Regular Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, July 11, 2001
ASHLAND FOREST LANDS COMMISSION
July 11, 2001 4:30 – 6:00 PM
MEMBERS PRESENT: Fred Binnewies, Richard Brock (Acting Chair), Joe Charter, Jo Anne Eggers, Stephen Jensen, Bill Robertson (Chair), John Morrison (Council Liaison)
Members Absent: Frank Betlejewski (excused)
Staff: Keith Woodley, Karl Johnson, Nancy Slocum
Guests: Marty Main
I. CALL TO ORDER AT 4:31 PM
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: June 13, 2001minutes approved as submitted.
III. ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION:
A. Discussion of Commercial Thinning and Salvage on Forest Lands – Brock lead a discussion on the politically charged term “Commercial Thinning and Salvage.” Commission decided to use the term “stand density reduction” in the future.
Brock presented the commission with a proposed outline for discussion. Suggested items included the purpose and needs, definition, type of decisions to be made and additional information needed. Eggers clarified the philosophy of the commission as envisioning what the forest to look like. Commission agreed with this approach.
Bill asked Main to summarize the Timber Cruise Report included in the packet. Eggers asked how is an “inventory” different from a “timber cruise.” Main said a timber cruise is a management plan for commercial size timber and does not include conditions or vegetation on the land, which is an inventory. He said a timber cruise is an important first step. The methodology for the report utilized systematically spaced plots installed at the rate of approximately one per acre. One-third to one-half of the plots were “measured” plots where recorded data included species, diameter, merchantable height logs, grade and defect. The remaining plots were “count” plots measured to verify species composition and quantity. The report included nine different timber types. Brock felt the commission wouldn’t need a report from a management standpoint. Main thought the report would allow the City to calculate a percentage of timber harvested, an important figure to report to the public. Main explained the tables included in the report.
Brock asked if the commission wants to proceed with the stand density reduction. Eggers would like Main to prioritize the units and then decide. Main replied that all units needed treatment.
Main reviewed preliminary volume estimates for the Winburn parcel and the city owned parcel closer to town. He estimated the 133-acre Winburn parcel included 15-20% timber that could be removed to improve stand health. Two-thirds to ¾ of the timber is 18” in diameter or less. The other parcel contained 325 acres, 15-20% of which could potentially be removed and 90% of which was 18” in diameter or less. In summary, Main estimated there may be enough volume to warrant a sale. He cautioned the commission regarding this data as the criteria he used may be different than what the commission or City Council may use. Some of the factors Main considered included stand health with no slope instability, no trees from riparian areas, no trees were included in an area without enough trees to constitute one full turn for a small helicopter and many areas had no trees counted for a variety of other reasons.
Robertson asked if helicopter removal was the best choice for stand reduction. Main said it was, however, another available option is the “cable logging system” using Forest Service road access on the parcel closer to town. He showed a map that depicted existing helicopter landings where the logs could then be trucked out. He explained that landing sites within one mile of an area are more likely to generate a profit. He added that a helicopter could remove trees without damaging a stand. Woodley added that the cable logging system puts stress on roads loosening dirt that then washes off during the winter. Jensen noted that the volume of logs would produce a great deal of truck traffic on Granite and was concerned about citizens living there.
Eggers and Robertson asked Main if one million board feet were removed by helicopter, would the City generate a profit. Main replied that there were too many variables to make that determination. Eggers asked if the final decision was the City Council’s. Woodley replied yes, there would be a public hearing as well. Brock added the commission would have to explain the criteria used for choosing 18” diameter trees for removal versus the Forest Service 17” criteria.
Main instructed the commission on an available quantitative measure of thinning. He also displayed a map of the watershed showing existing fuel breaks, understory thinning and prescribed burn areas. He noted that most of the treatment has occurred on city owned lands.
Charter asked for commission budget information. Robertson said the commission’s yearly budget is $80,000 per year and rarely does the commission use the entire budget.
Robertson noted the time and asked the commission to continue this discussion in August. Commission agreed and the next meeting was scheduled for August 8th.
B. Preparation for City Council Presentation on July 17th – Woodley noted that the presentation should be brief. Robertson and Jensen will represent the commission and Woodley and Brock will ask GIS Specialist to generate maps.
IV. REPORTS – None due to time limitation.
V. OTHER BUSINESS
A. Eggers noted the Protection from Wildfire Guide distributed by the Fire Department to property owners within the interface zone and that was included in the packet. She asked that English Ivy be removed from the list of fire-resistive plants because it is a nuisance plant and suggested that City Arborist Donn Todt look over any future lists before they are distributed.
B. Main announced he is working on an interface plan to share information with home owners.
VI. ADJOURNED AT 6:05 PM