Regular Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, December 13, 2000
ASHLAND FOREST LANDS COMMISSION
DECEMBER 13, 2000, 5:30 – 7:00 PM
MEMBERS PRESENT: Frank Betlejwski, Fred Binnewies, Richard Brock, Joe Charter, Jo Anne Eggers, John Morrison, Bill Robertson (Chair),
Members Absent: David Fine (Council Liaison)
Staff: Keith Woodley, Karl Johnson, Nancy Slocum
Guests: Marty Main, Small Woodland Services; Doug Wong, Parks Department; Tyler Brandenburg, REALCorp, Charlie Booth
I. CALL TO ORDER AT 5:35 PM
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: November 8, 2000 minutes approved with one minor clarification.
III. ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION:
A. Discussion of Treatment on West Side of Ashland Canyon – Woodley reported that he and Bill Hicks would be looking at the west side slope. The plan is to clear brush and plant conifers at the mouth of the canyon where the 1959 fire ran next to Ashland Creek Drive. Main stated he would work on the gentler slopes and do some precommercial thinning. He explained that different types of stands need different treatments. Betlejewski asked about the areas with hardwoods (mostly Madrone) and brush. Main explained treatment would include planting conifers in small openings, thinning hardwoods and controls. Water management focus changes the perspective on treatment of vegetation. Small Woodlands Services will treat 1-5% of the area in small patches.
Main explained that Area “H” (the narrow portion of the canyon) is the best location for a fuel break. The lower parts of that area are the first priority as the upper areas are especially steep. Eggers wondered when the priority changed from fuel breaks to area wide clearing strategy. Main explained the clearing strategy is another type of risk management. Fuel breaks work if the conditions are right.
Brock wondered if the commission was working towards a decision. Robertson replied that the discussion was informational only.
B. Discussion of Property Timber Sales Preparation – Robertson reviewed Main’s request from the November meeting. Brock said there has been an ongoing discussion about helicopter removal of moderate size trees. The question seemed to be when and how. Eggers felt she needed more information. Morrison wondered what factors would lead the commission to decide to cut trees. He acknowledged that the decision could fluctuate from area to area. Brock listed several potential factors including: stand density, tree health, topography, type of tree, fish and wildlife and water quality. Would need a stand by stand evaluation. He explained that presently we take the small, less controversial trees and brush. Brock saw a need for thorough documentation of the planning process. Morrison agreed stating that one of the commission’s goals is stewardship of the watershed. Robertson suggested Main could mark trees for commercial sale and the commission could look at a sampling of those trees. He felt the question was: “If we have sellable trees, do we sell them?” We have sold trees in the past, however for this sale, extraction would be different.
Eggers asked when we would make the decision. Brock wants to identify the units and the applicable treatments, make an analysis of wildlife snags and down debris, and then decide what to do. Robertson asked the commission if they want to begin the process of defining the units, writing the prescriptions, suggestions, etc. He acknowledged it would take more than one decision during the process. Betlejewski said many publications already exist with applicable statistical analysis. Brock wants to see as much as possible left in the watershed without increasing the fire danger. He suggested fire “modeling.” Morrison liked the idea of deciding the rationale first before removing any trees.
Brock asked if commission should ask Marty to provide a map of potential stands for timber sales by the next meeting. Morrison asked Main if he had enough guidance to begin. Main reminded the commission there has been no discussion of logistics of a helicopter timber sales. He said even if a decision was made on which trees to sell, there may not be an immediate buyer and trees may need to be remarked. Robertson counts on Main’s guidance. He personally didn’t need every tree marked. Main said stand density reductions have bought us “ecological” time. The Winburn parcel is different that the rest of the city’s ownership. Half of the trees that may be marked for removal are on Winburn (in the late successional reserve). This may change logistics of helicopter removal.
Brock reiterated that step one is to identify the areas. Concurrently a need a strategy for choosing snags and trees. Main said he had existing info on the Winburn parcel. He asked if we need to coordinate with the Forest Service. We can afford to wait on the decision as long as there is no drought situation.
C. Reference Condition (Circa 1920) in the Interface Forest – Betlejewski educated the commission on the 1300-acre, 1916-1917 inventory. Knowing the condition of the certain parts of the watershed 80 years ago may effect how the commission chooses to respond to the FEIS. Betlejewski reviewed the article in the packet on Major Plant Series and Site Productivity and the circa 1920 summary. For the Forest Commission recommendation to Council, Betlejewski would like to see the historical young sugar or ponderosa pine planted in the future.
IV. STATUS UPDATES:
A. Forest Lands Contracting – See Items III A and B above.
B. REAL Corps – See following discussion under Other Business.
C. Update on Trail Users Subcommittee – Woodley gave an update on Alice in Wonderland trail. McFarland contacted affected property owners: one absentee owner does not respond, another, a future home builder, would like the trail rerouted away from his property and the last owner doesn’t want the trail on his property at all. The city will broker a realignment of the trail with owner’s cooperation otherwise it will be left up to the property owners.
V. OTHER BUSINESS
A. Brock asked for time to discuss the commission’s role in facilitating operations on private lands in the forest interface zone. He felt we should provide educational resources in the form of a “user’s manual” (technical information) to help property owners design and implement a plan for their land. Brock also suggested that perhaps Main could come up with a prescription recommendation in a menu-type format. He felt that what the property owner did with the information would be voluntary. The city or Forest Service can perhaps provide grants to help owners with funding.
Tyler Brandenburg, REAL Corps, suggested implementation options for different levels of property owner interest. He submitted a written response to the commission regarding community outreach options. Brock said that Applegate’s watershed group put together a user’s manual. He suggested the commission could contract to get something similar for Ashland. He thought the manual would be needed before outreach occurred. Brandenburg was willing to help the commission with sufficient guidance. Commission directed Slocum to get a copy of the Applegate document for the commission packet.
Brock felt the city should not have a role in developing “pilot projects.” Betlejewski agreed, however, thought the commission did have a role in developing the related issues. Brock added the idea of facilitating issues by having the “pieces in place.” The consensus of the commission was that this subject would be a good future agenda item.
VI. INFORMATIONAL ITEMS
VII. REVIEW AND SET COMMISSION CALENDAR / NEXT MEETING
A. Next Meeting: Set for Wednesday, January 10, 2001, 5:30 PM.
VIII. ADJOURN AT 7:05 PM