Agendas and Minutes

Forest Lands Committee (View All)

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

December 14, 2005 - 4:30 PM
Community Development, 51 Winburn Way

MEMBERS PRESENT: Richard Brock (Chair), Jo Anne Eggers (Vice Chair), Dan Maymar, Joseph Vaile, Diane White
Members Absent: Frank Betlejewski, Anthony Kerwin
Staff Present: Keith Woodley, Nancy Slocum, Marty Main
Non-Voting Members Present: Cate Hartzell

I. CALL TO ORDER: Chair Brock called the meeting to order at 4:32 PM in the Lithia Room.
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Eggers/Maymar m/s to approve the minutes of November 9th as submitted. Motion passed unanimously.
IV. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA - Reviewing Betlejewski's draft revised Memorandum of Understanding with the Forest Service was added to New Business.
A. AFRCAT Update - Woodley announced that the City Council would hold a study session on the AFR project with Linda Duffy on Thursday, January 12th beginning at 5:00 PM and lasting about 90 minutes. The Commission was encouraged to attend to ask questions. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) has received a lot of interest. Questions could be asked ahead of time and addressed in the meeting. Major questions to address include when the public could participate in the process, how the economics (versus financial) would be addressed, and how to open the discussion regarding the blending of the alternatives up to the AFRCATs and other members of the public.

Woodley reported on the November 28th Forest Service meeting. Main and Borgias were also in attendance. No decisions were made and Duffy did not want to give the impression that the specifics of the discussion would be seen as final decisions.

The Forest Service's abiotic model for Northern Spotted Owls is still not available. Some effects of the Community Alternative cannot be determined until the model is studied.

Hartzell understood the reasoning behind sending representatives of the Commission to meet with representatives of the Forest Service during the drafting of AFRCA and corresponding clarification process, but this pre-FEIS stage is different and should be open to a larger community process. She asked the Forest Commission to insist the Forest Service be more transparent. She thought FACA did not apply and court rulings substantiating that. Hartzell thought the City could appoint a subcommittee to "officially" represent the City.

Eggers agreed. Eggers would like to build trust by all parties disclosing all the difficult issues so everyone knows. She wondered what the main points of differences were in the two alternatives. Main noted that the Forest Service embraced the idea of the AFRCA Fuel Discontinuity Network, but also wanted to add the Defensible Fuel Profile Zones.

Vaile thought that the process as it stood now did not make it a true "community" alternative. Eggers thought at this point in the process, that only AFRCATs be included. Others must go forward as individuals.

Hartzell suggested holding an AFRCAT meeting before the City Council study session in order to discuss opening up the process to others. Commission agreed. An AFRCAT meeting was scheduled for either January 5th or January 9th at 6:30 PM. Main would check his schedule and Brock would furnish Slocum with an agenda.

Monitoring Subcommittee Update - Brock, White and Vaile made up the subcommittee. Brock reported that the group met and decided that the best way to approach a monitoring plan was to decide what we want to know and why, then how, then who. What we want to know is the amount of sediment production, seasonal water quantity (late summer) and sources, potential fire behavior, spotted owls and other late successional forest associated species of animals and plants, retention of large trees, rare plant species, non-native invasive plant species and laminated root rot. George Badura thought a measure of effective ground cover should be added to the list. Vaile noted that the group also discussed how much plot data to collect, that noxious weeds were a problem, and that there is a need for two monitoring plans: one for the lower watershed and one for Winburn. Diane noted that a timetable was also needed.

Main noted that because Ashland's operating space is so different from the Forest Service, the City can be a leader.

Brock said the key questions the subcommittee raised relative to recent activities were:

1. Was the density reduction successful in reducing beetle induced mortality in the remaining trees?
2. How did the ground vegetation layer respond to canopy reduction?
3. How have non-native plant species responded to canopy reduction?
4. How has the density reduction affected overall vigor of remaining trees?
5. Is there any change in surface erosion or slope failure in areas thinned?
6. What is effective ground cover (post treatment)?
7. Has thinning around large trees reduced mortality and or increased vigor?
8. What is the response of Horkelia tridentata to the canopy thinning?
9. Was the native grass seeding successful?
10. How are planted trees surviving
11. What are the CWM and snag numbers (post treatment)

Brock asked the commission to consider other monitoring questions and email it to the subcommittee. The group will meet again in January.

White noted the importance of building a structured database with backup and a decision on how the data will be inputted.

B. Finalize Three Year Commission Goals - Before Goal 8 "Creating a Fire Management Plan" was created, Woodley had been working on a draft for a year. He passed around a draft copy of the "Ashland Forest Intermix Wildfire Response Plan."

The Commission tabled further discussion until next meeting. Brock asked the commission to comment further on the goals via email over the next month.

C. Winburn Parcel - Main noted that the draft inventory data and prescriptions were based on Forest Commission discussion over the last five years. A plan of action would take place in two layers: one for small diameter, non commercial and one for mid diameter, commercial.

In response to Main's request for a Cultural Resource Inventory on Winburn, Woodley reminded the Commission that Nan Hannon completed one in 1987. Maymar requested a copy.

A. Discussion of Meeting Time and Length - Brock thought that beginning the meeting at 4:30 PM was too early for some commissioners and members of the public. He suggested 6:30 to 8:30 PM. He asked Slocum to bring a schedule of available times for the Siskyou Room to the next meeting and the commissioners to bring their calendars.
B. Update Commission Glossary - tabled.
C. Update Memorandum of Understanding - tabled.
A. Main met with Steve Ziel, US Forest Service, to discuss prescribed underburning under AWPP in two City units.

Richard Brock, Chair

Respectfully Submitted,
Nancy Slocum, Clerk

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