In August 2021, CAL FIRE announced that it was awarding $4.7M to CLERC and a group of partners to complete the Lake County Wildfire Resilience Project - Phase 1. The project was originally slated for award in mid-2020, but was delayed by the covid-19 pandemic. With this funding, CLERC, along with partners, will restore health and fire resilience to Lake County devastated by years of wildfires, prolonged drought, pest damage and death of conifers, and absence of natural fires leading to unprecedented levels of fuel. With local, state, federal, tribal, and private partners this project will use fuels reduction, prescribed fire, pest management, reforestation, and biomass utilization, to maximize carbon sequestration and minimize the loss of carbon from mega fires.
Lake County, California has had a tough time with wildfire in the last decade. Hit by the Valley Fire in 2015, the Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018, and many other fires, the county faces not only questions about how to rebuild, but also how to prepare for future wildfire. Like many places in California, Lake County strives to identify areas of risk before they are devastated by fire, and mitigate risk for those areas in whatever way they can. Community building plays an important role in this process, and the Lake County community has certainly come together in the wake of fire. But the question remains: once the community is together, where do you go next?
This plethora of data is organized and stored in an ArcMap attribute table that corresponds to specific project areas and management units. The attributes are then analyzed using a Python program, which categorizes projects into eight priority levels. Data-driven prioritization is extremely valuable in deciding which projects to address first; a long list of projects can be overwhelming without it. CLERC and others in Lake County hope that, with improvements and feedback from interested parties, the use of this system could be expanded to prioritize wildfire management projects in Lake County and beyond.
The following Storymap showcases how this system has been used to prioritize and update the Lake County Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The data collected for this Storymap and its contents was gathered with the help of tribal, governmental, and community experts. The framework that followed is in its infancy, but it has the potential for growth and improvement, and it may one day be helpful for partners outside of the Lake County area. Questions are very welcome, and can be emailed to Laurel Bard, Fire and Forestry Project Coordinator Take a look to see what’s next for Lake County’s wildfire management.
Below is a presentation of the StoryMap provided by CLERC staff to the Lake County Board of Supervisors on July 27, 2021.
by: CLERC Staff
CLERC is over a year into implementing the Lake County Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project - Phase 1 and we're finally starting to see some major progress. Below are some highlights from CLERC's most recently submitted progress report to CAL FIRE.
From Lake County News:
The new “Lady of the Lake” column is written by Angela De Palma-Dow, a scientist, certified limnologist and staffer at Lake County Water Resources (It should be noted, she’s writing these columns on her own time, not county time, and the views expressed are her own). Her goal is to answer questions from community members about Clear Lake. Email her at LadyoftheClearLake@gmail.com.
Dear Lady of the Lake,
We have a family property on the lake in Soda Bay and the water in the lake there is really gross, it’s weedy, it smells, and I have heard that the algae growing on the top is toxic? We have children and dogs. What is going on and what do we do?
— Concerned in Soda Bay
Thank you for asking this question, I am glad you are paying attention to the lake and you are noticing that the conditions have changed...
"Will Evans is a dynamic force for environmental protection and scientific study. As President of CLERC, he has facilitated the acquisition of a $1M grant from the State of California to assist in wildfire resistance and recovery. He has played a prominent role in the work to protect and restore the unique Clear Lake Hitch, an endangered native fish of Clear Lake, working on the prevention of the invasion of quagga mussels into the lake, and established an organization, CLERC, to carry out and increase the amount of scientific research being conducted on Clear Lake and using the research as a way to promote economic development for the local community.
In case you missed it - Frank Aebly and Hinda Darner of the Upper Lake Ranger District of the Mendocino National Forest discuss the impacts from the 2018 Ranch Fire and the efforts to restore the landscape.
By: Laurel Bard, CivicSpark Fellow
The sun was already setting behind Mt Konocti and the Black Forest was deep in shadow by the time I started the climb. There was no official trail, but someone had left hints: cairns stacked atop decomposing douglas fir logs, or balanced precariously on huge boulders; and, best of all, a sturdy branch carved on one end into the perfect walking stick. I have a habit of following social trails, but this one was particularly steep, and the rocky dirt under my feet meant that for every two steps I took, I slid back one. Whenever I was about to give up, turn back – surely only deer had gone farther than this, any person would have stopped by now – I would see another cairn, another sign that my determination wasn’t unique. I kept on.
I was trying to reach something that I’d seen from the ground: a tall bluff of exposed rock on the side of Mt. Konocti, which juts out into the Black Forest like the figurehead of a ship. I have a condition called being a climber, and it means that when I see rock, I must touch it. And that was some big rock. The only trouble: as soon as I entered the Black Forest, that bluff disappeared. The trees stood so thick that when I looked behind me as I climbed, I couldn’t see Clear Lake, despite the severity of the slope and how close the Black Forest is to the lakeshore. Forget seeing above me to the bluff – I had no hope of that at all. I just had to imagine that whoever set the cairns was also interested in getting to where I was going.
The Clear Lake Environmental Research Center (CLERC) is a nonprofit organization in northern CA with a mission to bring permanent science to Clear Lake, the largest freshwater lake in CA and oldest lake in the Americas. On our way to complete our mission we are creating an accredited environmental laboratory for wastewater and drinking water. After a short time, it became clear there was no forum for the professionals working in laboratories and so we formed the California Society of Environmental Analysts (CSEA).
CLERC Executive Director Provides Update at the Sierra Club Lake Group Community Meeting - November 19, 2020
The latest news, views, and perspectives from the Clear Lake Environmental Research Center (CLERC)