February 2024 Newsletter
Alpine Watershed Group protects, conserves, and restores the watersheds of Alpine County by promoting sustainable community and science-based collaborative solutions.
Forest Health Coordinator Job Announcement
Please help us find our next Forest Health Coordinator by sharing the job announcement.

The application deadline is this upcoming Monday, February 26, but the application process may remain open until the position has been filled.

A Siberian goshawk at Eagles and Agriculture 2024
Bella Kurtz (left) and Kaitlyn Garber (right) at the opening reception
A white Siberian eagle owl at Eagles and Agriculture 2024

Eagles and Agriculture 2024 Takes Flight 

On February 8 Alpine Watershed Group was happy to again participate in the opening reception for Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual Eagles and Agriculture event. This multi-day gathering brings raptor and photography enthusiasts together to celebrate the yearly flocking of large birds of prey to agricultural lands in Nevada.  

The night was full of stunning photography and falconry. Guests were delighted to see in person a Siberian eagle owl, a white gyrfalcon, and a Siberian goshawk. Audience members chuckled at the common dispute over the pronunciation of Gyrfalcon—is it "gear" or "guy-er"? Many photographers were present, displaying their art, and there was a lively raffle.

Thank you again to the coordinators and sponsors of Eagles and Agriculture for including Alpine Watershed Group. We appreciate the opportunity to highlight Alpine County’s watersheds and our efforts to locals and visitors. To learn more about Eagles and Agriculture, and to get ready for next year's event, look to their website.

Fishing line from willow along the East Fork Carson River, collected by Isabella Kurtz
Fishing line from willow along the East Fork Carson River, collected by Isabella Kurtz
Climate Corner
Recreate Responsibly, Recycle Monofilament Fishing Line
By Isabella Kurtz, Wildfire Restoration and Forest Resiliency Fellow
It was a delightful, sunny, winter afternoon as I walked along the East Fork of the Carson River in Markleeville. A few inches of snow remained on the ground from previous snow showers, and the sun’s rays reflected off the snow and water of the East Fork. There was a vivid, yellow-orange lichen growing on a boulder across the river. It was illuminated by the sun and caught my attention, stopping me in my tracks. I observed the lichen for a few minutes before noticing something else glistening in the sun’s beams. This find was not natural and not nearly as exciting: It was fishing line.

As I began untangling the fishing line that was extensively woven around twigs of willow, I wondered what actions it might take to help reduce the waste left behind from recreational fishing activities. I would like to highlight the importance of retrieving stray fishing line that may get stuck in surrounding flora while casting, and why appropriate disposal methods of this line can have significant impacts on our environment.

Musser and Jarvis 2023 Report

As many of you know (and helped with!), in November 2021 AWG helped host a volunteer weekend in the Musser and Jarvis watershed to attempt to stabilize slopes and revegetate the area with native grasses after the Tamarack Fire came through. Since then, AWG has monitored the success of the restoration work. Biannually in July and September, AWG goes out to the site to take photos and note percent vegetation cover and species found. This data tracks how well the native grasses are filling in and whether any nonnative species are popping up in the watershed. California Climate Action Corps Fellows Kaitlyn Garber and Isabella Kurtz compiled data from the last year of monitoring. “In July of 2023, a total of 25 native species were identified, compared to only two nonnative species. Average percent cover has steadily increased between December 2021 and September 2023, peaking in July of 2023 at approximately 20%. Visually, the hillsides show little erosion.”
Read the full Musser and Jarvis 2023 Monitoring Report for all the details.
All Things Watersheds
  • Carson Water Subconservancy District will be hosting their Spring Forum on March 5 and 6. Register here for the forum!
  • 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. Please pass this opportunity on to others who might be interested!

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!

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

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Until next time!

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