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Agendas and Minutes

Forest Lands Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

December 10, 2003 4:30 - 6:00 PM

MEMBERS PRESENT: Frank Betlejewski, Richard Brock, Jo Anne Eggers, Stephen Jensen (Chair), Bill Robertson, Diane White
Members Absent: Anthony Kerwin
Staff Present: Chris Chambers, Nancy Slocum, Pieter Smeenk, Keith Woodley
Non Voting Members Present: Chris Hearn, January Jennings, Marty Main
Non Voting Members Absent: Cameron Meeks (Student Liaison)


Chair Steve Jensen introduced Diane White as the newest member of the Forest Commission. White works for the Umpqua National Forest and Siskiyou National Forest as an Associate Ecologist. She has a Ph.D. in forest ecology and has worked with Marty Main evaluating the Upper Bear Creek ecosystem to provide the Forest Service with an ecological basis for planning restoration activities. The commission welcomed her.

III.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES: The November 12, 2003 minutes were unanimously approved with one minor correction and two points of clarification.

IV.  PRESENTATION: John Schuyler, Acting Ashland District Forest Ranger, introduced Chuck Anderson, Planner and Team Leader for the Upper Bear Creek Assessment (for fire management). Schuyler presented the components and strategies of the assessment under NEPA jurisdiction. He noted that the US Forest Service managed 22,286 acres, BLM managed 1,158 acres and 17,689 were "other" managed. The goals of the assessment are to reduce the risk of large scale, high intensity fire and to focus on current conditions that are not in alignment with desired conditions. Desired conditions would be described by plant association groups and based on pre-European settlement. The action plan would compliment the Forest Commission's restoration project and be phased in over a ten-year period. Lastly Schuyler explained the Forest Service's Defensible Fuel Profile Zones (DFPZ). A DFPZ is not a shaded fuel break, but is ¼ to ½ mile in width where less dense canopy closures are maintained and edges are not abrupt. Continued maintenance is integral to effectiveness of DFPZs.

V.  PUBLIC FORUM: Howard Heiner was encouraged by the recent SOU workshop that included ecologist Jerry Franklin. He was frustrated that only 700 acres of forestland within the Ashland Watershed have been treated since 1996. He asked whom do citizens bring their concerns? Heiner suggested that the Forest Commission become the official forum for citizens.


A .  Chief Keith Woodley
1. Report on hazard tree removal project - Woodley provided the commission with a balance sheet for the hazard tree removal project. The project determined a profit of $406.20.

2. Restoration project progress report - The invitation to bid paperwork is complete and currently being reviewed by the City Attorney. The expected close date is January 21st with a May 15th projected job completion date. Main reported that the re-marking would be complete by Christmas. Councilor Hartzel was concerned that dead trees would be left standing simply because they are not marketable. Main answered that this issue would be evaluated after the initial timber removal.

3. Ashland Wildfire Mitigation Project Update - Chris Chambers, Wildfire Fuels Reduction Program Coordinator, reported that 88 acres on 80 properties were treated in the last year, 140 landowners were contacted and the managed fuels mapping was updated. Next year they hope to treat 73 more acres within City limits. Future grant money will help treat land outside City limits from Ashland Creek east to Tolman Creek. Chambers is unsure, yet optimistic about federal funding next year. He also gave information of SB360, which requires that property owners must clear defensible space around structures to avoid liability after a wildfire.

4. Tree planting project - Woodley reported that he ordered 2800 trees from DL Phipps Forest Nursery and 1000 trees from J. Herbert. Plantings to be done by Small Woodlands, Inc.

B.  Marty Main
1. Winburn Progress - Main will supervise the burning of existing slash piles in the next month or two, otherwise, work on this parcel is on hold until the bidding process on the lower parcel is complete.

2. USFS Collaboration - Main was pleased the scientists viewed the watershed. He is anxious to get research started within the watershed. He is looking forward to help from Southern Oregon University.


A.  Follow up on Watershed Certification
- Zach Stevenson, World Wildlife Fund, read the restoration proposal and was impressed. He estimated the it would cost between $3000 and $8000 for complete certification. He encouraged the commission to sign a Forest Manager Application and return it to SmartWood to get an accurate budget estimate and certification proposal. Jensen suggested Stevenson discuss the application at the next meeting.

(Brock/Robertson motioned/seconded to extend the meeting 15 minutes. Motion approved unanimously.)

B.  Nomination and Vote for Vice-Chair - Tabled.

C.  Restoration Project Proposal - Tabled.

1. Subcommittee Report on Monitoring Large Tree Removal - Tabled.

2. Objectives for Winburn Parcel - Tabled.

D. Schedule Winburn Parcel Field Trips - Tabled

Gino Grimaldi, City Administrator, requested that each commission recommend up to three City Council goals for 2004 by December 22nd. Robertson and Brock suggested one goal be to have the City evaluate a method to allow for active and ongoing collaboration between the Forest Service and citizens of Ashland. In keeping with Heiner's suggestion, they recommended it be the Forest Commission. The commission would be a forum for citizens to discuss forest issues. The commission volunteered to fine-tune the Forest Commission's charter.

Brock suggested that the City Council develop and fund a noxious weed master plan that included a list of problem weeds.

The commission agreed to submit these two goals. Jensen and Slocum would work on the wording for the memo to Council.

Robertson suggested that the commission come up with their own goals for 2004. The commission agreed. Jensen will place the item on January's agenda.


A.  Next regularly scheduled meeting: Wednesday, January 14, 2004


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