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Grass Valley Calif, May 19, 2020 – A partnership between the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County (FSCNC), the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services (NCOES), and the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District (NSAQMD) has just launched their first week of a six-week green waste collection event for residents of Nevada County. The program began Sunday, May 17, 2020. These events are expected to double the amount of green waste collected in 2019 and are offered to residents free of charge to encourage defensible space development around homes.
A generous grant provided by the NSAQMD allowed the addition of three weeks in June to the program, in hopes that the additional dates would encourage residents of Nevada County to bring green waste to drop sites instead of burning it. Not only will this reduce the risk of wildfire, but it will also reduce smoke in the air generated by burn piles and help protect the respiratory health of individuals already at higher risk of COVID-19.
Residents can take advantage of this no-cost residential green waste disposal opportunity at the Rise Grass Valley site at 12625 Brunswick Road, the Penn Valley Rodeo Grounds at 10513 Spenceville Road, and at the NID Reservoir at 12057 Francis Drive in Alta Sierra. The Alta Sierra Property Owners (ASPOA) is assisting with logistics, supplies, and communications for that collection location. The Alta Sierra location closed May 17th -19th, as the latest storm caused safety concerns. However, residents are still able to drop green waste at the Grass Valley and Penn Valley sites. Rest assured the Alta Sierra site will resume its normal scheduled days, Sunday through Tuesday on May 22nd and continue through the end of June.
Each site operates from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday through June 27th. The green waste collected will be ground into chips which will be offered to the public for pick up on Friday and Saturday of each week of the event. Chip processing and pick up will only be available at the Rise Gold and Penn Valley Rodeo sites. Residents can load the chips themselves, or request loading services provided free of charge.
FSC’s Executive Director Jamie Jones says, “Chipped material is useful for weed suppression, soil moisture retention, and erosion control, but because these chips can still burn, they should not be placed within 30’ of any structure in order to comply with the best Defensible Space guidelines. Our volunteers and staff will be screening loads for prohibited items such as Scotch Broom, poison oak, and blackberry, as well as trash, root balls and limbs greater than 6” in diameter. This change to our green waste program has allowed us to stretch the grant funding available so we serve even more Nevada County residents.”
Operations require the fulfillment of over 270 volunteer spots over the course of the event. The first week was fully staffed, but the subsequent weeks still have many gaps in the schedule. Volunteers will receive training for COVID-19 safety, as well as site operations, via YouTube. The opportunity is appropriate for adults of all ages, and teens 16 years or older and is carefully designed to be a no-contact event. Face coverings will be provided.
Though the shifts are six hours long, the duties are light and breaks are provided as needed. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own camp chair, water bottle, and lunch, though individual snacks and beverages will be available on-site. The Fire Safe Council is still looking for volunteers. To register, please visit: www.connectingpoint.org/volunteerhub/greenwaste/.
Paul Cummings, NCOES Program Manager says, “We have designed a program that will be as contact-free as possible. Strict safety measures have been developed in consultation with the Nevada County Public Health Department to keep staff, volunteers, and the community safe.”
Funds from NSAQMD will also provide 15 weeks of free chipping to the community and will assist 15 low income residents with access and functional needs by providing defensible space clearing around their homes.”