Regular Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
ASHLAND FOREST LANDS COMMISSION
November 12, 2003 4:30 – 6:30 PM
MEMBERS PRESENT: Frank Betlejewski, Richard Brock, Jo Anne Eggers,
Stephen Jensen (Chair), Anthony Kerwin
Members Absent: Bill Roberton
Staff Present: Nancy Slocum, Pieter Smeenk, Keith Woodley
Non Voting Members Present: Chris Hearn, January Jennings, Marty Main,
Non Voting Members Absent: Cameron Meeks (Student Liaison)
I. CALL TO ORDER AT 4:32 PM
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: October 8, 2003 minutes approved with the removal of the sentence “He left all snags greater than 26.”
III. PUBLIC FORUM: John Schuyler, Acting District Forest Ranger, introduced himself to the commission. He offered a future half-hour presentation regarding furthering treatment fuels as part of the Ashland Watershed Protection Project. Schuyler also announced that the draft EIS on the Ashland Forest Interface Protection Strategy is due in October 2004 with the final EIS out in spring 2005. Jensen asked Schuyler to make the presentation at the Commission’s December 10th meeting. He agreed. Eggers suggested publicizing the talk.
IV. PRESENTATION: Zach Stevenson from the World Wildlife fund presented the benefits of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification: 1) evaluation of forest management to respected, independent third party standard for sustainable management; 2) improved public image and consumer support; 3) improved integration of management functions; 4) long term sustainability of the resource; 5) access to markets for certified products. He explained the assessment process and wondered if certification would be appropriate for city owned land within the Ashland Watershed.
Brock said the commission had looked at the cost/benefit ratio of certified wood approximately three years ago. The commission decided then that it did not make financial sense. Hearn asked the cost of FSC certification. Stevenson said, although difficult to estimate, in the Little Applegate 650 acres cost $3,000 the first year with a ½ cost reduction the second year. Main estimated the total number of acres between the commission and Parks’ lands at 1100 acres. Hearn wondered if there would be additional costs associated with milling and transportation. Stevenson said there were two local certified mills.
Betlejewski asked if Stevenson had a chance to review Phase II of the restoration project. Stevenson had not. Hearn commented that certification would allow the City to stand out as an environmentally friendly community. Stevenson said his company could help locate funding sources and publicize on behalf of the city. They could also assist in connecting the City to suppliers.
Jensen thought it prudent for Stevenson to read the proposal and comment next month on its applicability to the Ashland Watershed. Woodley said the previous Smart Wood presentation identified two questions: 1) Does the City apply “Smartwood” forest land management principles on its land?, the answer is “yes”, and 2) What is the cost / benefit of the City certifying its forest land? Eggers thought the bigger issue was long term economics and sustainability versus financials. She thought public education was crucial.
V. STAFF REPORTS
A. 1. Keith Woodley reported that the City Council public hearing and vote went smoothly. The Council felt the proposal was good science and were impressed with the amount of public outreach the commission did.
2. Woodley also reported that the $500,000 outstanding grant request never materialized, but the commission was promised $250,000. Chris Chambers was working on another grant to help with funding.
3. Woodley is currently drafting the Request for Bid for the project while Main is showing potential bidders the terrain.
B. Marty Main said that before he could tour the area with potential bidders, he needs to finalize geology and do the final markings in “blue.” He is meeting with helicopter contractors and has talked to several mills – all expressed interest. He needs comments from the commission on the Hicks/Sitton geology report.
He has also been meeting with the Forest Service to see if it was possible to schedule simultaneous ground work to make the proposal more attractive to potential operators. Road use permits have been applied for. Schuyler supports Main’s effort to consolidate projects. He plans on have some timber volume available.
Hazard project – Main looked at the timber on the ground; a lot was defective, but some was surprisingly good. Within the restoration project he estimated 1/3 of the material marked for removal is dead. In the final marking he could add some trees less than 10” dbh to the final volume.
Main didn’t have time to look at the Winburn Parcel this month; he would like to focus on getting the bids out. Brock thought if premature to do a demonstration marking in Winburn as there are no objectives yet. Betlejewski agreed. This subject would be placed on the December agenda.
November 24th disturbance ecology scientists (Tom Atzet, Don Goheen and Carl Skinner) will explore the role of disturbance in the development of Ashland’s Watershed forest ecosystems. In the afternoon of the 25th, there will be a seminar with the scientists to talk about what they found. The scientists were sponsored as part of a grant funded by the Jackson County Title III program. Brock commented that expertise in wildlife and soils were missing from the panel of scientists. Main said he hoped this would just be the beginning of such discussions.
VI. REVIEW OF PROJECTS PENDING/REQUIRING ACTION – Jensen reviewed the pending actions for the commission. He congratulated the commission on all the work completed thus far this year.
VII. ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION:
A. Restoration Project Draft (10 min)
1. Commission decided that the Winburn objectives and prescription discussion
would be added as an appendix to the City Forest Lands Restoration Project Phase II.
2. Review of the Geologic Stability Report – Woodley and Main needed comments from the commission regarding the report to continue with the bidding process. Commission discussed the report’s recommendation that “a significant opening created by removing trees considered ‘dead’ from a silvicultural standpoint – will result in impacts.” Brock wondered how much benefit would be gained by leaving dead trees standing. Main said it was a rain interception issue. Woodley thought that, in general, hired consultants are conservative in their recommendations. Eggers wondered if standing dead trees provide litter. She asked if falling trees would disturb slope stability. Betlejewski suggested taking a step back and look at the goal of the restoration project. The groundwork will always cause a disturbance and, as the City’s forest lands managers, we decide how it will be disturbed. He thought the geology consultants needed to expand the insect mortality section and insert comparisons of geological risk –vs- wildfire risk if dead trees presently marked were not removed. Betlejewski noted that the consultants were asked twice for this data.
Woodley thought the recommendation of tree felling (along contours) was doable. Brock didn’t agree with the recommendation against grass seeding. Betlejewski thought that the recommended tree revegetation would increase unwanted ladder fuels.
(Commission voted to extend the meeting 20 minutes.)
Other findings Woodley had concerns about included the sentence on page 6: “It is advisable to only remove trees outside of the highest hazard zone and to try and avoid the slopes in excess of 70% in slope within approximately 100 feet of the drainage.” He asked Smeenk if the recommended buffer for the water pipeline that will be relocated next year was still applicable. Smeenk said the pipeline would be maintained for emergencies. He added that the waterline project would begin after the restoration project begun.
Main commented on the high mortality rate at Barranca. He wondered if the dead trees should be removed. Brock thought the potential geological hazards could be mitigated by slash, fallen trees. Main commented that Water Treatment Plant personnel would like the dead trees in Unit S removed for hazard reasons.
Kerwin agreed that the report is conservative. He thought Main should use the information along with his best judgement. Perhaps Main could visit the site with Hicks and Sitton to discover possible options. Betlejewski wondered how the report related to other types of disturbances.
3. Brock suggested a subcommittee be formed to research the monitoring of large trees marked for removal. Brock and Betlejewski volunteered.
V. OTHER BUSINESS – None.
VI. REVIEW AND SET COMMISSION CALENDAR / NEXT MEETING
A. Next regular meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, December 10, 2003.
VII. MEETING ADJOURNED AT 6:22 PM