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Agendas and Minutes

Forest Lands Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

February 11, 2004

MEMBERS PRESENT: 00 Frank Betlejewski, Jo Anne Eggers, Stephen Jensen (Chair), Anthony Kerwin, Bill Robertson, Diane White
Members Absent: Richard Brock
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)

The January 14, 2004 minutes were unanimously approved with two minor corrections.
Eric Navickas commented on Page 541 of the recently published 2003 Upper Bear Creek Assessment. He said the Forest Service was working toward hazard fuel reduction using fuel breaks extending to the base of the ski area. He protested the use of helicopters in roadless areas and the expansion of fuel breaks immediately followed by replanting. He asked the AFLC to speak out against this project.
A. Chief Keith Woodley 
1. Report on RFP process - Woodley reported that six mills quoted timber prices: Boise, DK Johnson, Murphy, Swanson, Timber Products and Glide Timber Products. The Request for Proposal for a helicopter operator yielded two potential operators: Superior and Croman. Although the proposal review is not yet complete, it looks promising and the project will likely pay for itself. The May 15, 2004 completion date is somewhat flexible.

Betlejewski asked if Small Woodlands would treat the remaining slash and Eggers wondered about the cost of removal. Woodley said it would depend upon the amount left after tree removal. He added that both potential helicopter operators would need to negotiate some of the contract language (e.g. power lines, hours of operation, weather). Woodley said that the contract should be awarded within ten days.

B. Marty Main
1. Winburn Progress - Main reported that they have finished pile burning. He gathered data from the 2003 post-treatment plots (post non-commercial small diameter tree thinning). He may end up dividing a couple of units to better reflect the diversity of the unit. Main is ready to begin writing the prescriptions with approval from the commission. Eggers stressed the need for public information and involvement on forest values as is being done by the Ashland Watershed Stewardship Alliance (AWSA).

Woodley spoke with Linda Duffy regarding a possible partnership. Although the Forest Service can't participate in this sale because of timing issues, it may work for Winburn. Howard Heiner had said that there is a lot of grant money available, but by using Jackson County as an umbrella improves everyone's chance for grant monies.

Eggers said that some citizens are concerned that the project will fall under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act and will not allow for adequate public comment. Betlejewski anticipated a public process similar to the Lower Watershed.

Betljewski was asked to report on the final marking guidelines for the Barranca Unit. The subcommittee agreed on two separate guidelines: a conservative mark for over-steepened areas and the standard mark for the other units. Only dead trees could be removed from the over-steepened areas and low vigor understory conifers would be cut. The resulting slash would be treated after the trees were removed.

Eggers asked what the post treatment might look like. Betlejewski said there would be an increased retention of pines and reduced numbers of Douglas fir.

Jackson County has a group forming as an umbrella group to coordinate grant and government funding for local restoration and fuels reduction projects. Invitees would include the City of Ashland, the Forest Service and non-profit organizations

Jensen reviewed the action plan indicating completed items.
A. Restoration Project: Winburn Parcel Objectives
Commissions discussed the Winburn parcel in general terms. Kerwin noted that although Ashland Creek below Winburn contained a lot of wood, he would like to see more wood in the creek for residential fish habitat. Any wood brought in would have to be anchored carefully.

Main commented that wildfire hazard wouldn't necessarily be the driving force as in the lower parcel.

Eggers would like to add a section on forest growth rates and clean up certain definitions.

Jensen suggested forming a working group to draft the objectives. Eggers suggested anyone with ideas or comments should write them down and bring them to the next meeting. She asked if there was an assumption that the City will let no fires burn?

Main suggested describing the differences in both city-owned parcels, past and present, and asked if the commission was ready for him to begin drafting the prescriptions. Eggers thought it premature to do the prescriptions without having the objectives in place. The commission agreed. Eggers invited the commission, staff, and any interested parties to draft objectives for the Winburn parcel. Kerwin volunteered to compile everyone's suggestions.

Woodley noted that because fire season will start soon, there isn't an urgency to complete the Winburn proposal. He saw the schedule as similar to last year's process for the Lower Watershed.

(Kerwin/Robertson motioned/seconded to extend the meeting 10 minutes. Motion approved unanimously.)

B. Schedule Winburn Parcel Field Trips - Tabled.
C. Finalize Commission Goals for 2004
Betlejewski moved to adopt the goals as modified:

1) Complete the restoration plan for the Winburn Parcel and gain approval to proceed with on-the-ground work.

2) Move forward with the restoration work in the Lower Watershed.

3) Continue to work with the City Council to formally designate the Ashland Forest Lands Commission as the forum in which an active and ongoing public participation of the citizens of Ashland in watershed issues would take place. This designation would also identify the AFLC as the liaison between the City of Ashland and the US Forest Service.

4) Adopt and seek funding for an aggressive and comprehensive noxious weed (non-native plant species) program on parkland, forestlands and rights of way. A list of problem weeds particularly, scotch broom, star thistle, ivy, is readily available and the AFLC is prepared to offer up sound professional guidance for such a program.

5) Identify specific ways to coordinate work with the USFS in the Ashland Watershed.

6) Make best use of the AFLC budget to maximize training, community outreach/education and staff development.

White seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

D. Upcoming Staff Training
The date for Commission and Staff training is Friday, April 16th. The training will discuss the role of a commission, ways to increase effectiveness and the public process in general.
Tree Commissioner January Jennings announced that the Tree Commission would have a table at Earth Day at North Mountain Park. It is a great opportunity for public education. She also said that Tree Commissioner Fred Stockwell does aerial photography and could be a future resource for the Forest Commission
A. Next regularly scheduled meeting: Wednesday, April 14, 2004

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