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E-News
Winter 2009

In this newsletter


Welcome new Land Board members!
We are pleased to welcome incoming Secretary of State Kate Brown and State Treasurer Ben Westlund to the State Land Board. Their first meeting is Feb. 10. Brown served in the Oregon Legislature for 17 years, where she became Oregon's first woman to serve as the Senate Majority Leader. Westlund served 11 years in the legislature, where he chaired the Ways and Means Committee and spearheaded the Oregon Cultural Trust.
 
At the Dec. 9 Land Board meeting, outgoing members Secretary of State Bill Bradbury and State Treasurer Randall Edwards were recognized for their nine and eight years of involvement, respectively. DSL Director Louise Solliday recounted many of the board's accomplishments during their tenure, including a 500 percent increase in Common School Fund distributions; three declarations of river navigability (Sandy, John Day and Rogue); removal of the New Carissa wreck; and establishment of the Land Board Awards.
 
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2009 legislative agenda
Oregon State Capitol  
The Department of State Lands has six bills for consideration by the 2009 Oregon Legislative Assembly.
 
SB 178 clarifies and makes consistent department rulemaking authority.
SB 179 exempts from public records law, documents obtained from an estate administered by DSL.
HB 2153 changes statutory provisions to allow for imposing civil penalties for unauthorized uses of state-owned uplands.
HB 2154 transfers the Unclaimed Property Program to the Office of the State Treasurer, effective July 1, 2011.
HB 2155 clarifies and improves statutory provisions relating to the removal-fill permit process.
HB 2156 clarifies and improves statutory provisions relating to wetland mitigation programs.
 
The Governor's Recommended Budget includes 10 policy option packages that continue limited-duration positions, primarily at the South Slough; add or reclassify positions to better carry out the agency's programs; provide funding for seafloor mapping and for stepped-up removal-fill permit compliance and enforcement activities; and upgrade computer systems. The proposed 2009-2011 budget is $31,575,134.
 
More information is available from Cyndi Wickham, DSL's legislative liaison and the assistant director for the Finance and Administration Division.
 
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NE parcels to be offered at public auction
Mt. Emily  
Seventeen tracts of rangeland and timberland, ranging from one to 160 acres in Baker, Union, Umatilla and Wallowa counties, will be sold by public auction in La Grande on March 26, 2009. The oral auction starts at 10:00 a.m. at the Blue Mountain Center.
 
"The department's Asset Management Plan directs us to dispose of lands that are not actively managed, and to reinvest sale proceeds in other real estate activities," said John Lilly, DSL's asset manager. "The relatively isolated location of these parcels make them candidates for other agencies or property owners to manage more effectively."
 
Proceeds from the auction will be deposited in the agency's land revolving fund for reinvesting in existing lands and acquiring other lands to produce income for the Common School Fund, a trust fund established at statehood that provides interest earnings twice a year for Oregon's 198 K-12 public school districts. In 2008, distributions totaled $55.4 million.
 
More information about the land auction is available on the DSL Web site.
 
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Removal-fill and wetland rules revised
Oregon stream  
Effective Feb. 1, 2009, DSL will issue revised rules, with a March 1 implementation date:
 
Division 85 (removal-fill permits): Arranges sections in a more logical order; reduces the number of definitions; improves the process and standards for compensatory mitigation; and incorporates plain English standards. Staff will conduct training sessions on the new rules in January at various locations throughout the state.
 
Division 89 (general authorizations): Allows expedited GAs for habitat improvement projects.
 
Division 100 (recreational prospecting and placer mining in State Scenic Waterways): Clarifies what kinds of activities are allowed.
 
More information is available on the DSL Web site.
 
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EPA grant funds wetland mitigation monitoring
Oregon wetland  
In May, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, in cooperation with DSL and The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, received a $342,281 grant to create a framework for an Oregon Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program. The grant will provide funds to develop protocol for assessing the effectiveness of wetland mitigation and restoration sites.
 
"Each year, DSL issues approximately 200 removal-fill permits that require wetland mitigation," said Kevin Moynahan, assistant director of the Wetlands and Waterways Conservation Division. "We're looking to improve our strategy for actively monitoring the success of mitigation sites to determine if these activities are making a difference. This grant will allow us to set up a system for measuring success."
 
OWEB will hire a contractor in January to begin developing the protocol. Project implementation will occur initially in the Willamette Valley, but the program will be designed for use throughout the state. OWEB has invested nearly $10 million for wetland restoration projects between 1999 and 2008.
 
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DSL launches 'Take Care of Oregon' project
Governor Kulongoski and First Lady Mary Oberst  
With Gov. Ted Kulongoski's and First Lady Mary Oberst's help, on Saturday, Oct. 18 the Department of State Lands launched a project to remove invasive species along Mill Creek near the agency's Salem headquarters building. About 40 volunteers pitched in over three additional days to clean up the creek between Summer and Winter streets.
 
The project is the state's first "Take Care of Oregon" project designed to commemorate Oregon's 150th birthday in 2009.
 
"It seemed like the perfect project for us because of our mission to protect Oregon's waterways and because Mill Creek runs right next to our building," said project coordinator Jevra Brown. "Our staff enjoys working near the creek, but we’ve seen invasive species take over the banks and it was time to do something. This is an opportunity to show how diverse and beautiful Oregon's native plants are." 
 
The project has garnered substantial in-kind donations, including a 30-yard refuse bin for plant material donated by Allied Waste; landscape services, dumpsters and hand tools from the Oregon Department of Administrative Services; and mulch from local resources. Students from Parrish Middle School will get involved after the first of the year.
 
Oberst, recently elected president of the Oregon 150 board of directors, is pleased to be involved in the effort, and said, "We were really amazed at how much was accomplished in just part of a day. Now...imagine the same sort of thing going on in 400 communities across Oregon!" 
 
For more information about the Mill Creek project, contact Jevra Brown or Julie Curtis. Read DSL's Oregon Story. Information about "Take Care of Oregon" efforts is on the Oregon 150 Web site.
 
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Snake River, grazing projects underway in eastern Oregon
DSL's eastern region has begun public outreach for authorizing waterway uses along the Snake River in Baker and Wallowa counties. The waterway inventory along the Snake in Malheur County was completed in 2008.
 
"We held a public open house on Dec. 17, and plan to conduct a workshop in January to assist property owners with the authorization process," said Eastern Region Manager Nancy Pustis.
 
Approximately 90 notices were sent out in November to local officials and to property owners identified on Baker and Wallowa county tax maps and assessor records as having land adjacent to the shoreline of the Snake, said Pustis.
 
At statehood, Oregon was given land as a part of its grant from the federal government, which included the bed and the banks of many waterways in the state. The land was to be used for generating revenue for Oregon's public schools.
 
As directed by the State Land Board, DSL has been systematically inventorying structures on and uses of state-owned lands, including the Snake River. The purpose of the inventory is to determine which uses (such as boat launches, docks and irrigation structures) require authorizations to occupy state-owned land.
 
Additional information is available on the DSL Web site.
 

 
A six-member Grazing Fee Advisory Committee has recommended changes in the way DSL's rangeland leases are calculated. Committee members from southeast Oregon county government, the cattle industry, the education community and the general public met four times between May and September 2008 to determine if lease rates reflect fair market value. The committee looked at other western states' rates, as well as data from Eastern Oregon University, the Oregon Department of Revenue, county assessors' records and current rangeland lessees.
 
The committee recommended a change in the formula's "calf weight gain" from 30 pounds to 35 pounds. In addition, DSL Director Louise Solliday proposed increasing the state's share of revenue from leased rangelands from 20 to 25 percent. Under the current formula, the assessment is $4.90 per "animal unit month" (AUM) whereas the new formula would yield more than $7.00 per AUM. More information on how the fee is calculated is available on the DSL Web site. 
 
Every three years, grazing fee rates are reviewed to ensure grazing revenue is maximized for the Common School Fund. State-owned rangelands are the largest block of land remaining from a grant of land by the U.S. Congress to support schools when Oregon became a state in 1859. DSL currently manages more than 630,000 acres of rangeland, located primarily in central and southeastern Oregon. 
 
To incorporate the recommended changes, DSL's grazing rules must be updated. Eastern Region Manager Nancy Pustis will work with a rules advisory committee on the proposed changes, which include the grazing fee adjustments and other changes in format and content. The public will be invited to review the draft rules in March, and a public meeting will follow in April. The Land Board will be asked to approve the new rules, tentatively scheduled for the June 2009 meeting.
 
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South Slough adds acreage
Aerial view of South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve  
Two parcels adjoining the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in Charleston were recently added to the Reserve’s land base, bringing its total to 4,804 acres. A $220,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), matched with $220,000 from the Chalmer F. Gustafson account, allowed the Reserve to acquire 1.6 acres located south of the entrance to the Interpretive Center at the headwaters of the Hidden Creek watershed, and 2.4 acres adjacent to the headwaters of North Creek and the Reserve’s newest trail.
 
In 1994, Chalmer Gustafson bequeathed $1,600,000 to the Reserve for the sole purpose of adding land to the Reserve’s stewardship within the watershed. In 2007, the account funded a 28-acre acquisition also at the headwaters of Hidden Creek.
 
"As the South Slough approaches our 35th anniversary in June 2009, we are grateful that Chalmer Gustafson had the foresight to establish land acquisition funds for the Reserve," said Mike Graybill, South Slough manager.
 
The South Slough, established in 1974 through a partnership between NOAA and the Department of State Lands, was the first of 27 reserves in the country, and continues to offer educational, interpretive, stewardship and research services for the public and scientific community.
 
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State Land Board Awards
State Land Board Awards  
Nominations are now being accepted for the annual Land Board Awards in three categories:
State Land Board Stream Project
 
State Land Board Wetland Project
 
State Land Board Partnership Award
Each award has a separate nomination form and criteria. All nominations are due February 18.
 
Nominations are reviewed by a committee of DSL staff, Land Board member representatives and representatives of organizations affiliated with the topic of the award.
 
Winners will be notified in March, and this year's awards will be presented at the April 14 Land Board public meeting.
 
For more information, go to the DSL Web site or contact Julie Curtis, DSL communications manager.
 
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Do we have your money?
Department of State Land Unclaimed Property Program  
If you're like most Americans, you're probably searching for ways to weather the economic downturn. Have you thought about checking our Web site for unclaimed property? It's easy - simply go to the unclaimed property name search on the DSL Web site and see if we are holding money for you.
 
In Fiscal Year 2008, DSL's Unclaimed Property Section returned nearly $12 million to owners. Check for your name today, and check back often, as new information is added to the Web site regularly.
 
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DSL Web site to change
During the month of January, DSL staff will be migrating our current Web content to the new state template. While this is an opportunity to reorganize how information is presented, we realize it may be challenging to navigate at first. Please provide us with feedback once the new site is up and running. Our target date for the new site is Feb. 1.
 
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Contact Information:
Julie Curtis
Communications Manager
Oregon Department of State Lands
775 Summer St., NE, Suite 100
Salem, OR 97301-1279
503-986-5298

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