MINUTES FOR THE MEETING
ASHLAND FOREST LANDS COMMISSION
June 9, 2004 – 4:30 PM
Community Development, 51 Winburn Way
MEMBERS PRESENT: Frank Betlejewski, Richard Brock, Jo Anne Eggers, Stephen
Jensen (Chair), Anthony Kerwin, Diane White, Bill Robertson
Members Absent: None
Staff Present: Chris Chambers, Nancy Slocum, Keith Woodley
Non-Voting Members Present: Chris Hearn, Marty Main
I. CALL TO ORDER: Chair Jensen called the meeting to order at 4:33 PM in the Siskiyou Room.
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: The minutes of the Regular Commission Meeting of May 12, 2004 were approved with one spelling correction.
III. PUBLIC FORUM: No one spoke.
IV. STAFF REPORTS
A. Budget Possibilities for Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) – Woodley explained that he would need an estimate from the Technical Subcommittee before discussing budget possibilities. The yearly Forest Commission budget runs from $60,000 to $80,000. As the City budget for 2004/2005 has been finalized, funds would have to be taken from somewhere else within the budget.
B. Restoration Project Update – Main reported that he is finalizing the slash treatment before fire season begins.
V. ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION:
A. Continued Discussion on the CWPP – Chris Chambers, Forest Grant Worker Coordinator, thought the public might be confused by this agenda item and how it differs from the Public Update Meeting following this meeting. Jensen assured Chambers that the purpose of this agenda item was to touch base with the subcommittee and staff. He explained that the commission would not go into detail nor make any decisions.
Brock wondered how the CWPP, the “Third” Alternative and the urban interface work relate to each other. He thought the definitions of the various landscapes overlap as well as the definition of the Wildfire Urban Interface (WUI).
Main reported that the Technical Subcommittee was currently evaluating existing Forest Service data and is making steady progress. Betlejewski was concerned about the October 1st deadline; each day the data collection window is being squeezed as time must be allocated for data synthesis and write up. Jensen wondered if given this schedule, the project was achievable. Main asked the commission to accept the unknown, but he is confident.
Brock said the subcommittee was still attempting to interpret the scoping comments letter. He wondered about the subcommittee’s charge. He thought it was 1) to describe the area geographically; 2) to narrow to a specific “fuel discontinuity network;” and 3) to focus the inventory in those locations. Main explained that the subcommittee was being asked to look at the extremes of respecting both diversity and fuel reduction simultaneously.
Eggers thought perhaps the writing of the alternative could be squeezed in favor of data collection. Kerwin thought it important not to gather more data than was absolutely needed.
1 PROJECTS PENDING/REQUIRING ACTION – Jensen covered the unfinished items in the 2004 Action Plan. He asked if the commission was ready to schedule a public Winburn site visit. The commission could not agree on a time so tabled this item.
Jensen asked Betlejewski about a quote for grass seed for use in the burn piles on the lower City-owned parcel. Betlejewski reported that grass seed was in short supply and should be ordered as soon as possible, but he needed an estimate of the number of burn piles from Main. He also reported that seed “plugs” were another option and could be purchased at approximately $.50 each. Betlejewski, Brock and Main volunteered to research grass seed. Chambers added that the Title II grant application included a request for grass seed money.
VII. OLD BUSINESS – None
VIII. NEW & MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS –
A. Nomination and Vote for 2004 Chair and Vice Chair –
Robertson nominated Jensen for Chair. Eggers seconded the motion and it passed 6-0 with Jensen abstaining.
Kerwin nominated Robertson for Chair. Brock seconded the motion and it passed 6-0 with Robertson abstaining.
B. Brock asked the commission to consider changing the time the commission meets. He thought more people could attend a 5:30 PM starting time. Discussion followed, but no decision was reached. Commission decided to leave the schedule as is through the summer months.
IX. REVIEW AND SET COMMISSION CALENDAR / NEXT MEETING
Next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 14, 2004.
X. ADJOURN: 5:28 PM
PUBLIC UPDATE MEETING MINUTES
A. CWPP Development Group (Technical Committee)
Main reported that one of the group’s goals was to adequately define the diversity of the watershed. Sources of data vary widely. The group will look at the Forest Service’s satellite imagery next Thursday. Kerwin suggested using a prescription approach similar to the Forest Service’s dichotomous key.
Jensen wondered if the group was representative of the public. Main said subcommittee participants included Evan Frost, George Bandura, Cindy Deacon Williams as well as members of the Forest Commission and Main. Time constraints preclude full representation. Betlejewski suggested that the public give objectives to the Technical Committee. Eggers thought there was a need for a representative group to decide what the watershed should look like when treatment is finished.
Kerwin thought it important to focus on the Resiliency Project’s stated purpose and need: to protect values at risk, fuel hazard reduction and fire resiliency. Main suggested that the City and the Forest Service could have different interpretations of the purpose and need. Betlejewski suggested asking the Forest Service for confirmation of the commission’s interpretation.
Main announced that Don Boucher, Forest Service GIS Specialist, would offer the Technical Committee a one-day workshop to better understand how their data was developed.
Eric Navickas, 711 Faith, asked if an alternative could be proposed that limited treatment to understory burning. He thought the present alternative was in reaction to the Bush administration’s desire to harvest timber. Main said no treatment was precluded in the proposed CWPP. Brock was against underburning in the spring as it kills annuals and encourages Bull Thistle. Also, because the understory is dense, there is a greater risk to bigger trees; pretreatment is often necessary. Fire is unpredictable. Main thought the ultimate goal of any watershed management efforts was to return fire to the watershed. Brock didn’t agree. Navickas asked the commission to submit several alternatives under the CWPP.
Graduate Student Jay Lininger thought that, although fire was messy, it could be targeted and was a valuable tool. He would like to see it added to the CWPP, however, he would hate to see fire suppression as the only goal.
B. CWPP Development Group
Chambers held his first subcommittee meeting Tuesday, June 8th. The goal was to develop a general direction. Participants included Dennis Turco, Oregon Department of Forestry, Lin Bernhardt, Jackson County Disaster Plan, Paul Galloway, Forest Service. Invitees included the community at large, property owners in the interface and community groups. The draft CWPP will be posted on the web under the Fire Department. He will also post his meeting’s progress and include links to other jurisdiction’s plans. Their next meeting will be held Tuesday, June 15th at 4:30 at the fire station. The agenda will include synthesizing existing fire protection plans with the City’s and perhaps discussing a new WUI definition and justification.
Kerwin thought the WUI definition should be expanded. Lininger said the interface area as defined by the Forest Service was 1 ½ miles from City limits and the commission would need to justify a different one.
Public meeting adjourned at 7:22 PM.
Stephen Jensen, Chair
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