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Agendas and Minutes

Forest Lands Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

October 13, 2004 - 4:30 PM
Community Development, 51 Winburn Way

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

I. CALL TO ORDER: Chair Jensen called the meeting to order at 4:30 PM in the Siskiyou Room.
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Robertson/White m/s the minutes of September 8, 2004 as submitted. Motion passed unanimously. Robertson/White m/s the minutes of September 15, 2004 as amended. Motion passed unanimously. Robertson/Betlejewski m/s the minutes of September 8, 2004 as submitted. Motion passed unanimously.
Tree Commission Liaison, January Jennings informed the commission she was resigning as Forest Commission liaison. She was impressed by the meeting format and was grateful for the commission's level of expertise. The Tree Commission named no replacement as yet.
A. Community Wildfire Protection Plan Review - Commissioners and community members commented on the end of the six-month process. Jensen was skeptical and impressed that such an enormous amount of work could be accomplished. White found the process brutal, intense, and rewarding and an overall great experience. She commended Main on his leadership. Brock was not able to participate as much as he wanted to. He thanked Main and Darren Borgias and noted that the document as just the beginning. Betlejewski needed more of a focus on "process" to handle last minute comments. He appreciated the work of Chambers and Jay Lininger and the ability of the group to find common ground. Chambers agreed that more initial discussions regarding process would have helped. Heiner agreed with Chambers. Now that the core stakeholders were identified, they needed to be sought out. Darren Borgias saw a lot of value in the AFRCA. His question was how will AFRCA be interpreted and then implemented by the Forest Service. Eggers had difficulty keeping up with at the amount of email communication toward the end of the process. She was glad the document stated the desire of the community to stay involved. Robertson had process concerns and was disappointed that emails from the Tech Group did not go to everyone. He said communication was critical for future work. Marty Main enjoyed working with the Tech Team. He noted the process was large enough to encompass all the last minute comments. With four months and volunteer labor the finished product was impressive.

Jensen said the stakeholders learned to talk to one another. He encouraged all stakeholders to submit written comments on the CWPP process. Lininger thought in the future complicated issues such as large trees should be discussed earlier in the process. Brock reiterated that he abstained from voting because of a potential conflict of interest. His business included contracting for plant association group surveys.

A. Next steps CWPP / USFS Process - Chuck Anderson, Forest Service, was impressed by the work of the diverse group of stakeholders. He reported that the Forest Service had a tentative January 1st deadline for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Forest Service's options included taking no action on the project or recommending a combination of the Forest Service and CWPP proposals. During early to mid November the Forest Service would be asking for clarification on Chapter 8 to begin National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis and running models. His preference was to analyze both alternatives separately in the Draft EIS. He asked for a point of contact within the commission for a quick response time for answers to their questions.

After the Draft EIS was published there would be a public comment period. The Forest Service would then make changes and develop, in conjunction with the City, an implementation and monitoring plan. The goal was to publish the final EIS in March.

Navickas noted that no independent team was allowed on the Ski Ashland Expansion. He reported that Linda Duffy said the Forest Service would not look at the CWPP as it was too similar to their own proposal.

Lininger asked Anderson how the Ashland Forest Resiliency (AFR) project would fit in with the Ashland Watershed Protection Plan (AWPP). Anderson questioned whether the AWPP would be completed before AFN began.

MOTION: Robertson/Brock m/s to appoint Main as the liaison with the Forest Service regarding the AFRCA.

DISCUSSION: Chambers noted that the City might have budget concerns regarding Main. Main was concerned about being the only spokesperson to interpret AFRCA. He wanted time to think about it. Jensen said he would meet with Keith Woodley, Gino Grimaldi, Alan DeBoer and Lee Tuneberg to address funding concerns.

AMENDED MOTION: Robertson amended the motion to include the contingency of Main's decision and funding. Brock seconded the amended motion.

VOTE: The motion passed unanimously

B. CWPP and the Community Process - Jensen volunteered to work with City staff to set up a listserv and /or website to document email communications.

Main asked about the status of the Tech Team and the current role of the commission in this most recent task.

Jensen opened the discussion to the public.

A. CWPP and the Community Process - Navickas agreed with a comment he had heard that the local environmental community was weak. AFRCA was too similar to the Forest Service and resulted in collaboration with HFRA. He said the Tech Team showed a lack of willingness to hear diverse opinions. Brock took exception and noted the document dealt with the issues Navickas commented on including: treatment within roadless area, big trees, the use of prescribed fire, and the lack of completion of the AWPP.

Heiner was concerned that the answers provided by the Tech Team would represent the City. He saw the need for checks and balances. He suggested Main's answers be filtered through the commission. Eggers thought Tech Team members should also be included. The commission agreed that the Tech Team would most likely need to transform into a reconstituted advisory subcommittee so as not to "grandfather" in any expectation of standing of the old Tech Team in the new NEPA process. Main stressed the need for "quick turnaround" in dealing with the USFS due to their deadlines. Jensen observed that a streamlined format would be essential and the old Tech Team processes were too cumbersome.

Main said the Tech Team advised the commission who then advises the City Council. He wondered if the commission could speak for the City? Chambers thought the City Council could pass a resolution if needed.

Robertson expressed a need for a special meeting to continue the discussions of how the process with the Forest Service would work. Commission agreed and set October 27, 2004 at 4:30 PM.

The Winburn Hike is scheduled for Saturday, October 23 at 9:00 AM. The next regularly scheduled meeting is Wednesday, November 10, 2004.

Stephen Jensen, Chair

Respectfully Submitted,
Nancy Slocum, Clerk

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