Saturday, 26 November 2022

Regional

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA — Cal Fire Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit, in partnership with the Pepperwood Preserve, will conduct a prescribed fire on the nature preserve starting Thursday, Oct. 27, or when conditions allow.

Prescribed burning activities will occur in open grasslands and forest understory. The project size is targeting treatment of up to 105 acres to promote healthy forests and reduce wildfire risk on a strategic fire control ridge separating Franz Valley and the Mark West area.

Project objectives also include mimicking natural ecological processes by returning fire to the landscape, promote native plant propagation and wildlife habitat and reduce fuel loading in the forest understory.

Smoke will be visible from multiple vantage points throughout Sonoma and Napa counties from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please do not report the fire to local first responders as they are already aware of the prescribed fire plan.

Prescribed burns are carefully planned and must meet strict criteria for ecological benefit, weather parameters, smoke management and fire safety guidelines. The planned operation is subject to last-minute changes due to those conditions.

When all conditions are met, trained wildland firefighters conduct the burn while monitoring the set criteria, fire behavior and designated fire control lines. The prescribed burn will comply with requirements of the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District.

Located in eastern Sonoma County, approximately 25 minutes from downtown Santa Rosa and a 90-minute drive north of San Francisco, Pepperwood manages a 3,200-acre nature preserve located in the heart of a globally-recognized biodiversity hotspot.

The preserve is an important refuge for over 750 varieties of native plants and 150 species of wildlife including birds, reptiles and mammals representing California's diverse climates.

Pepperwood offers a wide array of opportunities for public engagement via the Dwight Center for Conservation Science, a 9,400 square-foot green facility featuring classrooms, laboratories, offices and space for visiting scholars.

For information on wildfire safety, please visit us at https://www.readyforwildfire.org/.

GLENN COUNTY, Calif. — Caltrans is alerting motorists that the long-term closures of the northbound and southbound Interstate 5 Willows safety roadside rest areas, or SRRA, in Glenn County have been extended to Nov. 6.

The Willows rest areas have been closed since January 2021 for construction and were expected to reopen by the end of summer.

However, additional time is required for the contractor to complete final facility improvements.

During the closure, northbound I-5 motorists will be directed to use the Red Bluff SRRA in Tehama County (about 42 miles north of Willows). Southbound motorists will be directed to the Maxwell SRRA in Colusa County (about 34 miles south of the Willows SRRA).

Caltrans is investing more than $6.9 million to update the wastewater, water, and lighting systems at the Willows rest areas. TSI Engineering Inc. of North Highlands, Sacramento County, is the contractor for the project.

Weather or unexpected events may delay or prolong the work. Caltrans advises motorists to “Be Work Zone Alert.”

The department will issue construction updates on Twitter @CaltransDist3 and on Facebook at CaltransDistrict3.

For real-time traffic, click on Caltrans’ QuickMap or download the QuickMap app from the App Store or Google Play.


Charger locomotive leading a Siemens Mobility Venture trainset. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

Rail passengers in Northern California and the Central Valley will start enjoying a more comfortable and modern ride after Caltrans accepted into its fleet the first of seven Siemens Mobility single-level intercity trainsets at the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission facility in Stockton.

“With train ridership recovering from the pandemic drop, these new trainsets will provide Californians with enhanced comfort and convenience as they move around the state,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares.

The new trainsets will operate on the San Joaquin rail corridor between Sacramento/Oakland and Bakersfield, connecting riders to jobs, education and leisure along the way.

Passengers can expect spacious and modern interiors with amenities that include enhanced onboard Wi-Fi with power and USB ports at all seats as well as enlarged windows.

The passenger cars also feature wider aisles and more comfortable seats, additional leg room, larger tray tables and expanded luggage storage options, with oversized baggage and bike racks.

The newly-accepted Siemens Mobility Venture Trainset at the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission facility in Stockton, California. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

The trains are ADA-accessible, including weatherproof gangways between cars, wider aisles, retractable steps, and state-of-the-art touchless and much larger restrooms. Each coach car seats up to 70 passengers.

“These trainsets were designed with Californians in mind, both in terms of job creation here in Sacramento and next-generation passenger rail throughout the state,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Mobility Rolling Stock in North America. “Together with Caltrans, we’ve created a trainset that is both safe and modern to keep passengers connected and on the move.”

With Caltrans officially taking ownership, the department anticipates the trainsets soon will enter service. These additional trains will help restore service to pre-pandemic levels, resulting in schedule improvements throughout the state’s rail service.

The Venture Trainsets for Caltrans were ordered from Sumitomo Corporation of Americas and are being designed and manufactured by Siemens. They are Buy America-compliant and built at the Siemens Mobility rail manufacturing facility in Sacramento.

Powered by the California sun with two megawatts of solar energy and 2,400 employees, the facility has been in operation for more than 30 years.

Side view of the Siemens Mobility Venture Trainset passenger cars. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

The Department of the Interior on Monday announced $210 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will bring clean, reliable drinking water to communities across the West through water storage and conveyance projects.

The projects are expected to develop over 1.7 million acre-feet of additional water storage capacity, enough water to support 6.8 million people for a year. The funding will also invest in two feasibility studies that could advance water storage capacity further once completed.

Among the projects is the Sites Reservoir Project, which will create north of delta off stream storage.

The project will receive $30 million to pursue off stream storage capable for up to 1.5 million acre-feet of water in the Sacramento River system located in the Coast range mountains west of Maxwell, California.

The reservoir would utilize new and existing facilities to move water into and out of the reservoir, with ultimate release to the Sacramento River system via existing canals, a new pipeline near Dunnigan, and the Colusa Basin Drain.

“In the wake of severe drought across the West, the Department is putting funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to work to expand access to clean, reliable water and mitigate the impacts of this crisis,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Water is essential to every community — for feeding families, growing crops, powering agricultural businesses, and sustaining wildlife and our environment. Through the investments we are announcing today, we will advance water storage and conveyance supporting local water management agencies, farmers, families and wildlife.”

“Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden-Harris administration is dramatically advancing our mission at the Bureau of Reclamation to deliver water and power in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner for the American West,” said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton. “Our investment in these projects will increase water storage capacity and lay conveyance pipeline to deliver reliable and safe drinking water and build resiliency for communities most impacted by drought.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates $8.3 billion for Bureau of Reclamation water infrastructure projects over the next five years to advance drought resilience and expand access to clean water for families, farmers, and wildlife. The investment will repair aging water delivery systems, secure dams, and complete rural water projects, and protect aquatic ecosystems. The funding announced today is part of the $1.05 billion in Water Storage, Groundwater Storage and Conveyance Projects provided by the Law.

In addition to the Sites Reservoir, the other selected projects include the following.

Arizona

Verde River Sediment Mitigation Study: $5 million to provide the federal cost share for conducting the Verde River Sedimentation feasibility study, which would identify alternatives to restore at least 46,000 acre-feet of water storage lost due to accumulation of sediment at Horseshoe Reservoir. It would also determine a plan for future management of sediment at Horseshoe and Bartlett Reservoirs and investigate potential operational flexibilities created with increased storage capacity to assist in mitigating impacts of drought and climate change on water availability. An appraisal study was completed in 2021.

California

B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Project: $25 million to the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Authority, to pursue the B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Project. The project is associated with the B.F. Sisk Safety of Dams Modification Project. Once complete, the project will develop approximately 130,000 acre-feet of additional storage.

Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Phase II: $82 million to efficiently integrate approximately 115,000 acre-feet of additional storage through new conveyance facilities with existing facilities to allow Delta water supplies to be safely diverted, stored and delivered to beneficiaries.

Colorado

Arkansas Valley Conduit: $60 million to continue the facilitation of supplying a safe, long-term water supply to an estimated 50,000 people in 40 rural communities along the Arkansas River. Once complete the project will replace current groundwater sources contaminated with radionuclides and help communities comply with Environmental Protection Act drinking water regulations through more than 230 miles of pipelines designed to deliver up to about 7,500 acre-feet per year from Pueblo Reservoir.

Montana

Dry Redwater Regional Water System Feasibility Study: $3 million to provide the authorized federal cost-share for finishing the Dry Redwater Regional Water System Feasibility Study.

Washington

Cle Elum Pool Raise: $5 million to increase the reservoir’s capacity an additional 14,600 acre-feet to be managed for instream flows for fish. Additional efforts include shoreline protection that will provide mitigation for the pool raise.

The department also recently announced new steps for drought mitigation in the Colorado River Basin supported by the Inflation Reduction Act, releasing a request for proposals for water system conservation measures as part of the newly created Lower Colorado River Basin System Conservation and Efficiency Program.

The act provides $4 billion in funding for water management and conservation in the Colorado River Basin, including at least $500 million for projects in the Upper Basin states that will result in water conservation throughout the system.

The California Transportation Commission, or CTC, this week allocated nearly $3 billion for projects to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state.

The allocation includes more than $452 million in funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and more than $123 million in funding from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.

“This allocation – which includes a significant federal investment – allows Caltrans and our local partners to continue building the equitable, sustainable, and safe transportation system on which future generations will depend,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares.

Projects approved this week include:

• Approximately $1.9 million toward roadway, guardrail and culvert repairs along Route 299 west of Three Creek Road near Willow Creek in Humboldt County.

• Approximately $1.1 million toward construction of a left turn lane at Timbers Boulevard, lighting and other roadway improvements along U.S. 101 near Smith River in Del Norte County.

• Approximately $2.6 million toward embankment, guardrail and drainage repairs along U.S. 101 from Water Plant Road to the East Hill Undercrossing near Willits in Mendocino County.

• Approximately $858,000 toward road and guardrail repairs along U.S. 101 from Shimmins Ridge Road to Old Sherwood Road near Willits in Mendocino County.

The CTC allocated more than $2.1 billion to Caltrans' Division of Local Assistance in its annual federal fiscal year investment.

These local assistance funds are used by more than 600 cities, counties and regional agencies throughout California to build and improve roads, bridges, tunnels and other transportation infrastructure, and for projects that enhance safety and help protect the environment.

Annually, more than 1,200 new projects are authorized through the Local Assistance Program.

SB 1 provides $5 billion in transportation funding annually that is shared equally between the state and local agencies.

Road projects progress through construction phases more quickly based on the availability of SB 1 funds, including projects that are partially funded by SB 1.

For more information about transportation projects funded by SB 1, visit http://www.rebuildingca.ca.gov/.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — Cal Fire’s Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit, with cooperation from partners at the Wildlands Conservancy, Monte Rio Fire Protection District, and the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District, will be conducting a prescribed burn starting Tuesday, Sept. 27, through Thursday, Sept. 29.

The burn will be located near an unnamed ridge west of Magic Mountain Road and south of Kidd Creek in Sonoma County.

This burn will take place along a ridge where Cal Fire has conducted prescribed burning since 2018 to maintain a strategic location to stop or slow an approaching wildfire and reestablish wildfire as a natural disturbance regime.

It is planned to burn approximately 15 acres per day of the State Responsibility Area, or SRA, as part of a vegetation management project that helps treat the forest understory.

Burning is expected to start at 9 a.m. each day and be completed by 4 p.m. each afternoon. Due to the elevation and location, expect smoke to be visible from many parts of Sonoma County including the Windsor area down to Santa Rosa.

The burn and smoke should be visible from the Siri camera on the ALERTCalifornia website.

If traveling in the area, please use caution.

Prescribed burns are carefully planned and must meet strict criteria for ecological benefit, weather parameters, smoke management and fire safety guidelines. The planned operation is subject to lastminute changes due to those considerations.

When all conditions are met, trained wildland firefighters conduct the burn while monitoring the set criteria, fire behavior and designated fire control lines.

The prescribed burn will comply with requirements of the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution
Control District.

To learn more about prescribed fire and its benefits visit https://www.readyforwildfire.org/more/prescribed-fires.

Upcoming Calendar

26Nov
11.26.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
26Nov
11.26.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Weekly writing workshop
26Nov
11.26.2022 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Dickens' Festival
28Nov
11.28.2022 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Scotts Valley Advisory Council
29Nov
11.29.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
1Dec
12.01.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
3Dec
12.03.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
3Dec
12.03.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Weekly writing workshop
6Dec
12.06.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
8Dec
12.08.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown

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