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Agendas and Minutes

Forest Lands Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

July 26, 2005 - 4:30 PM
Community Development, 51 Winburn Way

MEMBERS PRESENT: Frank Betlejewski, Jo Anne Eggers (Vice Chair), Joseph Vaile, Diane White
Members Absent: Richard Brock (Chair), Anthony Kerwin
Staff Present: Chris Chambers, Nancy Slocum, Keith Woodley
Non-Voting Members Present: Cate Hartzell, Marty Main

I. CALL TO ORDER: Vice Chair Eggers called the meeting to order at 5:12 PM in the Siskiyou Room. She expressed appreciation to those on the Ashland Forest Resiliency Community Alternative Team for their hard work on the DEIS response.
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Vaile/White m/s to approve the minutes as submitted. Motion passed unanimously.
III. PUBLIC FORUM: Eric Navickas, 711 Faith, was disappointed in the content of the draft DEIS response. History dictated no logging, no large diameter tree cutting, no roadless logging. He thought the environmental community was "buying in" to a project detrimental to the City of Ashland. He said many "kids" would be arrested in protest of this project.
A. Review and Vote on Response to the DEIS for Recommendation to the City Council - Eggers invited facilitator Joan Resnick to assist in leading the meeting. Resnick identified the remaining issues: 1) Structural and Successional States in regards to reference conditions; and 2) discussion of the need for an updated Memorandum of Understanding.
Vaile was concerned about late successional owl habitat. According to the DEIS, 3,495 acres of suitable spotted owl habitat would be "degraded." Borgias said there had been no agreement as to the explicit target of reference conditions. He wondered how the Forest Service arrived at the number of acres. Borgias said the Community Alternative recommended treatment in heavy pine forests, south and west facing slopes and areas in the upper 2/3. Betlejewski reiterated the need for ground truthing. Main said that to him the term "degrading" meant that 60% canopy although degraded was still suitable as spotted owl habitat. There was a necessary trade off in values in order to reduce the potential for a large scale fire. The result, Main thought, was long-term viability for owls. Cindy Deacon-Williams noted a previous AFRCAT discussion on when to treat owl activity centers - she remembered that the only actions permitted would be those to improve and restore activity centers. She noted that either the analysis was incorrect or the Forest Service misunderstood the alternative. Betlejewski supported Kerwin's position, but thought it helpful to double check the data. Deacon-Williams noted that it was not our intent to degrade 4,000 acres of owl habitat.

The commission agreed that the DEIS response should include wording asking the Forest Service to recheck the data and, if it still involves approximately 4,000 acres, then ask them to revisit the prescription and continue discussions with AFRCAT. Borgias volunteered to rework the section on Structural and Successional States. It was agreed that if there was a contradiction within different subjects within the section, then this present discussion would take precedence.

Betlejewski noted that reference conditions have limited value as they are a "snapshot" in time. Deacon-Williams said the DEIS used broad statements without using reference conditions. Betlejewski noted that the shift to desired future conditions is a function of plant community, site productivity and fire disturbance regimes. Borgais asked when, where and how will we develop goals for desired future conditions.

Hartzell asked about the goals of the MOU. She had some suggestions on what it would entail. She and Main agreed that the draft response was weak on social values and community capacity. Hartzell volunteered to add language in the cover letter regarding Ashland's social values and what might be important to include in an updated MOU. Commission agreed.

Betlejewski /White m/s to approve the current draft with the edits talked about in today's AFRCAT and commission meetings with additional review possible until 8:00 AM Monday, August 1st. A special meeting would be called if there were remaining issues to resolve.

Discussion: Vaile voiced his concern in voting without seeing specific edits - especially regarding late successional habitat. Hartzell suggested that the City Council might allow edits after their endorsement in the spirit of community collaboration. She suggested listing the unresolved issues during the presentation to Council.

Vote: The motion passed unanimously.

Slocum asked about the format of the signature page. Commission agreed to utilize the same format as in the scoping comments letter. The response would be signed by the commission chair with a list of AFRCAT "partners."

A. Next regularly scheduled meeting: Wednesday, August 10, 2005.

Richard Brock, Chair
Nancy Slocum, Clerk

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