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E-News
Winter 2010


 


Sales, exchanges support long-range vision for lands
state-owned land
Funds are reinvested in land improvements and acquisitions
 
Nearly $780,000 was generated in 2009 from the sale of isolated state land.
 
Five parcels of timber and agricultural land in northeast Oregon were sold at a public auction on March 26 in La Grande for a total of $145,851. Two additional parcels in the region were sold for $97,400 through direct sale later in the year.
 
In November, three timbered parcels in Lane County were sold through public auction for a total of $534,500. Realty Marketing Northwest conducted the auctions on behalf of DSL.
 
DSL's 2006-2016 Asset Management Plan directs the agency to dispose of "lands that are not actively managed, difficult or uneconomical to manage, or low revenue producers," and to reinvest sale proceeds in "acquiring new lands and improving lands with revenue-producing potential."
 
This summer the department will sell another 10 isolated timber parcels. To sign up for e-mail notifications of land sales, click here.
 
In December, the State Land Board approved a land exchange between DSL and Eugene-based Giustina Resources. The Department exchanged an isolated, 620-acre parcel of timberland in Lane County for a 39-acre, partially developed parcel in Redmond known as the Forked Horn Butte Subdivision.
 
"This exchange is exactly what DSL should be doing to increase the value of our real estate portfolio, which in turn will increase the value of the Common School Fund from revenue-producing lands," said agency director Louise Solliday.
 
The Forked Horn Butte Subdivision is the sixth major land asset in Central Oregon in DSL's portfolio. Four of the other parcels – South Redmond, Cline Buttes (east of Redmond), West Juniper Canyon (near Prineville) and Stevens Road (southeast Bend) – are "in-lieu" acquisitions. DSL has been working with the federal government since the 1990s to receive lands in lieu of acreage owed to the state since statehood in 1859. The other parcel, Ward Road (east of Stevens Road), is original state trust land.
 
Land management revenue is deposited in the Common School Fund. Distributions from the fund's interest earnings are sent to schools twice a year.
 


Land Board considers Elliott State Forest management
Elliott State Forest Tour
Nov. 30 tour provided on-the-ground look for board and staff
 
For nearly a decade, the Department of State Lands and the Oregon Department of Forestry have been working to secure a multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for the Elliott State Forest near Coos Bay. The forest is an asset of the Common School Fund, and is the largest revenue producer from state trust lands. It now appears the HCP as drafted will not be approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The federal agencies are requiring conditions that would make harvest levels too low.
 
The board's goals are to 1) increase timber harvest on the forest to generate more funding for schools; 2) ensure a sustainable, predictable level of harvest; and 3) have a plan to protect listed and endangered species. Currently the forest grows about 75 million board feet per year; recent harvest levels have been in the 25 board feet range. The goal is to get closer to 40 million board feet annually.
 
The Land Board received an overview of the issues at their October meeting, and toured the forest on Nov. 30. In December, they heard presentations from a variety of interested parties, including timber operators, environmental organizations, the education community and local government. The board is considering several management options, and is scheduled to make a decision at their Feb. 9 public meeting in Salem.
 


Rulemaking affects marine reserves, waterway leasing
boat marina
At their December 2009 meeting, the State Land Board adopted rules governing marine reserves. The board oversees the land under Oregon’s territorial sea, which extends three miles westward from the low-tide mark on Oregon’s beaches.
 
Two pilot reserves are being established at Otter Rock north of Newport and at Redfish Rocks near Port Orford. DSL's new rules specify that the agency will issue authorizations in marine reserves and marine protected areas only for activities focusing on monitoring, evaluating, protecting or otherwise furthering the study of these two areas.
 
The Department of State Lands, State Parks, and Department of Fish and Wildlife collaborated on rulemaking and public outreach during the fall.
 
The Department is currently revising rules that govern the authorization of uses on state-owned submerged and submersible land – or, waterway leasing. The proposed revisions include a number of minor changes to clarify various rule provisions, as well as streamline some of the processes to benefit both the agency and the public. The proposed changes also include fee adjustments that will primarily impact expired and new registrations. No changes are being proposed to the formulas used or rates of compensation for leases.
 
DSL extended the public comment period to Dec. 24, 2009, and staff is currently reviewing the additional public input. A final recommendation will be made to the State Land Board later this year.
 
More information on these two rulemaking efforts is available on the DSL Web site or from Jeff Kroft.
 


Removal-Fill rules revised
Oregon waterway
Effective Jan. 1, 2010, new administrative rules are in place for Div. 141-085 and 141-089 which govern the permit process for removal-fill authorizations. The new rule language relates primarily to voluntary habitat restoration, and complies with legislation passed in the 2009 session. Rules governing the designation of essential salmon habitat (141-100) will be revised by March 2010. More information on these rule changes is available on the DSL Web site or by contacting Eric Metz.
 


Schools receive $25.2 million from Common School Fund
school children
Change in distribution formula evens out payments
 
Oregon's 197 K-12 public school districts received the first of two 2010 Common School Fund payments of $25,225,016.50 this month. The Oregon Department of Education sends the payments in January and July of each year to the districts.
 
The State Land Board, composed of the Governor, Secretary of State and State Treasurer, oversees the fund, which was established at statehood to provide funding from state lands for Oregon's "common" – or public – schools.
 
At their April 2009 public meeting, the Land Board adopted a new distribution policy to send 4 percent of the three-year rolling average of the fund's value to schools. In June, they adopted a resolution to increase the amount to 5 percent in 2009-11 to maintain the distribution at the 2007-09 level.
 
With this change, the anticipated total distribution for the two-year period is $95.5 million. The 2007-09 distribution was $95.8 million.
 
Because of recent stock market declines, the value of the Common School Fund decreased in 2009 from over $1.2 billion to a low of $730 million. As a result, 2009-11 distributions were expected to be significantly lower than previous years.
 
More information – and a new fact sheet – is available on the DSL Web site.
 


Check for unclaimed property!
search for unclaimed property
More than $350 million available for claim
 
The beginning of a new year is a great time to check for unclaimed money. It’s quick and easy to search for your name in the Department of State Lands (DSL) online owner database. If you find property in your name, simply download a claim form and start the process to get your funds returned.
 
What is unclaimed property?
 
Each year, companies and organizations around the United States report unclaimed property to DSL when they cannot locate the owner. Examples of unclaimed property include uncashed checks, merchandise credits, inactive bank accounts and investment accounts.
 
Once reported, the Unclaimed Property Section attempts to locate owners and reunite them with their funds. Staff use sophisticated methods to locate owners with large amounts, but the most effective method is for people to search the online database.
 
With more than $350 million available for claim, there's a good chance you may find money for you, a relative, a friend or coworker. Businesses and organizations also have unclaimed property.
 
Until claimed, unclaimed property is invested to benefit the Common School Fund. The funds are available for claim by owners or their heirs forever.
 


Nominate a project for a State Land Board Award
State Land Board Awards
Every year, the State Land Board honors outstanding projects and individuals in the following categories:
  • Stream Project
  • Wetland Project
  • Partnership
Since the awards were created in 2004, awardees have included watershed councils, ranchers and other property owners, public ports, local governments, wetland bankers, environmental organizations, and other nonprofits.
 
This year, the Land Board will present awards for projects completed in 2009 at their April 13 public meeting in Salem. The deadline to submit nominations is Feb. 19. Click here for more information and to download a nomination form.
 
For more information, contact DSL communications manager Julie Curtis.
 


DSL actions support salmon recovery
salmon
As a cooperating agency under the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, the Department of State Lands is an active participant in helping restore fish and wildlife populations to sustainable levels.
 
Funded by a grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, DSL resource coordinator Joy Vaughan devotes half her time to planning efforts for the Coastal Coho, Lower Columbia, Upper Willamette and Mid-Columbia salmon and steelhead recovery plans. The plans – which are guidance, not regulatory, documents – describe a process to restore listed species and ecosystems to a point where the species' future is safeguarded and the protections of the Endangered Species Act are no longer necessary.
 
Joy's work includes identifying agency-specific management actions to incorporate into DSL's day-to-day regulatory oversight of the state's waterways. For example, DSL recently revised Division 122 of the Oregon Administrative Rules to allow for placing conservation easements on state-owned lands. Now, habitats with a high value for salmon recovery on state-owned land can have increased protection.
 
In addition, DSL can require appropriate avoidance and minimization of removal-fill impacts in targeted waterways, and explore opportunities for compensatory mitigation in restoration areas identified within the recovery plans.
 
Oregon's recovery planning is in different phases of development and review. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has a 2010 completion date for the Lower Columbia and Upper Willamette Recovery Plans. The Mid-Columbia Recovery Plan was recently adopted by NOAA Fisheries in September 2009, and is scheduled to be adopted by the ODFW commission this winter.
 
The State Land Board will be asked to endorse DSL's Mid-Columbia management actions at their Feb. 9, 2010 meeting. These actions include protecting high quality habitats in tributaries through conservation easements; maintaining existing unimpaired habitat by limiting impacts to wetlands and waterways; and encouraging voluntary restoration projects.
 
Visit the DSL Web site for additional information and links to other agencies' efforts, or contact Joy Vaughan.
 


Project focuses on climate change and growth in South Slough region
South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
Coastal-area citizens invited to plan for future
 
A new approach to managing coastal watersheds is being launched this winter by the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Coos Watershed Association. The goal is to bring together community members and technical advisors to chart a course for managing local changes in the area's natural environment.
 
The Partnership for Coastal Watersheds will focus on the South Slough watershed and several small water­sheds that drain to the Pacific Ocean between Cape Arago and Bullards Beach (known as coastal frontal watersheds).
 
According to Craig Cornu, monitoring coordinator at the South Slough, a wide range of changes, including a proposal for mineral sands mining; expanded golf-course and residential developments; shifts in Dungeness crab, rockfish and salmon fisheries; and increased potential for fire danger in Coast Range forests, will, or are already impacting the region. "We’re creating this partnership to understand and learn from each other, and to cooperatively plan for the future of our area," he said.
 
The project has four key elements:
  1. A series of "coffee klatch" meetings will bring together local community members in an informal setting to discuss concerns and how to create a vision for maintaining or improving the ecological and socio-economic health of the project area.
  2. A team of technical advisors and community members will identify and prioritize watershed projects – such as road drainage improvements, wetland and stream restoration, and forest fuels management – that will pro­vide both ecological and socio-economic benefits for local residents.
  3. The team will track the watersheds' response to future climate and development changes, and evaluate the effectiveness of watershed projects.
  4. A Web site will be developed for project news, accomplishments, meeting notes and monitoring data, including a biennial "state of the watershed" progress report.
The project is intended to be ongoing, allowing community participants to consider long-term options. The first two years are funded by a grant from the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology, with additional funding from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the Laird Norton Family Foundation.
 
More information is available from Craig Cornu.
 


Staff retirements and transfers spell change for DSL
DSL headquarters building
With two significant retirements and a staff transfer, the Land Management Division will look different in 2010.
John Lilly, the division's Asset Manager, officially retired in June 2009, but has continued to work as a temporary employee to finish up several important projects on his plate. John has worked for the State of Oregon, including 17 years at State Parks, for 33 years. The department expects to fill John's position by early February.
 
Steve Purchase, Assistant Director of Land Management, retired on Nov. 30, 2009. He will continue as a temp until June 2010. Steve's 21 years at DSL have been marked by many changes in the department, and his insight into many of our complicated issues will be missed.
 
Nancy Pustis, the Eastern Region Manager for 10 years, started Nov. 1 as the division's new Western Region Manager. In this new position, Nancy will oversee the day-to-day work of the waterway leasing program and other western land management projects. Lanny Quackenbush was hired to replace Nancy in the Eastern Region office. Lanny worked for many years for the Washington Department of Natural Resources where he managed the eastern region, and most recently worked at the Oregon Department of Forestry. He starts on Feb. 8.
In the Wetlands and Waterways Conservation Division, resource coordinator assistant Jeanne Devine retired on Dec. 31 after working for the department for 10 years. Jeanne was replaced by the former DSL receptionist, Linda Walton, whose customer service skills fortunately match the high bar set by Jeanne.
 


Regional Gravel Initiative Workshop
 
 
Attendees at the Regional Gravel Initiative Workshop discussed scientific reports and issues related to impacts of gravel extraction in coastal rivers, specifically the Chetco in Curry County. Workshop presenters were from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of State Lands, U.S. Geological Survey, OSU Extension Service, gravel operators, and other state and federal agencies. The workshop was held Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in Charleston, and was facilitated by the Institute for Natural Resources at OSU.
 
 
Contact Information:
Julie Curtis
Communications Manager
Oregon Department of State Lands
775 Summer St., NE, Suite 100
Salem, OR 97301-1279
503-986-5298