Regular Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
ASHLAND FOREST LANDS COMMISSION
September 10, 2003 4:30 – 6:00 PM
MEMBERS PRESENT: Frank Betlejewski, Jo Anne Eggers, Stephen Jensen (Chair),
Anthony Kerwin, Bill Robertson
Members Absent: Richard Brock,Elizabeth Crosson (Vice Chair)
Staff Present: Nancy Slocum, Keith Woodley
Non Voting Members: Chris Hearn (Council Liaison), January Jennings (Tree Commission Liaison), Marty Main (Consultant)
I. CALL TO ORDER AT 4:35 PM
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: August 13, 2003 minutes were unanimously approved as submitted.
III. PUBLIC FORUM: No one spoke.
IV. STAFF REPORTS
A. Keith Woodley voiced a concern about the current geological assessment contracted through Hicks and Sitton. To date they have spent $2,000 of the $8,000 contract on base maps and background data. Such data is not of practical use for the current project. The commission needs a geologist to review example markings and assess the geological hazards. The goal of the commission is to be working on the ground this fall. Woodley let the consultants know we needed to focus on the work proposed (i.e. the new waterline and Units P, Q and K).
Jensen suggested Betlejewski and Kerwin meet with Woodley and the consultants to emphasize the immediate needs of the commission. Main added the consultant’s work should complement similar inventories used by the Forest Service.
B. Main would like the commission to visit Unit L. The unit, located outside of Reeder Reservoir, contains lots of mistletoe, low densities, logging slash and large trees.
Main showed the commission a Map of Areas, Unit Status. He reported that 99% of the needed marking is complete (approximately 183 acres of 485 acres). Areas that can’t be marked include previously thinned areas, areas with no helicopter turnaround and areas with diversity openings. There are three available helicopter landings with one more possible; each has a flying distance of less than ¾ mile. The contractors will need to access Forest Service roads. These roads are in need of renovation. The Forest Service may want to join commercial sale and use City helicopter landing pads.
Eggers asked if the marked trees were commercially viable. Main said 1/3 of the marked trees are dead and still viable, but probably not for long. Five percent of the marked trees are greater than 17”.
Main reported that there is a lot of inventory data to compare units before and after treatment.
V. REVIEW OF PROJECTS PENDING/REQUIRING ACTION
City Council public hearing is scheduled for October 21st. Woodley will be responsible for writing the Council Communication that explains the need, methodology and economics of the project. During the staff report a couple of commissioners should be present to answer councilor questions.
Jensen asked Main if his financial and prescription information would be ready for review at the next commission meeting (October 8). Main said yes. Woodley added that small adjustments could be made after council approves the final plan.
VI. ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION:
A. Hayfork Group Presentation – The Hayfork Group presentation was postponed due to a scheduling conflict. Woodley suggested that the Group visit the site with Main before rescheduling.
B. Discussion / Vote on “Prescribed Burning” Inclusion to Restoration Project Draft – Betlejewski presented the commission with a reworked section. Kerwin wondered about the sentence, “The fuel moistures within the unit would be the same as those outside the unit, making containment of the fire within the unit difficult.” Betlejewski explained that high moisture conditions outside the unit facilitate holding making it successful in competing the burn.
Robertson moved to accept the draft for inclusion into the Restoration Project draft. Betlejewski seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
C. Restoration Project Draft – Jensen said Slocum was unable to find a reference to Howard Heiner’s goal in previous minutes. Jensen will rework the goal and email it to the commissioners for consensus.
D. Winburn Parcel: Clarity and Consensus – Robertson moved to continue work on the Winburn Parcel in the same manner as was done in the Lower Watershed parcel (i.e. mark example units, estimate the number of trees to be removed, schedule public hikes and generally handle issues as they arise). Kerwin seconded the motion.
Discussion: An “Alternative Approach” draft was offered by Betlejewski as originally authored by Brock. Betlejewski noted that research from the adjacent Little Applegate watershed on how old growth develops compared the average 10-year radial growth of old-growth trees and young overstory trees. Research showed a change in old growth rates as a result of fire exclusion; lower growth rates with fire exclusion. Betlejewski extrapolated this to include treatment. Main added that additional benefits include more vigorous trees less prone to insect attack.
Eggers thought the motion unnecessary and could not support it. Robertson said if mortality continued to increase, we would loose value in lower watershed. He wants to keep continue with the process to keep contracting options open.
Vote: Motioned passed 4 to 1.
E. Comment on Mount Ashland Ski Expansion – Brock was not present at the meeting. Woodley reported that Paula Brown prepared an 11 page briefing on how the potential expansion would affect soil and water quality. Woodley commented on the fire issue. Both memos would not be available until after the September 22th council meeting.
Jensen asked Woodley if the commission should wait until the council asks for a comment or recommendation. Woodley said the council was following a specific process. Councilor Hearn agreed, but acknowledged the commission’s technical expertise. Eggers sorted out the values within the draft that were relevant to any project within the watershed. They included: protect, restoration, geology, soil, water, biodiversity, riparian, course woody material, grasses, shrubs and the ecosystem. She thought the commission could draft a memo outlining and supporting these values. Jensen wondered if the commission could really add anything to the discussion. Hearns thought that with the scope of the current commission project, it was best not to add additional work.
Commission voted to continue the meeting ten minutes.
V. OTHER BUSINESS
A. Robertson requested a hike to the Winburn Parcel be scheduled for next month. Jensen suggested that a hike be scheduled next meeting.
B. Betlejewski said the snag inventory is nearly done and the down log inventory was complete.
VI. REVIEW AND SET COMMISSION CALENDAR / NEXT MEETING
A. A special meeting was set for Wednesday, October 1, 2003 @ 4:30PM
B. Next regular meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 8, 2003.
VII. MEETING ADJOURNED AT 6:10 PM