Forest Management

Report #242, February 2018
Forest Management

Full Report

Executive Summary

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2018

For Additional Information Contact:
Terri Hardy, Executive Director (A)
(916) 445-2125

Commission Urges Culture Change to Stop Catastropic Fires and Tree Deaths

The Little Hoover Commission released a new report Monday, calling for a dramatic culture change in the way forests are managed to curb a disastrous cycle of wildfire and tree deaths.

Instead of focusing almost solely on fire suppression, the state must institute wide-scale controlled burns and other strategic measures as a tool to reinvigorate forests, inhibit firestorms and help protect air and water quality, according to the Commission’s report, Fire on the Mountain: Rethinking Forest Management in the Sierra Nevada.

Immediate action is crucial, according to Pedro Nava, chair of the Little Hoover Commission. “Dead trees due to drought and a century of forest mismanagement have devastated scenic landscapes throughout the Sierra range,” said Chair Nava. “Rural counties and homeowners alike are staggering under the financial impacts of removing them. We have catastrophe-scale fire danger throughout our unhealthy forests and a growing financial burden for all taxpayers and government like California has never seen.”

Over the course of the Commission’s year-long study, the number of dead trees in the Sierra rose from 102 million to 129 million. The Commission found that the deadly bark beetle invasion, responsible for the tree kill, signaled a larger problem of mismanaged forests and climate change.

The report, sent to Governor Brown and the Legislature, makes nine recommendations to restore forests back to their historic fire regime. The Commission urges expanded funding for state prescribed fire crews and forest administrators to oversee a transformation to more proactive forest management. Resilient forests improve safety and make economic sense. The costs of mismanaged forests – for every level of government and many California homeowners in and around the Sierra Nevada – have become an unsustainable burden in California. Firefighting costs in the first half of this fiscal year alone have already topped $700 million.

In addition, the Commission found that forest treatments should be accelerated and expanded throughout the Sierra Nevada and that there must be greater teamwork between state and federal forestry agencies to plan and implement the work. And, the state must create a long-term bioenergy plan to address the disposal of millions of dead trees as well as fund and develop a public education campaign about the importance of healthy forests in the Sierra Nevada.

The Little Hoover Commission is a bipartisan and independent state agency charged with recommending ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs. The Commission’s recommendations are submitted to the Governor and the Legislature for their consideration and action.

Fact Sheet

Study Description

For this study, the Little Hoover Commission reviewed the state’s forest management in response to the tree mortality crisis in the Sierra Nevada. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported in December 2017 that approximately 27 million trees had died statewide on federal, state and private lands since November 2016. The tally brought to 129 million the number of trees that have died in California forests during years of drought and bark beetle infestations since 2010. Most of the dead trees, the USDA stated, were in the southern and central Sierra region, though northern counties showed increasing tree mortality.

The Commission studied the state’s response to the crisis, including the tree die-off’s intersection with catastrophic wildfire, greenhouse gas emissions and watershed health. The focus of the Commission’s review went beyond the crisis, however, and examined the state’s plans for recovery and its strategy to position itself ahead of future crises through proactive forest management.

The Commission held three hearings and an advisory committee meeting during this study.  The first hearing, on January 26, 2017, introduced the Commission to the tree mortality crisis and provided details on how the state is responding.  In its second hearing, on April 27, 2017, Commissioners heard the “boots on the ground” perspective of those doing the hands-on work of responding to the crisis and managing forests.  Additionally, the Commission was introduced to larger concepts of forest management.  The focus on restoring forests to resiliency continued in the third hearing, on August 24, 2017.  The Commission’s advisory committee meeting on August 23, 2017, looked at the role of bioenergy in responding to the tree mortality crisis and long-term forest management.

Additionally, the Commission and staff went on three site visits.  The first was to the Blodgett Forest Research Station within the El Dorado National Forest in April 2017.  Led by Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science and the chair of the Division of Ecosystem Science at the University of California, Berkeley, this site visit allowed the Commission to see firsthand the different methods of restoring forests to resiliency.  In May 2017, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy took Commission staff to Shaver Lake in Fresno County, an area hard hit by the tree mortality crisis.  Staff learned about collaborative efforts to manage forests within California and the work the North Fork Community Development Council had done to spur economic growth with wood removed from the forest.  Staff also learned about the private sector’s role in reforestation.  Finally, in November 2017, staff visited the L.A. Moran Reforestation Center in Davis, California, to learn about CAL FIRE’s work to collect, clean, test and store the seeds from California’s trees and reopen its nursery to aid in reforestation.

Agenda

Overview

In this report, the Commission calls for transformational culture change in its forest management practices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported in December 2017 that approximately 27 million trees had died statewide on federal, state and private lands since November 2016. The tally brought to 129 million the number of trees that have died in California forests during years of drought and bark beetle infestations since 2010.

During its review, the Commission found that California’s forests suffer from neglect and mismanagement, resulting in overcrowding that leaves them susceptible to disease, insects and wildfire.  The Commission found commitment to long-lasting forest management changes at the highest levels of government, but that support for those changes needs to spread down not just through the state’s massive bureaucracy and law- and policymaking apparatuses, but among the general public as well.  Complicating the management problem is the fact that the State of California owns very few of the forests within its borders – most are owned by the federal government or private landowners.

Among the Commission’s nine recommendations, it urges the state to take a greater leadership role in collaborative forest management planning at the watershed level.  The Good Neighbor Authority granted in the 2014 Farm Bill provides a mechanism for the state to conduct restoration activities on federal land, but state agencies must have the financial and personnel resources to perform this work.  As part of this collaborative effort, it calls upon the state to use more prescribed fire to reinvigorate forests, inhibit firestorms and help protect air and water quality.  Central to these efforts must be a statewide public education campaign to help Californians understand why healthy forests matter to them, and elicit buy-in for the much-needed forest treatments.


Previous Studies
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			Agenda
  • January 25
    2018
    Business Meeting
    at approximately 12:30 p.m., 925 L Street, Lower Level, Sacramento,
    Business Meeting
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Business Meeting
    Thursday, January 25, 2018
    State Capitol, Room 437
    Sacramento, CA 95814


    The Commission will consider agenda items I-VII at approximately 12:30 p.m.  (The precise time will vary depending upon the testimony of witnesses and will be determined at the discretion of the chair). Members of the public will have an opportunity to make comments about Commission agenda items during the meeting.

    1. Business Meeting Minutes from October 26, 2017
       
    2. Forest Management  - Draft Report for Possible Adoption
       
    3. Closed Session
              PERSONNEL
              The Commission will meet in closed session to discuss personnel matters consistent with Government Code section 11126, subdivision (a)(1).
       
    4. Subcommittee Reports
       
    5. Project Selection
       
    6. Implementation and Impact Activity
       
    7. Reports from the California State Auditor’s Office
    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    January 11, 2018

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Terri Hardy, Deputy Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, January 25, 2018, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing on the applications of artificial intelligence in California. The Commission will consider the key challenges of artificial intelligence, its economic implications for the state and how it can be used to solve societal ills.  The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

    At the hearing, the Commission will first hear a discussion regarding artificial intelligence and employment. Representatives from McKinsey & Company and California Forward will discuss research on occupational disruption as a result of new technologies. Next, the Commission will hear from a University of Washington law and technology professor, who will discuss the major policy questions of artificial intelligence, its current and future applications and the importance of ensuring some form of in-house technical expertise for policymakers. The Commission will then hear from a panel on workforce impacts of artificial intelligence and automation. The panel, consisting of representatives from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the University of California, will discuss the positive and negative effects of automation, potential policy mitigations such as retraining and the role of government in supporting artificial intelligence.  Lastly, the Commission will hear from representatives of the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society, who will discuss the use of artificial intelligence in solving difficult social problems such as educating homeless youth about HIV and AIDS.  

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing.  Public comments will be limited to three minutes per person.  The Commission also encourages written comments.

    Immediately following the hearing, the Commission will hold a business meeting in the lower level conference room at 925 L Street in Sacramento.

    If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Deputy Executive Director Terri Hardy at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, January 18, 2018.

  • October 26
    2017
    Business Meeting
    9:30 a.m., 925 L Street, Room 175, Sacramento, CA
    Business Meeting
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Business Meeting
    Thursday, October 26, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.
    925 L Street, Room 175
    Sacramento, CA 95814
     

    1. Business Meeting Minutes from September 28, 2017
       
    2. Presentation from Jennifer Kent, Director, Department of Health Care Services (Written Testimony)
    3. Closed Session
              PERSONNEL
              The Commission will meet in closed session to discuss personnel matters consistent with Government Code section 11126, subdivision (a)(1).
       
    4. Subcommittee Reports
      a.  Forest Management – Status update
           – Discussion on Draft Recommendations

      b.  Voter Participation - Status update

      c.  Artificial Intelligence – Status update
       
    5. Commission Survey
       
    6. Project Selection
       
    7. Implementation and Impact Activity
       
    8. Reports from the California State Auditor’s Office
    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    October 12, 2017

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Terri Hardy, Deputy Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, October 26, 2017, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a business meeting to hear an update on a prior Commission report and study and conduct regularly scheduled activities.  The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Conference Room 175 located on the first floor of 925 L Street in Sacramento. 

    At the meeting, the Commission will hear from Jennifer Kent, director of the California Department of Health Care Services, who will provide an implementation update on the recommendations from the Commission’s April 2016 report, Fixing Denti-Cal.  The Commission will learn about the department’s progress in achieving a 60 percent utilization goal for children and efforts to streamline and automate enrollment for dentists.

    Following this discussion, the Commission will meet in closed session to discuss personnel matters consistent with Government Code section 11126, subdivision (a)(1).  The Commission will then reconvene in open session and publically announce any actions taken in closed session consistent with Government Code section 11126.3, subdivision(f).

    The Commission will then discuss the potential recommendations for its forest management study.  The Commission will also receive status updates on two ongoing studies on voter participation and artificial intelligence.

    Following these updates, the Commission will conduct other business as detailed on the agenda.  

    If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Deputy Executive Director Terri Hardy at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, October 19, 2017.

    Video

  • August 24
    2017
    Forest Management
    9:30 a.m., State Capitol, Room 437, Sacramento, CA
    Public Hearing
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Public Hearing on Forest Management
    Thursday, August 24, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.
    State Capitol, Room 437
    Sacramento, CA 


    A Model of Collaborative Planning

    1. Barnie Gyant, Deputy Regional Forester, Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5), United States Forest Service (Written Testimony)
       
    2. Susan Britting, Executive Director, Sierra Forest Legacy (Written Testimony)
       

    CAL FIRE’s Role in Collaborative Planning, Reforestation and Climate Change Adaptation

    1. Matthew Reischman, Assistant Deputy Director, Resource Protection and Improvement, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Written Testimony)
       

    Protecting Forested Headwaters

    1. Van Butsic, Assistant Specialist and Adjunct Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley (Written Testimony)
       

    When Forest Management Strategies Intersect with Air Quality

    1. Edie Chang, Deputy Executive Officer, California Air Resources Board (Written Testimony)
       
    2. Alan Abbs, Executive Director, California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (Written Testimony)


    Developing Markets for California Wood Products

    1. Evan Johnson, Science and Policy Advisor, Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery and Co-leader, Utilization – Market Development Group, Tree Mortality Task Force (Written Testimony)
       
    2. Claire Jahns, Assistant Secretary, Natural Resources and Climate Issues, California Natural Resources Agency (Written Testimony)


    Comments Submitted by Members of the Public

    • Randy Hanvelt, District 2 Supervisor, County of Tuolumne (Written Comments)
       
    • The John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute and Sierra Club California (Written Comments
    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    August 10, 2017

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Carole D’Elia, Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, August 24, 2017, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing on forest management and examine strategies for long-term forest resilience. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

    At the hearing, the Commission will first hear from a panel consisting of members of the Dinkey Landscape Restoration Project. This panel will feature a representative from the U.S. Forest Service as well as a representative from Sierra Forest Legacy, who will discuss the Dinkey project as a potential model for collaboration in forest management. Next, the Commission will hear from a representative from CAL FIRE who will address the department’s participation in landscape-level collaborations, reforestation efforts and climate change adaptation. Also present at the hearing will be a researcher from the Water Policy Center at the Public Policy Institute of California who will discuss forested upper headwaters protection. The hearing also will include representatives from the California Air Resources Board and the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association who will address the impact of prescribed fire on air quality. Finally, the Commission will hear from a panel focusing on market development for California wood products. This panel will consist of a representative from the Tree Mortality Task Force’s Marketization Working Group and a representative from the California Natural Resources Agency. They will discuss the importance of market development in utilizing the 102 million dead trees and for long-term forest management.

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing. Public comments will be limited to three minutes per person. The Commission also encourages written comments. 

    The Commission will convene a business meeting in room 175 of 925 L Street in Sacramento at approximately 12:30 p.m. An additional teleconference location accessible to the public during the biomass meeting will be: 15 Henry Street, Southampton, NY 11968.

    If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Executive Director Carole D’Elia at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, August 17, 2017.

  • August 23
    2017
    Forest Bioenergy
    1:00 p.m.
    Advisory Committee Meeting
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Advisory Committee Meeting on Forest Bioenergy
    Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    BMG Conference Room, Lower Level
    925 L Street, Sacramento, CA


    Meeting Background: The Little Hoover Commission currently is conducting a study on forest management in response to the tree mortality crisis in the Sierra Nevada. Its first two hearings focused on the response to the crisis by state and local government and the private sector. The Commission has scheduled an August 24, 2017, hearing on strategies for long-term forest resilience. Commissioners indicated they wanted to learn about forest bioenergy, but decided that the topic was too expansive to cover in a public hearing.  Consequently, Commissioners scheduled an advisory committee meeting to allow stakeholders to present their views on the role of forest bioenergy in California’s forest management.


    Meeting Goals: For stakeholders to share viewpoints with the Commission’s Forest Management subcommittee on the viability of forest bioenergy as a forest management tool. The intent is to inform Commission recommendations.


    1:00 – 1:10 p.m.              

    Welcome and Introductions
    Pedro Nava, Chair, Little Hoover Commission
    Janna Sidley, Chair, Forest Management Subcommittee

    Commission Study Process and Advisory Committee Role
    Carole D’Elia, Executive Director, Little Hoover Commission


    1:10 – 2:50 p.m.              

    Discussion: The Commission is interested in lessons learned from using forest bioenergy in response to the tree mortality crisis, and in the potential role of forest bioenergy in long-term forest management.

    • In response to the tree mortality crisis: Are the directives in the Governor’s 2015 Proclamation of a State of Emergency and subsequent implementing legislation and California Public Utilities Commission Resolutions effective in removing and processing the hazard trees?  How is progress toward meeting the Proclamation directives being measured? What adjustments could be made for forest bioenergy to be a more effective tool in responding to the tree mortality crisis? 
       
    • Forest bioenergy as a long-term forest management tool: What role can and should forest bioenergy play in long-term forest management? Bioenergy costs more than other types of renewable energy, and some of the benefits of forest bioenergy as a forest management tool, such as utilization of small diameter trees or jobs creation, are not typically factors that would justify higher electricity costs. If forest biomass does become a forest management tool, how could the higher cost of bioenergy be fairly distributed?


    2:50 – 3:00 p.m.              

    Final Comments

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the discussion. Please notify Commission staff if you would like to make a comment.

    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    August 10, 2017

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Carole D’Elia, Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Wednesday, August 23, 2017, the Forest Management Subcommittee of the Little Hoover Commission will hold an advisory committee meeting to hear from key stakeholders to consider the viability of forest bioenergy as a forest management tool. The intent of the meeting is to inform Commission recommendations. The meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the BMG Conference Room located on the lower level of 925 L Street in Sacramento, California.

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the meeting. The Commission also encourages written comments.

    If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Executive Director Carole D’Elia at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

  • April 27
    2017
    Forest Management
    State Capitol, Room 437, Sacramento, CA
    Public Hearing
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Public Hearing on Forest Management
    Thursday, April 27, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.
    State Capitol, Room 437
    Sacramento, CA 


    Opening Remarks

    The Cost of Forest Neglect: The Counties’ Perspective

    1. Mike Albrecht, RPF, Project Coordinator, Tuolumne County Tree Mortality Task Force; President & Co-owner, Sierra Resource Management, Inc. (Written Testimony)
       
    2. Brittany Dyer, District Chief of Staff, Supervisor Tom Wheeler, District 5, County of Madera (Written Testimony)
       
    3. Eric Coyne, Deputy County Administrative Officer, Economic Development, Film & Tourism, County of Tulare (Written Testimony)
       

    The Impact of Unhealthy Forests on Water Supply and Quality

    1. David Eggerton, General Manager, Calaveras County Water District (Written Testimony)
       

    Insurance Availability and Affordability  

    1. Joel Laucher, Chief Deputy Commissioner, California Department of Insurance (Written Testimony)
       

    BUSINESS MEETING & LUNCH – ROOM 125


    On the Front Lines: Utilities

    1. Jadwindar Singh, Director, Electric Compliance, Quality, and Vegetation Management, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (Written Testimony)
       

    A View from the State’s Largest Private Forest Owner

    1. Cedric Twight, Manager, California Regulatory Affairs, Sierra Pacific Industries (Written Testimony)


    Restoring the Ecosystem

    1. Susan Britting, Executive Director, Sierra Forest Legacy  (Written Testimony)
       
    2. David Edelson, Sierra Nevada Project Director, The Nature Conservancy (Written Testimony)


    Comments Submitted by Members of the Public

    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    April 13, 2017

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Carole D’Elia, Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, April 27, 2017, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing on forest management in response to the tree mortality crisis that has killed 102 million trees in California. Thehearingwillbeginat9:30a.m.inRoom437oftheStateCapitolinSacramento.

    At the hearing, the Commission will first hear from county representatives who will discuss the challenges they face both in meeting the county’s forest management obligations and in assisting residents, some of whom cannot afford to treat the trees on their property. Next, the Commission will hear from a water district general manager who will discuss the impact of the dead trees on water quality and quantity, as well as regional partnerships in which the district participates that could perhaps be a model for others dealing with tree mortality. Also present at the hearing will be a representative from the Department of Insurance who will address insurance concerns raised by county representatives. The hearing also will include representatives from Pacific Gas & Electric and Sierra Pacific Industries, who will discuss the challenges they face in responding to tree mortality on their land and the roles they can play in sustainable forest management. Finally, the Commission will hear from representatives from Sierra Forest Legacy and The Nature Conservancy about potential solutions and a discussion on who benefits from healthy forests, and how that should influence policymaking.

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing. Public comments will be limited to three minutes per person. The Commission also encourages written comments.

    The Commission will convene a business meeting in room 125 of the State Capitol at approximately 11:30 a.m. The public hearing will reconvene at approximately 12:45 p.m.

    All public notices for meetings are on the Commission’s website, www.lhc.ca.gov. If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Executive Director Carole D’Elia at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, April 20, 2017. 

    Video
  • January 26
    2017
    Forest Management
    State Capitol, Room 437, Sacramento, CA
    Public Hearing
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Public Hearing on Forest Management
    Thursday, January 26, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.
    State Capitol, Room 437
    Sacramento, CA 


    Opening Remarks

    Introduction to Tree Mortality in the Sierra Nevada and California Forest Management

    1. Scott Stephens, Professor, Fire Science and Chair, Division of Ecosystem Science, University of California, Berkeley (Written Testimony)
       

    The State of California’s Response to the Tree Mortality Crisis and Role in Forest Management

    1. Chief Ken Pimlott, Director, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Written Testimony)
       
    2. Mark Ghilarducci, Director, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Written Testimony)
       
    3. Ashley Conrad-Saydah, Deputy Secretary for Climate Policy, California Environmental Protection Agency (Written Testimony)
       
    4. Malcolm Dougherty, Director, California Department of Transportation (Written Testimony)
       
    5. Jim Branham, Executive Officer, Sierra Nevada Conservancy (Written Testimony)
       

    Transitioning to the Local Perspective: What Are the Resource Conservation Districts’ Concerns?  

    1. Karen Buhr, Executive Director, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (Written Testimony)
       

    Comments Submitted by Members of the Public

    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    January 12, 2017

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Carole D’Elia, Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, January 26, 2017, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing on forest management in response to the tree mortality crisis that has killed 102 million trees in California. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

    At the hearing, the Commission will first hear from a fire ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley. He will provide an overview of the tree die-offs and their impact, an assessment of California’s forest management policies and an analysis of best practices in forest policy that California could potentially implement. Next, the Commission will hear from a panel of state representatives that includes the director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), deputy secretary for climate policy for the California Environmental Protection Agency, the director of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and the executive officer for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. They will discuss the role of their organization in responding to the tree mortality crisis, including coordinating with a diverse array of stakeholders, prioritizing threats to public safety and identifying funding opportunities. They also will discuss their work to create healthy and resilient forests and ecosystems that can survive future disease, insects and other threats. Finally the executive director for the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts will discuss the impacts of the tree mortality crisis and larger climate change issues on the districts and what her members hope to see from the state, both in the short-term response to the tree die-offs and in longer-term forest management.

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing. Public comments will be limited to three minutes per person. The Commission also encourages written comments.

    Immediately following the hearing, the Commission will hold a business meeting in conference room 175 on the first floor of 925 L Street in Sacramento, California.

    All public notices for meetings are on the Commission’s website, www.lhc.ca.gov. If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Executive Director Carole D’Elia at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, January 19, 2017. 

    Video
Print 
		Agenda
  • January 25
    2018
    Business Meeting
    at approximately 12:30 p.m., 925 L Street, Lower Level, Sacramento,
    Business Meeting
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Business Meeting
    Thursday, January 25, 2018
    State Capitol, Room 437
    Sacramento, CA 95814


    The Commission will consider agenda items I-VII at approximately 12:30 p.m.  (The precise time will vary depending upon the testimony of witnesses and will be determined at the discretion of the chair). Members of the public will have an opportunity to make comments about Commission agenda items during the meeting.

    1. Business Meeting Minutes from October 26, 2017
       
    2. Forest Management  - Draft Report for Possible Adoption
       
    3. Closed Session
              PERSONNEL
              The Commission will meet in closed session to discuss personnel matters consistent with Government Code section 11126, subdivision (a)(1).
       
    4. Subcommittee Reports
       
    5. Project Selection
       
    6. Implementation and Impact Activity
       
    7. Reports from the California State Auditor’s Office
    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    January 11, 2018

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Terri Hardy, Deputy Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, January 25, 2018, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing on the applications of artificial intelligence in California. The Commission will consider the key challenges of artificial intelligence, its economic implications for the state and how it can be used to solve societal ills.  The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

    At the hearing, the Commission will first hear a discussion regarding artificial intelligence and employment. Representatives from McKinsey & Company and California Forward will discuss research on occupational disruption as a result of new technologies. Next, the Commission will hear from a University of Washington law and technology professor, who will discuss the major policy questions of artificial intelligence, its current and future applications and the importance of ensuring some form of in-house technical expertise for policymakers. The Commission will then hear from a panel on workforce impacts of artificial intelligence and automation. The panel, consisting of representatives from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the University of California, will discuss the positive and negative effects of automation, potential policy mitigations such as retraining and the role of government in supporting artificial intelligence.  Lastly, the Commission will hear from representatives of the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society, who will discuss the use of artificial intelligence in solving difficult social problems such as educating homeless youth about HIV and AIDS.  

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing.  Public comments will be limited to three minutes per person.  The Commission also encourages written comments.

    Immediately following the hearing, the Commission will hold a business meeting in the lower level conference room at 925 L Street in Sacramento.

    If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Deputy Executive Director Terri Hardy at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, January 18, 2018.

  • October 26
    2017
    Business Meeting
    9:30 a.m., 925 L Street, Room 175, Sacramento, CA
    Business Meeting
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Business Meeting
    Thursday, October 26, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.
    925 L Street, Room 175
    Sacramento, CA 95814
     

    1. Business Meeting Minutes from September 28, 2017
       
    2. Presentation from Jennifer Kent, Director, Department of Health Care Services (Written Testimony)
    3. Closed Session
              PERSONNEL
              The Commission will meet in closed session to discuss personnel matters consistent with Government Code section 11126, subdivision (a)(1).
       
    4. Subcommittee Reports
      a.  Forest Management – Status update
           – Discussion on Draft Recommendations

      b.  Voter Participation - Status update

      c.  Artificial Intelligence – Status update
       
    5. Commission Survey
       
    6. Project Selection
       
    7. Implementation and Impact Activity
       
    8. Reports from the California State Auditor’s Office
    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    October 12, 2017

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Terri Hardy, Deputy Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, October 26, 2017, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a business meeting to hear an update on a prior Commission report and study and conduct regularly scheduled activities.  The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Conference Room 175 located on the first floor of 925 L Street in Sacramento. 

    At the meeting, the Commission will hear from Jennifer Kent, director of the California Department of Health Care Services, who will provide an implementation update on the recommendations from the Commission’s April 2016 report, Fixing Denti-Cal.  The Commission will learn about the department’s progress in achieving a 60 percent utilization goal for children and efforts to streamline and automate enrollment for dentists.

    Following this discussion, the Commission will meet in closed session to discuss personnel matters consistent with Government Code section 11126, subdivision (a)(1).  The Commission will then reconvene in open session and publically announce any actions taken in closed session consistent with Government Code section 11126.3, subdivision(f).

    The Commission will then discuss the potential recommendations for its forest management study.  The Commission will also receive status updates on two ongoing studies on voter participation and artificial intelligence.

    Following these updates, the Commission will conduct other business as detailed on the agenda.  

    If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Deputy Executive Director Terri Hardy at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, October 19, 2017.

    Video

  • August 24
    2017
    Forest Management
    9:30 a.m., State Capitol, Room 437, Sacramento, CA
    Public Hearing
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Public Hearing on Forest Management
    Thursday, August 24, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.
    State Capitol, Room 437
    Sacramento, CA 


    A Model of Collaborative Planning

    1. Barnie Gyant, Deputy Regional Forester, Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5), United States Forest Service (Written Testimony)
       
    2. Susan Britting, Executive Director, Sierra Forest Legacy (Written Testimony)
       

    CAL FIRE’s Role in Collaborative Planning, Reforestation and Climate Change Adaptation

    1. Matthew Reischman, Assistant Deputy Director, Resource Protection and Improvement, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Written Testimony)
       

    Protecting Forested Headwaters

    1. Van Butsic, Assistant Specialist and Adjunct Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley (Written Testimony)
       

    When Forest Management Strategies Intersect with Air Quality

    1. Edie Chang, Deputy Executive Officer, California Air Resources Board (Written Testimony)
       
    2. Alan Abbs, Executive Director, California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (Written Testimony)


    Developing Markets for California Wood Products

    1. Evan Johnson, Science and Policy Advisor, Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery and Co-leader, Utilization – Market Development Group, Tree Mortality Task Force (Written Testimony)
       
    2. Claire Jahns, Assistant Secretary, Natural Resources and Climate Issues, California Natural Resources Agency (Written Testimony)


    Comments Submitted by Members of the Public

    • Randy Hanvelt, District 2 Supervisor, County of Tuolumne (Written Comments)
       
    • The John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute and Sierra Club California (Written Comments
    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    August 10, 2017

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Carole D’Elia, Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, August 24, 2017, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing on forest management and examine strategies for long-term forest resilience. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

    At the hearing, the Commission will first hear from a panel consisting of members of the Dinkey Landscape Restoration Project. This panel will feature a representative from the U.S. Forest Service as well as a representative from Sierra Forest Legacy, who will discuss the Dinkey project as a potential model for collaboration in forest management. Next, the Commission will hear from a representative from CAL FIRE who will address the department’s participation in landscape-level collaborations, reforestation efforts and climate change adaptation. Also present at the hearing will be a researcher from the Water Policy Center at the Public Policy Institute of California who will discuss forested upper headwaters protection. The hearing also will include representatives from the California Air Resources Board and the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association who will address the impact of prescribed fire on air quality. Finally, the Commission will hear from a panel focusing on market development for California wood products. This panel will consist of a representative from the Tree Mortality Task Force’s Marketization Working Group and a representative from the California Natural Resources Agency. They will discuss the importance of market development in utilizing the 102 million dead trees and for long-term forest management.

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing. Public comments will be limited to three minutes per person. The Commission also encourages written comments. 

    The Commission will convene a business meeting in room 175 of 925 L Street in Sacramento at approximately 12:30 p.m. An additional teleconference location accessible to the public during the biomass meeting will be: 15 Henry Street, Southampton, NY 11968.

    If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Executive Director Carole D’Elia at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, August 17, 2017.

  • August 23
    2017
    Forest Bioenergy
    1:00 p.m.
    Advisory Committee Meeting
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Advisory Committee Meeting on Forest Bioenergy
    Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    BMG Conference Room, Lower Level
    925 L Street, Sacramento, CA


    Meeting Background: The Little Hoover Commission currently is conducting a study on forest management in response to the tree mortality crisis in the Sierra Nevada. Its first two hearings focused on the response to the crisis by state and local government and the private sector. The Commission has scheduled an August 24, 2017, hearing on strategies for long-term forest resilience. Commissioners indicated they wanted to learn about forest bioenergy, but decided that the topic was too expansive to cover in a public hearing.  Consequently, Commissioners scheduled an advisory committee meeting to allow stakeholders to present their views on the role of forest bioenergy in California’s forest management.


    Meeting Goals: For stakeholders to share viewpoints with the Commission’s Forest Management subcommittee on the viability of forest bioenergy as a forest management tool. The intent is to inform Commission recommendations.


    1:00 – 1:10 p.m.              

    Welcome and Introductions
    Pedro Nava, Chair, Little Hoover Commission
    Janna Sidley, Chair, Forest Management Subcommittee

    Commission Study Process and Advisory Committee Role
    Carole D’Elia, Executive Director, Little Hoover Commission


    1:10 – 2:50 p.m.              

    Discussion: The Commission is interested in lessons learned from using forest bioenergy in response to the tree mortality crisis, and in the potential role of forest bioenergy in long-term forest management.

    • In response to the tree mortality crisis: Are the directives in the Governor’s 2015 Proclamation of a State of Emergency and subsequent implementing legislation and California Public Utilities Commission Resolutions effective in removing and processing the hazard trees?  How is progress toward meeting the Proclamation directives being measured? What adjustments could be made for forest bioenergy to be a more effective tool in responding to the tree mortality crisis? 
       
    • Forest bioenergy as a long-term forest management tool: What role can and should forest bioenergy play in long-term forest management? Bioenergy costs more than other types of renewable energy, and some of the benefits of forest bioenergy as a forest management tool, such as utilization of small diameter trees or jobs creation, are not typically factors that would justify higher electricity costs. If forest biomass does become a forest management tool, how could the higher cost of bioenergy be fairly distributed?


    2:50 – 3:00 p.m.              

    Final Comments

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the discussion. Please notify Commission staff if you would like to make a comment.

    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    August 10, 2017

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Carole D’Elia, Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Wednesday, August 23, 2017, the Forest Management Subcommittee of the Little Hoover Commission will hold an advisory committee meeting to hear from key stakeholders to consider the viability of forest bioenergy as a forest management tool. The intent of the meeting is to inform Commission recommendations. The meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the BMG Conference Room located on the lower level of 925 L Street in Sacramento, California.

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the meeting. The Commission also encourages written comments.

    If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Executive Director Carole D’Elia at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

  • April 27
    2017
    Forest Management
    State Capitol, Room 437, Sacramento, CA
    Public Hearing
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Public Hearing on Forest Management
    Thursday, April 27, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.
    State Capitol, Room 437
    Sacramento, CA 


    Opening Remarks

    The Cost of Forest Neglect: The Counties’ Perspective

    1. Mike Albrecht, RPF, Project Coordinator, Tuolumne County Tree Mortality Task Force; President & Co-owner, Sierra Resource Management, Inc. (Written Testimony)
       
    2. Brittany Dyer, District Chief of Staff, Supervisor Tom Wheeler, District 5, County of Madera (Written Testimony)
       
    3. Eric Coyne, Deputy County Administrative Officer, Economic Development, Film & Tourism, County of Tulare (Written Testimony)
       

    The Impact of Unhealthy Forests on Water Supply and Quality

    1. David Eggerton, General Manager, Calaveras County Water District (Written Testimony)
       

    Insurance Availability and Affordability  

    1. Joel Laucher, Chief Deputy Commissioner, California Department of Insurance (Written Testimony)
       

    BUSINESS MEETING & LUNCH – ROOM 125


    On the Front Lines: Utilities

    1. Jadwindar Singh, Director, Electric Compliance, Quality, and Vegetation Management, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (Written Testimony)
       

    A View from the State’s Largest Private Forest Owner

    1. Cedric Twight, Manager, California Regulatory Affairs, Sierra Pacific Industries (Written Testimony)


    Restoring the Ecosystem

    1. Susan Britting, Executive Director, Sierra Forest Legacy  (Written Testimony)
       
    2. David Edelson, Sierra Nevada Project Director, The Nature Conservancy (Written Testimony)


    Comments Submitted by Members of the Public

    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    April 13, 2017

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Carole D’Elia, Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, April 27, 2017, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing on forest management in response to the tree mortality crisis that has killed 102 million trees in California. Thehearingwillbeginat9:30a.m.inRoom437oftheStateCapitolinSacramento.

    At the hearing, the Commission will first hear from county representatives who will discuss the challenges they face both in meeting the county’s forest management obligations and in assisting residents, some of whom cannot afford to treat the trees on their property. Next, the Commission will hear from a water district general manager who will discuss the impact of the dead trees on water quality and quantity, as well as regional partnerships in which the district participates that could perhaps be a model for others dealing with tree mortality. Also present at the hearing will be a representative from the Department of Insurance who will address insurance concerns raised by county representatives. The hearing also will include representatives from Pacific Gas & Electric and Sierra Pacific Industries, who will discuss the challenges they face in responding to tree mortality on their land and the roles they can play in sustainable forest management. Finally, the Commission will hear from representatives from Sierra Forest Legacy and The Nature Conservancy about potential solutions and a discussion on who benefits from healthy forests, and how that should influence policymaking.

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing. Public comments will be limited to three minutes per person. The Commission also encourages written comments.

    The Commission will convene a business meeting in room 125 of the State Capitol at approximately 11:30 a.m. The public hearing will reconvene at approximately 12:45 p.m.

    All public notices for meetings are on the Commission’s website, www.lhc.ca.gov. If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Executive Director Carole D’Elia at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, April 20, 2017. 

    Video
  • January 26
    2017
    Forest Management
    State Capitol, Room 437, Sacramento, CA
    Public Hearing
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Public Hearing on Forest Management
    Thursday, January 26, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.
    State Capitol, Room 437
    Sacramento, CA 


    Opening Remarks

    Introduction to Tree Mortality in the Sierra Nevada and California Forest Management

    1. Scott Stephens, Professor, Fire Science and Chair, Division of Ecosystem Science, University of California, Berkeley (Written Testimony)
       

    The State of California’s Response to the Tree Mortality Crisis and Role in Forest Management

    1. Chief Ken Pimlott, Director, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Written Testimony)
       
    2. Mark Ghilarducci, Director, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Written Testimony)
       
    3. Ashley Conrad-Saydah, Deputy Secretary for Climate Policy, California Environmental Protection Agency (Written Testimony)
       
    4. Malcolm Dougherty, Director, California Department of Transportation (Written Testimony)
       
    5. Jim Branham, Executive Officer, Sierra Nevada Conservancy (Written Testimony)
       

    Transitioning to the Local Perspective: What Are the Resource Conservation Districts’ Concerns?  

    1. Karen Buhr, Executive Director, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (Written Testimony)
       

    Comments Submitted by Members of the Public

    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    January 12, 2017

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Carole D’Elia, Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, January 26, 2017, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing on forest management in response to the tree mortality crisis that has killed 102 million trees in California. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

    At the hearing, the Commission will first hear from a fire ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley. He will provide an overview of the tree die-offs and their impact, an assessment of California’s forest management policies and an analysis of best practices in forest policy that California could potentially implement. Next, the Commission will hear from a panel of state representatives that includes the director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), deputy secretary for climate policy for the California Environmental Protection Agency, the director of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and the executive officer for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. They will discuss the role of their organization in responding to the tree mortality crisis, including coordinating with a diverse array of stakeholders, prioritizing threats to public safety and identifying funding opportunities. They also will discuss their work to create healthy and resilient forests and ecosystems that can survive future disease, insects and other threats. Finally the executive director for the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts will discuss the impacts of the tree mortality crisis and larger climate change issues on the districts and what her members hope to see from the state, both in the short-term response to the tree die-offs and in longer-term forest management.

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing. Public comments will be limited to three minutes per person. The Commission also encourages written comments.

    Immediately following the hearing, the Commission will hold a business meeting in conference room 175 on the first floor of 925 L Street in Sacramento, California.

    All public notices for meetings are on the Commission’s website, www.lhc.ca.gov. If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Executive Director Carole D’Elia at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, January 19, 2017. 

    Video