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Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation

 View public comments. Dave Pickett, D36 MC Sports Committee - 4/7/14

 I am writing to you  today to strongly urge you  to decline the Grant Application  from The Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation which is run by Ms. Karen Schambach. In recent years CSNC and Ms. Schambach have attempted through the use various grants and the utilization of nefarious 'sciences' to close

The Rubicon Trail and other routes in El Dorado County. Weather it be  some colored Reptile or imagined archeological finds, this group is by all means no friend to the OHV community. Albeit, several OHV groups and foundations locally have attempted to garner some cooperation with CSNC, they are adamant in there desire to ban OHV use  regardless of communications and facts that prove there theories  false.

The Rubicon Trail in recent years has gone through  a great deal of trials and tribulations which has netted some  great results. Unfortunately, these results still do not satisfy groups such as CSNC. Fortifying  them with a grant would  be a detriment to the OHV community in that the funds would be utilized  against us.

Many people as of late have become well educated in the maintenance and preservation of their local OHV trails. The State Parks OHV division has been key in this as well. The OHV funds would be better spent  with other groups that would further that education and maintenance of our trails not close them.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter. Tom Gibney, Rubicon Rockheads - 3/27/14

 We are delighted to support both CSNC's grant projects.  The El Dorado National Forest has suffered a tremendous amount of needless damage from illegal OHV use. 

Much needed restoration efforts will be implemented.  Mulching and barriers will in time, help abused meadows heal from years of abuse.

Funds are needed to train professionals and volunteers how to design and implement restoration techniques. Judicious monitoring will be required to ensure the success of this worthy project.

We are encouraged by the CSNC's ambitious endeavors and look forward to watching the progress of the efforts. Jan Alford, Jon Rogers, Sandi Tardiff, ORV Watch Steering Committee - 4/2/14

 In the grant projects listed you target mainly the OHV areas of the forest. In the first paragraph of the grant request you state that you (restore areas where restoration can be accomplished without ground disturbance,) just walking in the area is ground disturbing. You are requesting shovels, rakes etc., which are all ground-disturbing tools. You also state in the 3rd paragraph: (Restoration activities will include monitoring and GPS tracking, placing physical barriers, raking or disguising vehicle tracks, mulching impacted areas with native materials, and, where appropriate, planting native vegetation or seed to restore areas to natural conditions), witch are all ground disturbing.

There are varying opinions as to what is actual damage and what is perceived damage.
 
In the 2nd grant request you request grant money for meadow restoration training. The main reason of the loss of meadows is the 80 to 95% canopy cover. The records of an area in and around Yosemite Park documented, that in 1911 the canopy cover was only 29%, that allowed 71% of the forest for meadows.
 
I OPPOSE both of these as the largest request is for salaries with no matching money, for a volunteer organization and the direct targeting of OHV’s, when there are thousands of other visitors to the forest that may have caused damage, hikers cutting switchbacks and mountain bikers pioneering trails.
 
# Project Type Project Title Grant
Request
Match Total
Project
Cost
1 G13-04-58-R01 Restoration 225,355 112,795 338,150
2 G13-04-58-R02 Restoration 104,071 37,429 141,500
3 TOTAL329,426 150,224 479,650
Michael Damaso - 4/6/14

 General Application Requirements
 
CCR 4970.05. GENERAL APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
(2) Applicant shall notify the public of the opportunity to review and comment on the Preliminary Application no later than the first Tuesday following the first Monday in March. The notice shall include instructions for accessing the Division Website for Application review and public comments. Public notification efforts shall include at least one of the following:
(A) Notice mailed and/or emailed to those persons the Applicant determines most likely to have an interest in or be affected by the Application, and to those who have requested notice,
(B) Publication on Applicant’s website,
(C) Publication in local newspaper,
(D) News release,
(E) Public meeting or hearing conducted by the Applicant.
 
As of Mar. 15, 2014, there is no notice on the CSNC web site.  I am on a mailing list maintained by the Eldorado NF as an interested person and I have not been notified.  Public Notice doesn’t show up on a search of the local newspaper, The Mountain Democrat.  Applicant claims to be working with the Eldorado NF but notification does not show up on a search of the Eldorado NF web site
 
Evaluation Criteria
5. Project Performance - Q 5. (ONLY for Applicants WITH legal OHV riding opportunities.*
*  First time Applicants, Applicants with active Project(s) which have not reached the end of the Project performance period, and past Applicants with no active Projects within the last two years (4 points).
 
The Applicant does not have legal OHV riding opportunities.  The land manager is not included in this Criteria.  Applicant should receive no points.
 
7. Prevention of OHV trespass - Patrol (Page 2) - Q 7. (ONLY for Applicants WITH legal OHV riding opportunities).
 
b. The majority of OHV Opportunity areas are patrolled: 5
(Check the one most appropriate) (Please select one from list)
*  At least 5 days per week (5 points)
 
The Applicant does not have legal OHV riding opportunities.  The land manager is not included in this Criteria.  .  Applicant should receive no points.
 
7. Prevention of OHV trespass - Measures (Page 3) - Q 7. (ONLY for Applicants WITH legal OHV riding opportunities).
c. Measures to prevent OHV trespass into neighboring properties and/or closed areas: 5
 
The Applicant does not have legal OHV riding opportunities.  The land manager is not included in this Criteria.  .  Applicant should receive no points.
 
13. OHV Outreach - Q 13. (For ALL Applicants).
Check all forms of OHV outreach the Applicant utilizes:
 
Applicant checked the same boxes as the land manager, Eldorado NF, did in their OHV Grant request.  These boxes are only for the Applicant.   .  Applicant should receive no points.
 
Restoration
G13-04-58-R01
 
Application fails to describe who would be project leader and what qualifications and experience the project leader requires.  Scientific integrity is critical.  The Eldorado NF should have personnel that are qualified to lead this project.  CSNC fails to describe previous experience in “on the ground” restoration work.  There have been many opportunities for CSNC to volunteer for work parties on the Eldorado NF.  Motorized recreationists do that on a regular basis.
 
Application is nonspecific in describing the Project Area and work that will be done, making it impossible to confirm that Deliverables described in the Project Application have been accomplished with funding through a Project Agreement.
 
CCR 4970.11
(1) A Project Description
The Project Description shall provide sufficient clarity such that those not familiar with the Applicant or Project can understand what the Applicant intends to do. The Project Description shall include:
(C) The size of the specific Project Area(s) in acres and/or miles,
 
CCR 4970.01. DEFINITIONS
(i) "Deliverables" : “Deliverables” means the specific tangible outcomes or work products to be provided, acquired, or produced with the funds made available pursuant to the Project Agreement.
Examples include: Restoration of a specific area, maintenance of a specific length of trail.
 
Project Cost Estimate
From the IRS Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract website
(http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats-Exempt-Organizations-Business-Master-File-Extract-(EO-BMF)  the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation (EIN 680108508) has no assets, no income, and no revenue.  Almost every dollar of Matching Funds comes from the use of AmeriCorp workers.
It would be much more economical to have the USFS utilize the AmeriCorp work force under their guidance. 
 
AmeriCorp
ACE CA - Summer Program
https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do;jsessionid=hGcWT5JdppJzQW3KyX2NhyxhLDvhWC16sNMTnJfKxQr587rtRGBj!-1810431796?id=53858&fromSearch=true
 
ACE CA-Professional Development Corps
https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do;jsessionid=hGcWT5JdppJzQW3KyX2NhyxhLDvhWC16sNMTnJfKxQr587rtRGBj!-1810431796?id=53857&fromSearch=true
 
Thank you for considering my comments. Bruce Brazil, CORVA - 4/5/14

 Grant Application G13-04-58-R01 and G13-04-58-R02
 
Let me start with a brief background history of family and myself in an effort to display my interest and concern with this particular application for grant funds. True, science based environmental issues are close to my heart and given my family history will always remain that way. As the Great, Great Grandson of Warren Olney, founding member of the Sierra Club, I am intimately familiar with environmentalism but also aware of the greater good of the public, have a read up on the Hetch, Hetchy Dam and why Warren Olney ultimately walked away from an organization that he loved and founded with his good friend John Muir. We must always remember that public lands are just that, public. These public lands are to be managed by our appointed civil servants and we must remember they are to be managed through sound processes, procedures and practices not managed through closure, personal agenda and emotion. Along these same lines and ideals our hard earned funding should be managed and distributed through sound logic and reasoning not through emotions and what might currently appear the politically correct thing to do. Grant funding should be taken very seriously even if the particular grant, in this case, restoration, is not historically used very often. One could almost suggest that the reason for this particular applicants request for grant funding under the “Restoration” classification as “Cherry Picking” funds that maybe easier to attain.
 
To address the grants with specific concerns I will out line below:
 
Grant Application G13-04-58-R01:
This grant request in and of it self would appear to outline and request funds for training purposes to perform the duties outlined within the scope of Grant application G13-04-58-R02. I would suggest that “Training” does not fall under “Restoration” and if we are to take this Grant application as it appears “Stand Alone” it should fall under some other more appropriate classification and be denied for that reason alone. If it is to be considered under the “Restoration” classification as it pertains to G13-04-58-R02 then it goes hand in hand to accept that if G13-04-58-R02 is denied then G13-04-58-R01 should be denied by default. 
 
Grant Application G13-04-58-R02:
This grant application also requests “Restoration” classification.  I have to question the reasoning behind this. The areas and locations within the scope of the grant app have already been decommissioned and historically we can see that natural rehabilitation not only occurs naturally but also can be seen to have better and faster results when Mother Nature does what she does best without human intervention. I truly think better use could be made of the $338,950.00 other than trying to interfere with what nature can take care of all by itself.
 
Monitoring:
If we look closely at document G13-04-58-R02 we see the word “Monitoring” used over thirty times. This bodes the question “are we restoring or monitoring”? I would be of the opinion that the document weighs heavily towards not only monitoring but also policing. If this were the case it would seem again that G13-04-58-R02 falls under the wrong classification and should be denied.
 
Scope of project:
Having been personally involved in many projects in and around the ENF I would be of the opinion that the applicant will be unable to achieve the work covered within the grant application. I truly appreciate the value of setting ourselves high goals and targets but when it comes to our taxpayer’s dollars I feel we owe it to ourselves to lean closer to reality. The project leans heavily on volunteers and I have to ask having been in this position my self, what guarantees do we have that the applicant will be able to procure said volunteers?  Answers with in the Grant like “Phone conversations between January 25th and February 7th with the California Native Plant Society” hardly seem to guarantee success.
 
The project also seems very open ended. Quotes like “develop future restoration projects” and “document sites needing more extensive restoration for future planning” seem to lend to the idea of permanence and reoccurrence. The Grant is given as a three-year project not a reoccurring, reissuing grant. If we read correctly it would certainly appear that is the assumption by the applicant.
 
Miss use of funds:
While grant founding serves a very useful purpose I would suggest that in this case there are very more qualified agencies and personnel already in place to take on a “restoration” project of this type if in fact needed at all. The ENF already has the scientist, construction workers, labor force, tools and equipment to do the job if it is deemed necessary. The ENF also has historically called on volunteer work forces to aid them in projects of this nature with out the need of wasting additional taxpayer funds in the form of grants.

Science:
If we look closely at question 9 we see that it poses the question of science. Not surprisingly and all too often this section is left empty. Are we to assume that there will be no science used as is stated in answer 3? We can only conclude “No science will be used to examine methods to ensure success of the restoration efforts”. I would hope that a grant of this magnitude would require science to check for it’s worth and success if not it should be denied.
 
Safety:
This concern is two fold. Firstly as has been required for many volunteer efforts in the past, certified and trained personnel are often required depending on the scope of the work. If as is suggested by the applicant, when required and necessary they will utilize the trained ENF personnel it would be of my opinion that we forgo the efforts by Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation and the $338,950.00 in grant money and utilize the civil servants and personnel we already have in place that are trained to safely perform the tasks.
 
Secondly, monitoring. I use this term lightly. If we take quotes like “CSNC staff documenting presence of vehicles off road” and “This monitoring information will be regularly  provided to the ENF” and “The CSNC monitoring team will immediately notify ENF staff if they encounter illegal OHV activity in the field”. We can clearly assume that CSNC has taken it upon themselves to police the said “Restoration” areas. This I would respectfully advise is best left to the professionals. This will put both OHV trail users and CSNC volunteers in an unnecessary user conflict situation.
 
Conflict of interest:
The Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation has historically, openly, proudly and publicly condemned OHV use. The grant application itself states Rock Creek as one of the areas of concern, which happens to be an area that has had the attention of the applicant for many, many years and happens to be in the applicant’s backyard. Personnel agenda? CSNC has also been involved in many, many lawsuits surrounding OHV areas that have resulted in the ultimate closure of said areas. I think we can safely come to the conclusion that a biased opinion and situation would be securely in place if we were to approve this grant.
 
In closing, I thank the California State Parks OHMVR for their hard work and continued efforts in affording the public continued use of their public lands. My hope is that you will take my comments with the deepest consideration they deserve, as they were surely and honestly sent to you with that intent. Tim Green - 4/6/14

 My name is Kevin Carey. I have used the Rubicon trail and other legal OHV trails in the EDC Forest for the past 20 Years with my father and now my daughter. I am the presiding President of Wheelers for the Wounded of Ca. I am almost speechless that the CSNC is appling for this Grant.....The CSNC along with PEER and the CBD are closly tied to the endless lawsuits and attempted closures of many public lands. Yet they are appling for the Grant to monitor the trails and areas they want shut down.
 
The Rubicon Trail and what remains of the rest of legal OHV Trails in EDC are the most well maintained trail systems in the United States and are know as being Models for success. El Dorado DOT already has the very responsibility that this Grant speaks too. I offer this to the CSNC. Come along with the many responsible trail users all year long on many publisized cleanups and work projects. Help us educate and maintain these treasured public lands with your own sweat, hard work and your own DOLLARS. We have been for the last 20 Years without a GRANT. Kevin Carey - 4/7/14

 Please find attached the Desert Protective Council's letter of support for the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation Restoration Grant Application for 2013/14. Terry Weiner, Imperial County Projects and Conservation Coordinator, Desert Protective Council - 4/7/14

 Please see comments regarding the grant. Chris Cowan - 4/7/14

 Please find attached the Desert Protective Council's letter of support for the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation Restoration Grant Application for 2013/14. Terry Weiner, Imperial County Projects and Conservation Coordinator, Desert Protective Council - 4/7/14

 Please see comments regarding the grant. Chris Cowan - 4/7/14

 The Maidu Group of the Sierra Club wishes to express its support for the two restoration grants submitted by the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation (CSNC).  These projects, to train people in meadow restoration techniques and to monitor and restore off route damage from OHV  use on the Eldorado National Forest (ENF), are needed to restore damaged meadows on the ENF and to reduce future damage from off route OHV usage  on the ENF.  From our longtime experience working with CSNC,  we firmly believe that CSNC has the ability and dedication to follow through on these projects.  We wholeheartedly encourage the California State Parks to accept and fund  these grant applications. Robert Johnson, Vice Chair, Maidu Group, Sierra Club - 4/7/14

 I support CSNC application for the two proposed grants in the Eldorado National Forest.
 I request that you grant CSNC application be considered and approved as our area that I live in and have enjoyed for many decades is maintained and used in a responsible way.

This over-site is necessary as a result of the over use and trespassing by some off-road users. I am aware of the good work that these Non profit groups have done over the many years that

I have knowledge of their work to enhance and preserve this area, I am confident that any grant funding will have many effects that greatly exceed the grant funding. Steven Proe - 4/7/14

 Attached our my Comments on Grant G13-04-58-R01. Rusty Folena - 4/7/14

 Attached are my comments for Grant G13-04-55-R02. Rusty Folena - 4/7/14

 I am writing to respectfully request that The California State Parks Department deny the request from CSNC for a grant from the public coffers under the guise of “restoring” and “protecting”  California’s OHV areas. This group does not have “a dog in the hunt” and should not be subsidized by California or anyone.

As a regular guest user of the backwoods and OHV trails that are the subject of this discussion, I have never seen anyone from this group do one single thing to better and protect the backcountry. The many off road clubs and frequenters are light years ahead of and have done more to protect and preserve these special areas than anything that the CSNC can or ever will do. There are many groups already, state and federally funded, protecting the back country.  We DO NOT need another group that has no organized structure save a small number of tree huggers who have never seen Rubicon Springs or Loon Lake telling you or us how to protect or manage these lands.  CSNC are people that must be KEPT out and not funded because all they do is seek to destroy the REAL PROTECTORS of these special lands, the off road enthusiasts.

Just say no their grant application. Rick Wise - 4/7/14