Biomass Utilization

Our forest biomass program is pioneering biomass energy production and wood products manufacturing in California. Since 2009, we have worked with partners to lead the state in biomass development, working to establish an industry that weds our twin goals of forest management and rural economic development. We are achieving this effort through network leadership, research and policy development, collaboration, and on-the-ground project development.

By uniting innovators, practitioners, wood energy interests, academics, and organizations with diverse backgrounds, we are able to integrate learning and strategy, helping to both develop policy and translate it into industry that fosters forest health, drives business investment, and creates jobs in rural communities.

What is Biomass?

 Learn more about The North Fork Bioenergy Project, California’s first community-scale forest biomass energy facility.

Here are some of the ways the Watershed Center is laying the groundwork for the growth of the forest biomass industry in the state of California:

  • We are leaders and co-founders of the California Forest Biomass Working Group (CA Forest BWG) and its subgroup, the Statewide Wood Energy Team (SWET). Funded by our partners at the US Forest Service, CAL FIRE, Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern CA Edison, these networks represent the primary vehicles of information distribution and project development, analysis, and assistance specific to forest biomass utilization in California. These groups meet monthly to report on research, project and policy developments, funding opportunities, and to engage in strategic planning and capacity building for deploying the nation’s most innovative and robust biomass energy and wood utilization industries.

If you are interested in attending a meeting or are interested in potential collaboration opportunities, contact our Biomass Utilization Program Manager Angie Lottes by email or phone at 530-628-4206

Find out more about how these groups are shaping biomass throughout the state:

  • California Forest Biomass Working Group                     
  • Statewide Wood Energy Team
  • We co-chair Governor Brown’s Tree Mortality Task Force Bioenergy Workgroup and one of its subgroups, the Utilization Working Group. Comprised of state and federal agencies, local governments, utilities, and various stakeholders, the TMTF and the BIOEWG are working to address vast tree mortality across California resultant from drought and bark beetle infestations. Through policy and project development these groups are creating ways to increase use of dead and dying material in order to minimize damage to the forest and surrounding communities.
  • Partners in the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment’s Rural Community Development Initiative. This project provides technical and capacity-building support to community organizations working to address economic hardship and high risks of extreme wildfire through biomass project development.
  • Partners in the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Demonstration research and demonstration project. Developed with the US Forest Service, the University of CA Berkeley, TSS Consultants and other partners, this project showcases new harvesting equipment and techniques by assessing their application in four hazardous fuels areas in southern and central California, acting as a demonstration for land managers in the application of fuels management technology.