December 2021 Bulletin
Alpine Watershed Group works to preserve and enhance the natural system functions in Alpine County's watersheds for future generations through collaboration, education, and proactively implementing stewardship projects.
Volunteers from Musser and Jarvis Restoration Weekend

Musser & Jarvis Restoration Weekend

Thank you volunteers!

On November 20 and 21, the weekend before Thanksgiving, 44 volunteers worked to restore the Musser and Jarvis watershed. This drainage supplies 70% of Markleeville’s water and was severely burned in the Tamarack Fire. The restoration project was an immense effort that volunteers from all over came to help with, including Carson Valley, Carson City, Reno, South Lake Tahoe, and even Washington State! The volunteers contributed 284 hours to rake the dirt above the ash, spread native grass seed, and fill in the soil on the upslope side of felled trees. These trees were felled by two CAL FIRE California Conservation Corps (CCC) crews for erosion control. More information on using burned trees as log erosion barriers can be found here

The project would never have happened without the efforts of Mary and Bill Young. Mary (the president of Markleeville Water Company) coordinated with the US Forest Service and applied for funding from the Tamarack Fire Assistance Fund to pay for the wattles, which were installed by CCC, and grass seed. Bill was on the ground before and after the volunteers, and he worked tirelessly to make this a success. Thank you also to the other partner organizations, Alpine Trails Association and Friends of Hope Valley, that helped recruit volunteers and lent their assistance and tools. Working on this project was extremely cathartic for our community after such a devastating event. We are also grateful to all who donated to the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce’s fund and to the Chamber for granting the money for the project materials.


Thank you to the Hellman Family Fund for generously granting AWG $2,000 for general operating support. This sort of flexible funding is so critical for sustaining our small nonprofit organization.

Thank you to The Strong Foundation for Environmental Values for granting AWG $4,000 for “Tamarack Fire Recovery in the Upper Carson River Watershed.” This timely grant supported our staff’s help with the Musser & Jarvis Restoration Weekend and will help fund AWG’s project monitoring.

AWG’s New Watershed Coordinator Rachel Kieffer

We are excited to welcome our new Watershed Coordinator Rachel Kieffer, who began working with us at the end of November and is busy getting up to speed on all things AWG. Rachel, originally from the Los Angeles area, joins AWG after having four years of environmental experience throughout the western United States. She served four different AmeriCorps terms, which included leading a wetland restoration project, promoting salmonid habitat, establishing and maintaining trails in the Great Basin, and working with recreational users in the Sonoran Desert. Rachel has most recently worked with Tahoe Resource Conservation District’s seasonal crews, helping to improve California Tahoe Conservancy plots throughout the Tahoe basin and participating in fire recovery projects after the Caldor Fire. Rachel comes to us excited to work with Alpine County’s amazing community members and eager to help AWG promote watershed health. Look out for her on the trails in the spring time as she explores this wonderful area in her free time.

You can contact Rachel at to find out how you can participate in our 2022 monitoring season or for information on other AWG activities.

Wander Your Watershed

Ways to Wing It with Birding

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC), hosted by the National Audubon Society, is celebrating its 122nd year of collecting bird data. This year’s CBC is still heavily impacted by COVID-19, with restrictions causing the cancelation of several planned counts. CBC is still occurring this year from December 14 until January 7, with groups across the states meeting to bird and record information. Each group is assigned a day to record, then all those submissions will be compiled and used to help in the conservation of bird species in North America. All of the groups can be found using the Audubon’s site, and you can follow the California groups in more detail here. Unfortunately, the two closest groups to Markleeville have been canceled for CBC, but that should not stop you from birding from wherever you are. Even if you cannot attend a group and participate with CBC this year, there are still several ways to enjoy birding, including using apps like eBird or Merlin Bird ID to identify and submit sightings. There is also the Great Backyard Bird Count from February 18 through February 21 that is intended for anyone to participate and takes as little as 15 minutes. You can find more information here. For future meetups and to stay informed, you can find a local Audubon group here. There is currently no Audubon group that covers Alpine County, but there are several in the surrounding area.

However, or wherever, you may find yourself birding this season, let us know by submitting any interesting findings or photographs to

Cedar waxwing on snow covered branch.
Photograph Credit: Adam Maurer, Reno NV

Season of Giving

As the year draws to an end, we are reflecting on all we have to be thankful for from this past year, and we are beginning to plan for the year ahead and all the projects we hope to complete. From our water quality monitoring to post-fire restoration projects, much of the planning and implementing is funded by you! Please consider elevating your donation today by either clicking on the Donate button below or reaching out to any of the AWG staff. We could not do what we do without your support and input. Thank you, and happy holidays from all of us at AWG!

Upcoming Events

Free Avalanche Safety Events 

The Nickolay Dodov Foundation is hosting a couple Avalanche Educational Events. The first is Saturday, December 18, at 5 p.m. This event is taking place at Turtle Rock Community Center in Markleeville, CA. The second is on Monday, December 27, at 2:30 p.m. in the Sunroom at the Bear Valley Resort. These events will discuss how to spot avalanche danger, navigate avalanche terrain, what gear to carry and how to use it, how to find a report of current avalanche conditions, and how to learn more. Contact for more information.
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Until next time!

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