Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, April 19, 2010


Monday, April 19, 2010

Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way


Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.


Councilor Lemhouse, Voisin, Navickas, Jackson, Chapman and Silbiger were present.   


1.     Look Ahead Review

City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the items on the Council Look Ahead.


2.   Does Council wish to direct staff to prepare written comments on the Mt. Ashland Ski Area Expansion Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement?

Ethan Rosenthal an Environmental Planner for David Evans and Associates provided a presentation on the Mt. Ashland Ski Area Expansion review of the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) in relation to Reeder Reservoir Sediment TMDL:  

NEPA Timeline

•          1998  Mt. Ashland Association proposes expansion

•          2000  Draft EIS circulated, generates considerable public comment

•          2003  Second Draft EIS circulated with added project alternatives

•          2004  Final EIS and Record of Decision issued by Forest Service

•          2005  Legal action ensues

•          2007  Court of Appeals upholds Forest Service on several counts, but failed to properly evaluate several issues (next slide)

•          2007  Oregon DEQ Issues Bear Creek Watershed TMDL, including Reeder Reservoir Sediment TMDL

•          2009 Forest Service circulates Draft Supplemental EIS (DSEIS) to address issues identified by Court of Appeals


Mr. Rosenthal explained the focus was on the Record of Decision (ROD) instead of the 1991 Mt. Ashland Ski Lodge Master Plan because it was currently out for public review.


Issues Identified by Court of Appeals and Included in DSEIS

•          Pacific Fisher –NFMA Claim

o        Non compliance with requirements of Rogue River LRMP, does not include a compliant Biological Evaluation

•          Restricted Riparian and Restricted Watershed Terrain - NFMA Claims

o        Failure to designate Restricted Riparian (Management Strategy [MS] 26) and Restricted Watershed (MS 22) terrain

o        Failure to evaluate soils standards and guidelines for MS 26 and MS 22

•          Riparian Reserves - NFMA Claim

o        Failure to designate Landslide Hazard Zone 2 (LHZ 2) as Riparian Reserve

•          Restricted Watershed Terrain - NFMA Claim

o        No Forest Plan Amendment to Exclude Restricted Watershed (MS 22) from Special Use Permit (SUP) Area

Restricted Riparian and Restricted Watershed Terrain - NFMA Claims

•          Failure to designate Restricted Riparian (Management Strategy [MS] 26) and Restricted Watershed (MS 22) terrain

•          Failure to evaluate soils standards and guidelines for MS 26 and MS 22


DSEIS Response Highlights

•          All perennial streams and wetlands, including 100 foot buffer, were incorporated into Restricted Riparian (MS 26) (48.8 acres)

•          27.9 acres of MS 26 subject to soil standards, but only 0.83 acres of impact would occur.

•          Restricted Watershed (MS 22) designation applied to portions of the SUP within Ashland Municipal Watershed (approximately 796 acres).

•          For MS 22 mineral soil exposure standard is up to 30%, proposed expansion would result in an estimated 16.5%


Staff further explained the mineral soil exposure standard of up to 30% required exposure not to exceed the following limits overall, based on the erosion hazard rating of the soil:

  • 40% mineral soil exposed on soils that are classed as very slight, slight, low or moderate.
  • 30% exposure on high or severe erosion hazard soils.
  • 15% exposure on very high or very severe erosion hazard soils.


Riparian Reserves - NFMA Claim

•          Failure to designate Landslide Hazard Zone 2 (LHZ 2) as Riparian Reserve

DSEIS Response Highlights

•          LHZ 2 was mapped and described in FEIS, but not designated as Riparian Reserve

•          DSEIS incorporated these areas into Riparian Reserve areas, resulting in:

o        10.08 acre increase in clearing areas

o        0.56 acre increase in grading areas

•          Clearing to occur in areas not associated with streams or wetlands

•          Grading  would occur high on slope, primarily in open dry areas not associated with streams or wetlands


Mr. Rosenthal confirmed there was an overall 1.6% increase in riparian reserve affected and clarified clearing activities were not associated with streams and wetlands specifically regarding LHZ 2 areas.  Grading would occur high on the slope.


Restricted Watershed Terrain - NFMA Claim

•          No Forest Plan Amendment to Exclude Restricted Watershed (MS 22) from Special Use Permit (SUP) Area

DSEIS Response Highlights

•          Court of Appeals found that Forest Service violated the NFMA by failing to ensure expansion will comply with Rogue River LRMP standards and guidelines

•          Through the DSEIS Forest Service acknowledges that MS 22 is not excluded from SUP areas

•          Forest Service address the standards and guidelines as applicable in the DSEIS

Issues Identified by Court of Appeals and Included in DSEIS - Summary Conclusion

•          DSEIS only addresses issues of 2004 ROD identified by Court of Appeals  as deficient

•          DSEIS appears to adequately address these  issues

•          Changes are to management unit designations

•          No change to proposed actions described in 2004 ROD

DSEIS and Reeder Reservoir Sediment TMDL Connection

•          TMDL sets strict sediment loading capacity, no significant increased delivery to reservoir over that which would occur naturally.

•          TMDL developed with full acknowledgement of MASA expansion project

•          TMDL utilizes sediment modeling results from the MASA expansion FEIS

•          DSEIS only resulted in change to management unit designation, not project design; therefore, no need for revised sediment modeling

•          Sediment modeling incorporated aspects of soils, slope, land cover, etc., but did not rely on management units; therefore, again no need for revised modeling


The Forest Service based the modeling on the actual geography of the location not the map designation. 


•          TMDL notes need for NPDES 1200-C permit (erosion control permit) prior to MASA construction

•          TMDL and WQMP acknowledge proposed design features, mitigation measures , and monitoring to control erosion and likelihood of no long-term increase in sediment input


•          DSEIS adequately addressed issues identified by Court of Appeals

•          No changes to proposed project resulted (just management unit designations)

•          Therefore, likely no need to comment on specifics of DSEIS

•          However, open comment period provides opportunity for City concerns to be included in the public record

Comment Recommendations

To foster good communications and successful project implementation:

•          Establish coordination committee between Forest Service, City, and Mt. Ashland Assoc. to discuss project on an on-going basis (e.g. monthly during pre- and post-construction periods, and weekly during construction)

•          City should have opportunity to review and comment on project design plans (e.g. storm water system design, erosion control plans, grading and clearing plans, etc.)

•          City should have opportunity to visit project area during and post-construction


Staff explained the Forest Service declined to address global climate change because there was not sufficient new data specific to Mt. Ashland Ski Lodge to warrant analysis.


Seek clarification of statements in 2004 ROD that MAA required to post bond to restore SUP area in event of bankruptcy

•          How will original required $200,000 bond amount be increased “proportionally” due to expansion?

•          How will original required bond amount be increased to meet current day or future projected costs?

•          The City requests bond to be posted prior to Forest Service authorization of expansion project


Council and staff discussed options to track the process for compliance included coordinating with Mt. Ashland Association and making use of open comment periods.  Council debated whether to add language referencing Mt Ashland Association’s economic assessment from 2004 and ask the Forest Service if the required $200,000 for restoration was sufficient at this time.


Council directed staff to remove the first paragraph on page 6 of the Memorandum Draft Letter from Evans and Associates to the City regarding the draft letter: “Based on the City’s DEIS we believe that the Forest Service has addressed and rectified the issues addressed by the Court of Appeals noted above, incorporating the new areas into their proper management units.  The City understands that the analysis work did not result in modifications to the proposed project described in the FEIS, as it was determined that proposed actions still fell within the management restrictions of the various management units.  Generally speaking, between the FEIS, DSEIS, and supporting documentation, it appears that considerable effort has gone into analyzing and documenting potential impacts to watershed resources and outlining the methods with which to address them, particularly at a planning level of design.”


Mayor Stromberg left the meeting at 6:34 p.m.


Council noted the potential impact TMDL sedimentation standards could have on the expansion, the need to protect the watershed and the willingness of Forest Service to work with the City without officially going on the record.


BG Hicks/190 Vista Street/Noted the list from the consultants was powerful but without the City’s own inspection team of specialists there was no way of knowing what was happening.  Additionally, everyone’s lives have been affected by the economy and it was unrealistic to think those changes did not extend to the project. 


Council will forward specific language and additional questions to staff.


Meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.



Respectfully submitted,                                   

Dana Smith

Assistant to the City Recorder



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