershed Forum, held by the Carson River Coalition (CRC) in conjunction with the Carson Water Subconservancy District (CWSD). The theme of this year’s forum was “Looking Ahead.” Speakers participating in this year’s forum discussed the Carson River watershed’s future water management needs and current conditions. The presentation topics consisted of floodplain management, stormwater master planning, current water outlooks for the Carson Basin, noxious weed management, and regenerative agriculture. Alpine Watershed Group's California Climate Action Corps Fellows Bella Kurtz and Kaitlyn Garber gave a presentation about the California Climate Action Corps program and the work that they have accomplished with AWG so far, as well as their future aspirations. The audience clearly loved hearing from AWG's enthusiastic AmeriCorps members!
Funding for Improving Ag Soil Health
The Central Sierra Healthy Soils Program has received funding to provide free technical assistance to farmers and ranchers in Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, and Tuolumne counties looking to improve soil health. If you are interested in participating, please fill out the Interest Form here. The grant solicitation period opens on April 2, and the application will be sent to individuals who submitted an Interest Form. Please pass this opportunity on to others who might be interested!
Washoe Earth Day Flyer
All Things Watersheds
In our region, Earth Day (April 22) marks the start of numerous spring events to celebrate our planet and to learn more about best practices and environmental efforts in the region. Below are a few of the upcoming events. Please stop by AWG's table and say hi!
  • Sierra Nevada Alliance Wild & Scenic Film Festival – Monday, April 22, evening at Valhalla Tahoe (details and tickets) 
  • Arbor Day Tree Planting – Friday, April 26, 10:00 a.m. at Curtz Lake Trailhead (details)
  • South Lake Tahoe Earth Day – Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Lake Tahoe Community College
  • Markleeville Teddy Bear Parade – Saturday, April 27, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Diamond Valley School
  • Washoe Earth Day – Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Carson Colony Gym
  • Bear Valley Teddy Bear Parade – Thursday, May 9, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Bear Valley School

Upcoming Events

Friday, April 26Arbor Day Tree Planting
Saturday, May 18River Monitor Training
Wednesday, April 24, 5 p.m. – AWG Board Meeting at Markleeville Library
Saturday, September 21Creek Day 2024 

We are grateful for the financial support of all who love Alpine County. We are able to lead volunteer workdays and field trips, support community science data collection, and host California Climate Action Corps Fellows because of your generosity. Thank you!

Elevate Your Donation Graphic
Gold Transparency Candid Logo
AWG has earned a 2023 Gold Seal of Transparency with Candid! Check out our Nonprofit Profile here

Ways to Connect or Help

We always love to hear from our watershed community! Below are email links to reach AWG's staff, or reach us at AWG's office at (530) 694-2327. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Kimra McAfee, Executive Director
Rachel Kieffer, Headwaters Coordinator
Kaitlyn Garber, Wildfire Restoration and Forest Resiliency Fellow
Bella Kurtz, Wildfire Restoration and Forest Resiliency Fellow

Contact Us!

Facebook Instagram YouTube
Tobacco-free Alpine County graphic
A quick note for Gmail users:
To get our monthly bulletin email sent to your "Inbox" instead of "Promotions,"
click and drag the email over to your "Primary" tab.

Until next time!

AWG logo
powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.