January 2022 Bulletin
Volunteers from Creek Day 2019

Because of You All …

Thanks to two decades of community-based stewardship, Alpine Watershed Group is being honored by Carson Water Subconservancy District (CWSD) with the Andy Aldax Award for Exemplary Service in Conservation and Protection of the Carson River Watershed! Andy was a life-long resident, farmer, and dairyman in the Carson Valley who demonstrated an ongoing dedication to improving his community, as well as the Carson River watershed. He served as a CWSD Board Member from its inception in 1959 to 2013. The award was initiated in 2007 to honor Andy. Past award recipients, including some dedicated folks from Alpine County, can be viewed here.

The award will be presented to AWG at the CWSD Board Meeting on Wednesday, January 19, 6:30 p.m. at the Carson City Community Center in the Bonanza Room or you can tune in through Zoom. See the "Upcoming Events" section for the Agenda with the Zoom link. We warmly welcome our watershed group community to attend the presentation! This is your award.

New Board Member Carl Ruschmeyer

After four years of service as an AWG River Monitor and Restoration & Monitoring Committee member, Carl Ruschmeyer joined AWG’s board in December 2021. Carl was raised in the Tahoe basin and currently resides in the Round Hill General Improvement District in Douglas County, NV. He has a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from UC Davis and is a licensed professional engineer and water rights surveyor in Nevada. Carl has over 30 years of experience focusing on environmental engineering and public works administration. Since retiring from public service, Carl continues to pursue his interests and passion to promote and advocate for the protection and management of the ecological resources within the Lake Tahoe and Carson River watersheds. He is also a volunteer with US Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Volunteers, Desolation Wilderness Volunteers, League to Save Lake Tahoe, and UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. We are very grateful to have Carl’s expertise on our board!

You can view bios of all AWG board members and the list of Advisory Council members here. Thank you to each of these watershed community leaders!

A Round of Applause for Michael Barton

For the last six years, Michael Barton has served on AWG’s board, holding the position of Vice Chair since 2018. After continuing in this role for the past year despite relocating to Washington state, Michael is stepping off the board, but we are grateful that he is willing to continue offering AWG his financial expertise through AWG’s Advisory Council. Michael’s career in commercial banking, which included experience in financing nonprofit organizations, made him a truly unique and invaluable board member—rare is it to have someone who not only is interested in financial reports and budgets, but understands them so well they can explain them to the rest of the board. Michael’s love of Alpine County brought to AWG’s leadership not only this much needed expertise, but thoughtful insights on all watershed issues, and a kind, collaborative spirit to strengthen our team. Thank you for generously giving of your time and talents, Michael! We miss you in Alpine County, yet we are grateful for your ongoing counsel and support.
OR-93 from CDFW

Wander Your Watershed

End of Story for Wolf Who Passed Through Alpine County 

We have sad news to share about OR-93, the wolf that traveled from Oregon through at least 16 counties in California, including Alpine County, in early 2021. Born in 2019, OR-93 entered California on January 30, 2021. During his journey, he crossed at least three major highways, including Highway 99 and Interstate 5, before his radio transmission collar stopped working on April 5, 2021, in San Luis Obispo County. OR-93’s travels ended on November 10, 2021, when he was found dead along Interstate 5 in Kern County after experiencing trauma consistent with a vehicular strike.

Although OR-93 met an unfortunate end, this adventure has taken the species the furthest south into California since 1922. Gray wolves are currently listed as endangered under California’s Endangered Species Act. A wolf being able to travel so far into human-dominated territory and survive for an extended period of time means that wolves may be able to coexist with humans. However, OR-93’s demise illustrates the importance of modifying infrastructure to be more wildlife-friendly, such as through wildlife crossings like those discussed in this article.

Birds in the Snow

What a magical winter we have had so far. Thank you to Jim Dunn who submitted the above photographs of California quail and lesser goldfinches. Below are some winged friends seen from our office and Markleeville earlier this year (L-R pinyon jay and brown-headed cowbird).


We are so grateful for all of the donations received in response to our end-of-year appeal!
Thank you to the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation Donor Advised Fund for the gift of $3,750 for general operating support.

All Things Watersheds

We are launching a new section to keep you up to date on all things happening in our watersheds.
  • The 2020 Upper Carson River Watershed Water Quality Objectives report prepared by Mo Loden is now out! Our apologies on the delay—we were busy cleaning up data for a more efficient and standard method. Since 2004, AWG's dedicated volunteer River Monitors have collected baseline water quality data in the Upper Carson River watershed. Water quality data collections provide scientific basis for management and action needed in the Carson River watershed. By continuing long-term monitoring at the same sites at approximately the same time every year, this data can be compared from year to year to better understand if our watershed health is stable, improving, or deteriorating. The report can be found here. It explains how objectives are established in our region and how our water quality data sizes up. 
  • CWSD has launched "Watershed Moments," their campaign to bring awareness to actions that people can practice in order to protect the Carson River watershed. "Bag It," the most recent posting, discusses how dog poop can impact the watershed.

Upcoming Events

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.

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, Watershed Coordinator
Sierra Riker, Monitoring & Outreach Specialist
, Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP)

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Until next time!

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