The Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group (ACCG) is a community-based collaborative organization that works to create fire-safe communities, healthy forests and watersheds, and sustainable local economies. The ACCG convened in December 2008 and has met monthly since. It fosters partnerships among private, nonprofit, local, state, and federal entities and local residents, including native people, who have a common interest in the health and well-being of forested lands and communities in the Mokelumne, Calaveras, Stanislaus, and Consumnes River watersheds. With the intent of serving as a model for other areas of the Sierra Nevada, the group is advancing a robust, community-based strategy leading to job creation, greater community economic stability, fire-safe forests and communities, and a heightened degree of environmental stewardship.
The ACCG is one of the broadest-based forest collaboratives in the Sierra, with membership and member engagement reflecting the group’s emphasis on balancing environmental, social and economic goals. In 2010, the ACCG received the Region 5 Regional Forester’s Honor Award for All-Lands Ecological Restoration. Its efforts are consistent with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) Sierra Nevada Forest Communities Initiative (SNFCI), which has been endorsed by all 22 Sierra Nevada counties, and local political officials have actively supported and assisted the group. The SNC is tasked with promoting the economic, social, and environmental well-being of Sierra Nevada communities and citizens and has been an active partner in the ACCG.
In the interest of transparency and inclusivity, the ACCG welcomes participation from all interested stakeholders. This is seen as a critical aspect of a truly collaborative process, and has been highly successful, as evidenced in the broad coalition in place today. Formal membership is exhibited through the endorsement of the ACCG Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). To date, 30 partners have formalized their membership with many more anticipated as advances are made in fulfilling the ACCG mission. In addition to the MOA signers, myriad stakeholders in the broader context of forest health issues have expressed interest, or like the Nature Conservancy provided support to this CFLRP effort. They are included on the group’s distribution list at their request as a way to stay abreast of ACCG activities and initiatives. Meetings are open to all.
The group makes decisions by true consensus: all parties must be able to live with the decision. If consensus cannot immediately be reached, the concerned member is responsible for proposing an alternative that meets the same end goal. If alternatives cannot be defined immediately, the concerned member is responsible for convening a meeting with relevant other members to clearly define an alternative for consideration at a subsequent meeting.
The ACCG has been actively working with both the Eldorado and Stanislaus National Forests in developing and supporting the Cornerstone Project proposal in its broader All-Lands context. The ACCG has played a key role in developing the Cornerstone Project, including defining the project’s geographic scope; developing ecological, social and economic principles to guide the restoration work; and assisting in the actual development of the overall project concept and development along with submittal to Region 5.
To date, the ACCG has achieved success on a number of fronts, including the successful implementation of forest restoration projects with the Bureau of Land Management, the Amador and Calaveras Fire Safe Councils, and the Forest Service. This work was made possible by extensive cooperation with job-training agencies in these rural counties, as well as partnerships with USDA Rural Development, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and of course, federal partners. The presence of a collaborative process like the ACCG is critically important to watershed restoration in the region. The scale of proposed forest restoration activity must be grounded in a strong agreement among key stakeholders. Without the collaborative forum, projects would not be endorsed by such a broad and diverse subset of stakeholders and instead, could be stalled in disagreement and potentially in litigation.
The group overall is governed by a Memorandum of Agreement, to which there are a number of signatories. Those include:
- Amador Firesafe Council
- Amador-Calaveras Cooperative Association for Biomass Utilization (ACCABU)
- Blue Mountain Community Renewal Council
- Buena Vista Biomass Power
- CA Department of Fish and Game
- CA Indian Manpower Consortium
- Calaveras Foothills Firesafe Council
- Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions (CHIPS)
- Central Sierra Resource Conservation and Development Council
- Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch
- Foothill Conservancy
- Heissenbuttel Natural Resource Consulting
- John Hoffmann
- Mary Boblet
- Motherlode Job Training
- Pacific Gas and Electric Company
- Sierra Forest Legacy
- Sierra Nevada Conservancy
- Smith's Grinding
- Steve Wilensky
- Supervisor Chris Wright, Calaveras County District 2
- The Nature Conservancy
- Trout Unlimited
- USDA Forest Service – El Dorado NF
- USDA Forest Service – Stanislaus NF
- USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
- USDOI Bureau of Land Management
- Vicini Brothers Green Material Recycling
- West Point Fire District
Mission: The Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group is a community-based organization that works to create fire-safe communities, healthy forests and watersheds, and sustainable local economies.
Goals and Objectives:
• Reduce risk of uncharacteristic fire and threat of wildland fire to lives and property; restore watersheds, meadows and streams to proper functioning condition; restore forest structure, ecological processes, and function; create more-resilient vegetation conditions; reduce wildfire suppression costs.
• Remove surface and ladder fuels; thin overstocked stands; thin plantations; restore meadows and streams; reconstruct, realign and decommission roads; construct fuel breaks; replant burned areas; treat cultural sites; employ prescribed fire.
• Biomass utilization for energy and heating, soil amendments, compost, landscaping chips, firewood, animal bedding, saw logs, designer fencing, agricultural and architectural posts and poles, furniture wood, wood pellets, and non-timber forest products.
• Reduced risk of uncharacteristic fire and threats to lives and property; more-natural fire regime; restored cultural sites; restored streams, meadows and watersheds; more-resilient vegetation; restored forest structure, processes and function; protected municipal water supply; sustainable local jobs and improved social conditions resulting from creation of a re-tooled forest economy.
For More Information: http://www.acconsensus.wordpress.com
Amador Calaveras Consensus Group Memorandum of Agreement
Amador Calaveras Consensus Group Principles and Policies for Forests & Watersheds