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North Fork Biomass Plant Begins Accepting Logs

NORTH FORK — The North Fork Biomass Disposal Facility has now begun accepting hazard log biomass to help address the tree mortality issues in Madera County.

On Friday, July 22, the Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council (Y/S RC&D Council) initiated the soft open of the facility at the North Fork Mill Site, which will store and process hazardous logs and biomass produced by the tree mortality emergency.

“This log deck is not a silver bullet, but it provides a mechanism to remove dangerous fuels from our roadways and communities,” said District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler.

Currently the facility is only accepting material from Madera County, PG&E, and some Y/S RC&D Council grant-funded projects. However, it will begin accepting material from contractors and homeowners in the next few months.

Tipping fees will be charged to cover operational costs, and Y/S RC&D Council is working on a model where agencies and larger organizations pay a little more to help offset the costs to the public.

“We need to ensure our base operational costs are covered, so that we are able to provide low-cost biomass disposal to the community” said Justine Reynolds, Project Manager with Y/S RC&D Council.

Tom Burdette - North Fork CDC; Justine Reynolds of Yosemite-Sequoia RC&D Council; Gary Walker - North Fork Rancheria and North Fork CDC Tribal RepresentativeThe material delivered to the facility will be processed for multiple uses, including as fuel for bioenergy facilities like Rio Bravo in Fresno and the anticipated North Fork Bioenergy Facility in 2017. The material will also be used for landscaping and recreational uses on both public and private property.

“Sort yards and log decks like this are important for maintaining the flow of dead and dying trees from the forest and to businesses that can consume the material,” said Angie Lottes, Biomass Program Manager with The Watershed Research and Training Center.

This log deck is part of a suite of activities the Y/S RC&D Council is undertaking to help mitigate the extreme fire danger in Eastern Madera County. Earlier this year, Y/S RC&D Council received over $200,000 in grant funding from PG&E to implement fuel reduction projects over the summer to reduce fire risk.

The facility is being operated by Talley Oil, a local Madera County business. Y/S RC&D Council developed the road and water infrastructure needed through funding from Cal Fire’s SRA grants and with support from the North Fork Community Development Council, PG&E, and Madera County staff and Supervisor Tom Wheeler.

For more information on the North Fork Biomass Disposal Facility, please visit Yosemite/Sequoia RC&D Council’s website www.ysrcandd.org or call their offices at (559)-877-8663.

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