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Agendas and Minutes

Forest Lands Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

September 8, 2004 - 4:30 PM
Community Development, 51 Winburn Way

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, Keith Woodley
Non-Voting Members Present: Marty Main

I. CALL TO ORDER: Chair Jensen called the meeting to order at 4:35 PM in the Siskiyou Room.

II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Robertson/Eggers m/s the minutes of August 11, 2004 as submitted. Motion passed unanimously.

Eric Navickas noted the late 1970's city policy against logging in the watershed. He asked this be noted in the Community Wildfre Protection Plan (CWPP). He voiced his opposition against fuel breaks and logging in the roadless area. He was concerned that a small minority was drafting the Ashland Forest Resiliency Community Alternative (AFRCA) and there was a lack of disclosure.

A. Administrative issues - Woodley reported no new business.
B. Lower Watershed, Winburn Update - Woodley reported for Main that all efforts were focused on the CWPP, therefore no new business.

A. Wildland Urban Interface Discussion
- Chambers talked to Ashland District Ranger Linda Duffy about the funding ramifications of a zoned approach to WUI. Her written comment was included in the packet.

Jensen opened the public hearing / commission discussion. Eggers said the community and Forest Commission had numerous values to protect and saw the WUI as a federal regulation that could be used as a strategic tool. She needed more information about the WUI's ramifications from the Forest Service. Betlejewski agreed. Howard Heiner believed Duffy's memo justified expanding the common definition to include the entire watershed. He noted the Technical Group recommended a three-zoned approach. Navickas thought expanding the WUI would result in a loosening of environmental controls. Joseph Vaile wondered about the advantage to expanding WUI to include the entire watershed. Heiner thought it set up all watershed level values as equal, not tiered. Vaile argued it "watered down" the definition (eg. roadless area) and set a poor precedence. Chambers thought the boundary represented a philosophical difference regarding the use of prescribed natural fires. Eggers assumed the typical definition of WUI was used to protect homes and the area outside of the WUI protected all other values.

Main noted there was no Forest Service land within ½ mile of the urban area. He believed he had not received enough information from the Forest Service to make a decision. Eggers thought a definition was necessary to meet HFRA regulations. Paul Galloway, US Forest Service, noted that the CWPP is a fluid document and the WUI definition is not cast in concrete.

Eggers recommended a "tight" WUI definition with a caveat mentioning concerns with the lack of information and the right to change the definition at a later date. Brock agreed with Eggers and noted that the dryer plant associations are closest to city limits. He thought whatever the definition, it was not overly relevant. White also believed that the definition would not matter in the long run so recommended choosing the entire watershed.

City Councilor Cate Hartzell believed the land within the WUI carried fire suppression as the primary value and was subject to less analysis by the Forest Service.

Heiner would remove his recommendation in favor of Eggers. He asked for a 1½ mile WUI definition with a rider as described by Eggers.

MOTION: Robertson moved to define the WUI as all the land to the first ridgetop including Clayton Creek drainage southwest of City limits and the block west of Ashland Creek up to Reeder Reservoir. The motion incorporated a caveat that if that definition didn't serve community values it could be changed. White seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

A. Technical Group Update - Main reported that the group was finished with GIS maps. The prescriptions where written according to Plant Association Groups (PAGs) and would be finished soon. The group was attempting to incorporate most of the last minute comments and noted a draft document would be completed by the September 16th deadline for City Council packets. Most of the prescription work would have to be done at the implementation phase. He noted that solutions weren't simple and the maps submitted with the CWPP would have to be explained to the Forest Service. He reported that a draft Chapter 8 (AFRCA) would be posted on the city website on September 9th.

B. CWPP Draft Edits and Update - Jensen noted that he and Chambers would conduct the final edits. He noted the need for a special Forest Commission meeting next week to review and vote on the final documents.

Jensen expressed his gratitude for all the hard work of commissioners and volunteers. Congratulations!

A single purpose meeting was scheduled for next Wednesday, September 15th at 5:00 PM. The next regularly scheduled meeting is Wednesday, October 13, 2004.

Stephen Jensen, Chair

Respectfully Submitted,
Nancy Slocum, Clerk

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