MINUTES FOR THE ASHLAND CONSERVATION COMMISSION
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
1. Call to Order
Chair Marni Koopman called the meeting to order at 6:04 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Commissioners Mark Weir, Thomas Beam, Risa Buck, Jim McGinnis, Jim Hartman, Roxane Beigel-Coryell, and Brian Sohl were present. Councilor Rich Rosenthal was present. Commissioner Shel Silverberg was absent.
Salmon Fest will occur on October 4. Buck encourages youth participant in “Slam for Salmon” event.
3. Public Forum
Christina LeFever from the Rogue Valley Pollinator Project came to the group to request support for their upcoming request to Council to make Ashland a Bee City, USA. Talent recently became the 2nd Bee City and they have also been working on getting Rogue River and Jacksonville to join. Explained that Bee City, USA projects and support are not just for bees, but are for all pollinators.
Laura Ferguson teaches bee-keeping and would also like the Commission to offer their support for the Bee City, USA request. She spoke about the various pollinators and how they work within, particularly, our food production system. She would like the Commission to provide up to $1,000 in financial support for their projects.
Kat Gould gave an update on recent projects at Helman School. She has started the process for idle-free zones but would encourage the commissioners to attend School Board meetings to see if they can make additional progress in their own schools. Is working with the Chamber of Commerce to create one single notice regarding after-school programs, rather than have each group individually send out notices to all students. Reminded the group to continue to encourage the Council to proceed with fossil-fuel divestment.
Camilla Thorndike and Natalie Mitchell spoke about an upcoming state-wide campaign for carbon pricing. They are working to change the policy of under-priced fossil-fuels. They believe that this effort will succeed where others have failed because it is revenue-neutral. They estimate $900 will go back to each citizen to off-set the rise in prices on all fossil fuels.
The Group had a discussion for clarification with each of the presenters and asked that discussions about Bee City USA and the Carbon Tax be placed on the next agenda. McGinnis recommended that info, particularly for the carbon tax, go to the sustainability sub-committee so they can make a recommendation to the group for the next meeting.
4. Reports/ Presentations/ Updates
Council Update – Rosenthal thanked Beigel-Coryell and McGinnis for their presentation at the last Council Study Session. Thought it was well-done, even though Council had questions about the use of the STAR framework. Thought it was positive that Council recognized the need for more Conservation staff.
Rosenthal will be out of town for the next Commission meeting. The group agreed that he should extend an invitation to Councilor Morris to sit in on the commission in his place.
City Conservation & Operations – Hanks stated water levels in the reservoir are in good shape after the rain and continued citizen conservation. Conservation staff found an opportunity to partner with Public Works on the upcoming N. Mountain street project. They will be removing the grass in the median and replacing with low-water plantings. Additionally, the Mountain Meadows area is working with the City to remove some of their grass areas to reduce water usage. North Mountain Nature Center will be installing an artificial turf demo project in an area not typically successful at growing grass. Will be good place for educational signage. Hanks is working with the new Park’s Director on including Parks in the upcoming city facilities water audit. Lastly, Julie Smitherman is working with a group who is doing some information sessions regarding lower water use grass seeds. They will be working with the School District next year to test some of the new seeds.
BYOB project – Hanks and Buck would like the sub-committee to meet to discuss the next steps in getting the word out, as the deadline fast approaches. The sub-committee decided to meet on September 29th at 4:00 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Ashland School District – Hartman gave update on progress of the roof project. Stated there has been interest from other groups due to low-watering. He is working with Brent Thompson to improve things at the football field, including needing more recycling containers and adding announcements as part of the game. The group thanked him for writing the composting article which will be in an upcoming Sneak Preview.
Ad-hoc Recycle Center Committee – Beam and Beigel-Coryell gave update on the recommendation which will be presented to Council. Group discussed financing, and that charges will require further discussion. The committee feels good about the end result of their work.
Weir/Beam m/s to endorse the memo, with the noted changes, going to Council. Discussion: group discussed the minor differences between the memo in the packet and the version going to Council. Voice Vote: All Ayes. Motion passes.
Sustainability Sub-Committee (Council study session re-cap) – The group discussed the parts of the meeting which left them confused and how they will use the opportunities in the Climate & Energy section of the STARR Framework to take away the fear or lack of understanding. The group was very pleased that Council clearly acknowledged the need for additional staff.
Group discussed whether the Sustainability Sub-Committee should be re-named the Climate and Energy Sub-Committee to align more with what Council asked of them.
Beam/Weir m/s to rename the Sustainability Sub-Committee to the Climate and Energy Sub-Committee. No discussion. Voice Vote: All Ayes. Motion Passes.
Group discussed whether the subcommittee needed a change in membership now that the focus had changed. Agreed it was unnecessary. The group discussed the next steps, which includes a response from the commission to Council to get as much clarification as they can. The sub-committee will work on that at their next meeting.
Leaf Bag Program & Compost Classes – Buck thanked the group for leading the compost classes. She requested that on the January commission agenda there be time for the group to determine the schedule for next year. She also thanked the group for helping with their work in the Leaf-Bag Program.
5. Old Business
Commission Goals – Group discussed some of the minor work changes needed. They will discuss further assignments and timelines for the goals at the next commission meeting.
Sneak Preview Column – Hartman informed the group it will likely be called, “Conservation Corner.” Due to deadlines and the need for both the commission and the city to give approval to articles before they are submitted, the committee needs to be working at least two months out from publication. They determined the following topics:
- November edition (due Oct 23) - BYOB, author to be determined at the sub-committee meeting.
- December edition (due Nov 23) - Holiday Wrapping, written by Beam
- January edition (due late Dec) – Waste Prevention Resolutions, written by Buck
The article authors will bring their articles to the meeting one month before the due date for the group and the City to give a thumbs up or make required changes. The group is to send topic ideas and possible months for publication to Hanks, who will start a “master calendar” to be further discussed at the October meeting.
Weir/Beam m/s to accept Hartman’s article as-written. No discussion. Voice Vote: All Ayes. Motion Passes.
6. New Business
Cigarette Butt Collection – The city has a plan to purchase and install (attach to light poles) collectors with “sponsored by” or “cleaned up by” which ever business takes on that particular collector (typically the bar or restaurant nearest).
Weir/ Beigel-Coryell m/s to move forward with this project. No discussion. Voice Vote: All Ayes. Motion Passes.
Meeting adjourned at 8:02 p.m.