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Agendas and Minutes

Forest Lands Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

July 14, 2004 - 4:30 PM
Community Development, 51 Winburn Way

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

I. CALL TO ORDER: Chair Jensen called the meeting to order at 4:33 PM in the Siskiyou Room.
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: The minutes of the Regular Commission Meeting of June 9, 2004 were approved with one date correction.
III. PUBLIC FORUM: No one spoke.
A. Schedule Winburn Hike - The commission agreed to schedule the public hike as soon as possible after October 1st on a weekend.
B. Grass Seed for Burn Piles - Betlejewski reported that there is a tentative agreement with the Bureau of Land Management. Robertson also suggested organizing volunteers to harvest existing native grass on city-owned land. The commission agreed this was a good idea.
A. Jackson County Title III Grant Results - Woodley reported that the City applied for three grants (Ashland Community Wildfire Response Plan, Implementing Community Forest across an Urban Wildland Interface and Ashland Watershed Wildfire Planning Inventory). Only the planning inventory grant was not funded.
B. CWPP Technical Group - Main reported that due to work and vacation schedules, committee attendance has been sparse. Various attendees included Darren Borgias- Nature Conservatory; Evan Frost- Ecology Consultant; Richard Brock; Tony Kerwin; Frank Betlejewski; Diane White; George Badura- Soils Consultant; Cindy Deacon-Williams- Headwaters; Jay Lininger Graduate Student; Keith Woodley; Chris Chambers and Don Bouchet - Forest Service. Focal points have included getting to know group members, simplifying the Forest Service's dichotomous key, developing geographic and spatial layers of data and examining the reliability of Forest Service data. Main said it was problematic combining the Forest Service data with the City's data.

Main introduced two maps. One illustrated landscape hazards within the Ashland Watershed to be treated and yet to be treated. The second map showed areas on south and west aspects as well as areas with less than 60% slopes.

Commission expressed concern with reference to finishing the alternative by the October 1st deadline. Main said the Healthy Forest Restoration Act requirements and the Forest Service's possible reaction are unclear as this alternative would be the first under this act.

C. CWPP Development Group - Committee attendance has also been meager. The group identified the citizens of Ashland as the beneficiaries of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, not the Forest Service. The group will use Josephine County's plan as a template. The tentative schedule is to finish a draft in four to six weeks, take public comment, incorporate the comments into the final plan due on October 1st. The plan will include a timeline for implementation and funding needs.

Betlejewski thought an important goal of the CWPP was educating the owners of interface land on the possible fire danger from Forest Service land.

Jensen asked if Chambers was satisfied with the level of public representation. Chambers noted that the Development Group's portion of the CWPP would be best served by having a final draft reviewed by the public. He asked the Forest Commission to set a date and time for a public hearing on the CWPP.

Robertson noted that he has difficulty hiring a logging contractor to help treat his private land. He was distressed because the logging contractor's equipment was then vandalized.

A. Public Update and Open Discussion of the CWPP - Eric Navickas, 711 Faith St, answered to Robertson's comment. He stated that actively logging in the interface area has traditionally been frustrating to environmentalists. Navickas thought that additional data was available (eg: tree cutting in the '50s and '60s and helicopter logging) and should be incorporated into the data set. Main noted the difficulty in integrating the Forest Service's data set with the City's. This capability is needed to calculate the number of acres. Betlejewski agreed that such data should be incorporated and volunteered to assist.

Navickas was frustrated that the Forest Service has begun a new project when it hadn't completed their non-commercial logging project.

Tom Rose, journalist for Sierra Club Walker, had no comment, but wanted to learn more about the project.

Lin Bernhardt, Natural Resources Advisor to the Jackson County's Board of Commissioners, administers the Title III grants. She was present at the meeting to observe.

The commission wondered if more staff time was needed. Chief Woodley announced that GIS Specialist Rich Hall was leaving the City and that James Newton would take over GIS work on this project. Woodley said City Administrator Gino Grimaldi would be asking District Forest Ranger Linda Duffy for more GIS staff time.

A. Commission directed staff to set up a public hearing to review the upcoming CWPP draft.
B. Next regular commission meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 11, 2004.

Stephen Jensen, Chair

Respectfully Submitted,
Nancy Slocum, Clerk

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