UC Merced researchers involved in project examining fuel treatments

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comJuly 16, 2013 

— An exhibit detailing efforts by scientists to study the effects of fuel treatments on the Sierra Nevada made its première at UC Merced's Kolligian Library on Monday.

The exhibit introduces the public to the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project, or SNAMP.

The exhibit is titled "SNAMP: Learning to Implement Adaptive Management in the Sierra Nevada."

It is on the library's second floor. A reception for the exhibit was held there Monday.

Fuel treatments include the efforts by state and federal agencies to remove trees, dead wood, shrubs, grasses and plants to cut down on the threat of a catastrophic fire.

The role of SNAMP is to study how those treatments affect the environment and those species who call the Sierra Nevada home.

"This is thousands of acres. It's not just one little plot," said Kim Ingram, a program representative with the SNAMP Public Participation Team.

The findings by SNAMP's scientists will be compiled into a final report on the impacts of fuel treatments, which is scheduled to be released in 2014, according to Ingram.

Professors at UC Merced also are a part of SNAMP, making up one of six teams of professors studying the effect of fuel treatments in the Sierra Nevada. UC Merced's team specifically focuses on water resources, and how they factor into the equation.

Other teams of professors are looking at how wildlife species such as the Pacific fisher and California spotted owl are affected by fuel treatments. The teams also are examining fire behavior, tree survival, and growth and secondary effects of forest health from insects and disease, according to SNAMP.

Partners and supporters of SNAMP include the U.S. Forest Service, University of California, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Minnesota, California Natural Resources Agency, Cal Fire, California Department of Water Resources and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Monday's reception also served as the première of the Downtown Life Magazine's "DLM in the Lab" exhibit series.

The exhibit, which is on the library's third floor, includes displays inspired by the magazine's Lab Tour stories.

Tom Price, DLM's founder, said the displays will change regularly to showcase the variety of research taking place inside UC Merced's labs.

DLM's current exhibit at the library deals with the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory, a part of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, which focuses on water research.

Both exhibits are free to the public.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vaptton@merced sunstar.com.

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