ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

ANR Opportunity Grants Funded Projects

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Training Master Gardeners to Help Landowners Through the Re-vegetation Process After Large Scale Tree Mortality in the Sierra Nevada

Project #: 17-OP01

Project LeaderSusie Kocher, Central Sierra Cooperative Extension

Project Period: March 1, 2017 - February 28, 2018

Amount Awarded: $10,000

Award Source: Slosson

The Sierra Nevada has experienced an unprecedented die-off of trees on both private and public lands. This project was designed to assist and guide landowners on how and whether to reforest after removing dead trees. With grant funds, we developed a train the trainer toolkit which included a simple and glossy brochure to hand out at public events, a PowerPoint template that could be adapted to local use by gardeners for public education classes, and PowerPoint presentations and videos of speakers.  We presented it through a series of three regional workshops and topics included tree mortality causes and trends, bark beetles in conifers, forest succession after bark beetle outbreak, conifer forests and climate change, landscape trees and climate change, site preparation and seedling sources, land owners assistance, and cost share programs.

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Food Evolution: A Documentary Movie Educational Resource

Project #: 17-OP02

Project LeaderAlison Van Eenennaam, UC Davis Animal Science

Project Period: April 1, 2017 - March 31, 2018

Amount Awarded: $5,000  

Award Source: ANR General

In 2014 UC Davis Professor Alison Van Eenennaam and other faculty were interviewed for a documentary commissioned by the Institute of Food Technologists, (ITF). The documentary explains how science is applied to agriculture and how technology can help provide solutions to nutrition and food security. The documentary, Food Evolution, focuses on the GMO debate as an archetype of how misinformation is driving public perception around scientific topics. Food Evolution has been very well received and opportunity grants funding provided for additional screenings of the documentary at UCANR events.

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Massive Tree Mortality in the Sierra Nevada: Consequences for Forest Health, Carbon Storage and Wildfire Hazard

Project #: 17-OP03

Project LeaderJodi Axelson, UC Berkeley Environmental Science, Policy and Management

Project Period: May 1, 2017 - April 30, 2018

Amount Awarded: $10,000  

Award Source: Federal Smith-Lever

The cumulative tree mortality from 2012 to 2016 is over 102 million trees on 7.7 million acres of drought-impacted forests; California has been changed at the stand-to-landscape level and this threatens critical ecosystems that California forests support. We designed a field-based project that would capture strategic, on-the-ground measurements of tree mortality and forest characteristics to complement remotely sensed data, the first step to develop the analytical tools and outreach materials necessary to address the near and long-term consequences of massive tree mortality on forest structure and function. This project begins to answer critical questions on the resilience of Sierran mixed conifer forests and the management challenges posed by massive tree mortality.

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University of California Sustainable Community Project: Bringing 4-H to Under-served Youth in Biola

Project #: 17-OP04

Project Lead: Shannon Mueller, (originally Tara Batista) Fresno County Cooperative Extension

Project Period: June 1, 2017 - May 31, 2018

Amount Awarded: $ 8,200

Award Source: Federal Smith-Lever

The traditional 4-H program in Fresno County has consistently fallen short of achieving parity for every demographic across all age groups in the county. This project was a pilot to assess the types of 4-H programming and curriculum that could meet the needs of underserved populations in rural areas and to determine if a collaboration such as this could be scaled to permanently serve these individuals. The project assisted volunteers in planning of programming for approximately 80-100 children of migrant farmworkers, ages 5-18, who live in Biola; curriculum included a fishing field trip with a volunteer Veterans group and learning about photography. The results showed that 4-H curriculum in a group-enrollment environment can be scaled to meet the needs of an underserved population.

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Wildfire Recovery for Communities and Natural Lands in California

Project #: 17-OP05

Project Leader: KatWilkin, Sutter-Yuba Cooperative Extension

Project Period: November 1. 2017 - June 30, 2018

Amount Awarded: $10,000   

Award Source: Federal Smith-Lever

Northern California experienced an unprecedented wildfire season in 2017 and the loss of homes and lives was unprecedented. We shared our knowledge from UCCE to help communities develop a science-informed recovery approach that also reduces the likelihood of future catastrophic fires. UCCE staff hosted eight fire resiliency and recovery workshops with the goal of delivering the best science-based information about fire recovery and resiliency to the more than 700 workshop participants. In addition, the group archived workshop preparation materials to share with other UC staff who may need to respond to wildfire in their communities.

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Assessing the Toxicological Risk of Eggs from Backyard Chickens in Fire Affected Urban Areas of Northern California

Project #:17-OP06

Project LeaderMaurice Pitesky, UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Extension

Project Period: December 1, 2017 - November 30, 2018

Amount Awarded: $10,000  

Award Source: Kearney

We hypothesized that table eggs from fire-affected areas would have higher levels of heavy metals, PCBs and PBDEs, than eggs from non-fire affected areas. Using a “citizen science” based approach we collected table eggs from over 300 backyard premises in California and overall, 50% of the total premises of the eggs submitted surpassed the daily toxic threshold per California Proposition 65 guidelines for cadmium, and 40% of the total premises of the eggs submitted surpassed the California Proposition 65 threshold of lead consumption associated with reproductive harm; other metals such as arsenic, copper, nickel, and mercury were well below toxic levels. This funding enabled the group to obtain a USDA grant that focused on extension projects related to urban fires and backyard poultry.

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Restoring Critical Rangeland Ecosystem Services Following Catastrophic Wildfire

Project #: 17-OP07

Project Leader: Matthew Shapero, Ventura County Cooperative Extension

Project Period: December 1, 2017 - November 30, 2018

Amount Awarded: $9,885  

Award Source: Kearney

We sought to fill a critical knowledge gap for land managers and ranchers on the ground who need reliable, evidence-based information when responding to catastrophic fire. Specifically, we wanted to address if and/or how grazing with domestic livestock immediately post-fire impacts rangeland recovery and this project allowed us to rapidly establish exclosure cages on a series of ranches in Ventura County that burned during the Thomas Fire in order to understand soil and vegetation dynamics in the presence and absence of grazing. We plan to continue monitoring and collecting species composition for at least one more growing season and that will allow for meaningful data analysis. We expect to generate a series of extension materials (newsletters, blogs, pamphlets) in late 2019/early 2020 and share our results.

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Produce Safety After Urban Wildfire: Cumulative Risk Assessment & Community Education on Air Pollution Impact on Produce Safety in the Aftermath of the Sonoma County Fires

Project #: 17-OP08

Project LeaderJulia Van Soelen Kim, Marin County Cooperative Extension

Project Period: December 1, 2017 - September 30, 2018

Amount Awarded: $10,000  

Award Source: Kearney

Northern California fires of October 2017 created poor air quality and distributed toxic air contaminants over the region. With the support of UCCE community members concerned about the impact of toxic smoke on local produce and UCCE Master Gardeners took over 200 samples of leafy greens from 25 gardens and farms. We analyzed two high-priority sites that were most likely were to have received deposits of toxic air contaminants from the urban wildfire; based on preliminary findings we hypothesize that produce safety was not significantly affected by the fires and may be mitigated by washing produce. The preliminary analysis was inconclusive but did not indicate a high degree of contamination, the preliminary report that we produced is available here. 

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Wildfire Recovery for Communities and Natural Lands in Southern California

Project #:18-OP09

Project LeaderSabrina Drill, Los Angeles County Cooperative Extension

Project Period: February 1, 2018 - January 31, 2019

Amount Awarded: $9,999

Award Source: Kearney

In December 2017 wildfires in Southern California burned over 300,000 acres. UC Cooperative Extension will help Southern California communities develop a science-informed recovery approach with an overall message of informing residents that they can recover from wildfire in a way that reduces future wildfire losses. We will develop and assemble outreach materials and present a series of workshops designed for different audiences; homeowners, agriculture landowners and producers, range and natural landowners, and land-use decision makers.

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Mini Documentary (Urban Coyote Management)

Project #: 18-OP10

Project Leader: Niamh Quinn, UC ANR South Coast Research & Extension Center Cooperative Extension

Project Period: August 3, 2018 - August 2, 2019

Amount Awarded: $10,000

Award Source: Kearney

Funding was acquired from 2 public agencies to purchase 20 GPS collars to allow testing of the efficacy of hazing as a management option for urban coyotes in Southern California’s urban areas. Opportunity grant funding will provide for filming of a documentary about the research project that will be used to increase extension capacity and to educate Californians living in urban areas that experience human-coyote conflict on the use of hazing as an urban coyote management tool.

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HREC Post-Fire Data Collection

Project #: 18-OP11

Project LeaderJohn Bailey, UC ANR Hopland Research & Extension Center

Project Period: September 1, 2018 - August 31, 2019

Amount Awarded: $10,000

Award Source: Kearney

The Carr wildfire in 2018 burned over 3,000 acres of the 5,000-acre UC ANR Hopland Research and Extension Center (HREC). Given the long history of ecological research and data at HREC, and recent prescribed burns on the site, we are uniquely situated to examine both fine-scale and landscape-scale effects of fire on vegetation and the rest of the ecosystem. This funding is going to allow us to collect baseline data on all of HREC’s post-fire landscape with the use of drone technology. The landscape-level data collected will provide a common baseline for diverse research projects facilitating cross-study collaboration and integration across a wide-range of fields.

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Nutritive and Toxicological Effects of Wildfire Ash on California's Forage Crops

Project #: 18-OP12

Project Leader: Betsy Karle, Glenn County Cooperative Extension

Project Period: September 1, 2018 - August 31, 2019

Amount Awarded: $10,000

Award Source: Kearney   

Extension offices in communities affected by the Carr and Mendocino Complex fires have been contacted by clients expressing concern about the potential impact of the ash load on feed crops they harvest for their animals. The main concern is ash load on their forage crops from the high number of structures containing unknown levels of contaminants that burned and there are few data collections that examine this effect and impacts are largely unknown. This project will perform a cross-sectional survey across 55 forage production fields in California; a commercial laboratory will test the samples for nutrient value and toxic contaminants, and the project academic team members will review the results. County-based advisors will disseminate the results to the public primarily through existing extension newsletters and websites.

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Evaluating the Impact of SB 1192 - Healthy Default Beverages in Children's Meals

Project #: 19-OP13

Project Leader: Lorrene Ritchie, UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI)

Project Period: December 1, 2018 - May 31, 2019

Amount Awarded: $10,000

Award Source: Federal Smith-Lever

Recently passed SB 1192 requires that as of January 1, 2019 all California restaurants offering children's meals include a beverage offer of water, unflavored milk, and/or a non-dairy milk alternative. California is the first state in the nation to pass such a policy and in order to accurately assess changes resulting from the law, to help inform future nationwide initiatives, data will be collected before and after January 1 from fast food restaurants serving children's meals. This will be done using customer intercept surveys and observations; the specific aims are to assess any changes to the type of beverage 1 to 12-year-olds order with their meals, and any changes in their usual daily beverage intake. Data regarding the restaurants compliance with SB 1192 will also be collected.

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Assessment of Water Quality Impacts on Grazing Land and Irrigated Crops from Urban Fires

Project #: 19-OP14

Project Leader: Tracy Schohr, Plumas-Sierra Cooperative Extension

Project Period: February 1, 2019 - January 31, 2020

Amount Awarded: $10,000

Award Source: Federal Smith-Lever

On November 8, 2018, the Camp Fire ignited in the foothills above Chico, CA devastating the town of Paradise, CA, and severely damaging the nearby communities of Pulga, Concow, and Magalia. The goals of this study are to: 1) identify contaminants that are present in post-storm water samples that may negatively affect livestock health or crop safety, 2) compare contaminants in post-storm water samples to pre-storm water samples (and samples outside the Camp Fire burn area), and 3) determine if contaminant levels are above recommended limits for safe livestock drinking water or crop irrigation water. Key project components are an urgent water assessment from urban fire to monitor first rains of the season that would include potential containments, and to provide immediate updates to potentially impacted clientele. This is a cutting-edge case study to address possible concerns with unprecedented fire.

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