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E-News Fall 2011
Fall 2011

 
 
Inside this issue

 


Rulemaking updates
Oregon state seal  
Removal-Fill Permits: Staff in the Wetlands and Waterways Conservation Division has begun the process to adopt by rule the Vernal Pool General Permit for Jackson County. The GP will provide a faster and more predictable process for securing permits for removal-fill activities in vernal pools - an unusual type of wetland that supports three federally listed species (the vernal pool fairy shrimp and two plant species). The permit will allow the Department to issue removal-fill permits that impact vernal pools in 60 days or less if the project meets specific state and federal criteria. The last day for public comment is Oct. 14. The new rules will become effective Nov. 1. Additional information, including the schedule for rulemaking in 2012, is available on the DSL website.
 
Waterway Remediation: The Land Management Division has initiated rulemaking to: 
  1. Amend one division of the agency's administrative rules (OAR 141-80) relating to the Lower Willamette River Management Plan to accommodate environmental remediation and restoration activities.
  2. Develop a new division of administrative rules concerning environmental remediation and restoration activities on DSL-managed submerged and submersible state-owned land.
This fall, a Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC) will be established to provide input on the rulemaking. The RAC's charge is to help draft rules to facilitate selling or issuing authorizations for the use of state land for remediation and restoration activities; to address how to value the land; and establish appropriate compensation for various uses or the sale of the land.
 
DSL has retained The Mary Orton Company, LLC, to provide convening and facilitation services for the RAC. The RAC's first meeting will be held at the end of October, and the group will meet monthly for at least six months to finalize the process by April 2012.
 
Additional information is available from Chris Castelli.
 
Grazing Fees: At their Sept. 27 public meeting in Bend, the State Land Board will be asked to approve initiation of new rules covering the formula for grazing fees. One factor currently used is no longer available, requiring a change to the formula. Additional information is available in the recently published rangelands newsletter.
 
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Rangelands offer a variety of uses
State rangeland  
DSL's land management efforts in the central and eastern part of the state continue to focus on rangelands, with staff conducting assessments on about 30,000 acres per year. This summer's work included completing the Wagontire Block, the Lake Abert Block and the Riddle Mountain portion of the Stockade Block. Rangeland assessments provide information for specific leasehold management plans, and this year we're completing plans for the North Owyhee, Coyote Creek, Cherry Creek and Brewster leaseholds in Malheur County. 
 
Rangeland improvements included a fencing project along both sides of Highway 78 for approximately 11 miles north of Summit Pass. The Department of Transportation contributed partial funding for the project; DSL provided materials; and the lessee provided the labor. We also are working with a current lessee to develop an additional 250 acres of irrigated agriculture along Highway 20 west of Hampton.
 
Developers of alternative energy technologies continue to show interest in leasing Eastern Oregon state lands. A section (640 acres) in Christmas Valley has been leased by a solar energy company to allow them to proceed with licensing, permitting, design and eventual construction. At this time there is no certainty about the extent of potential development.
 
Geothermal companies also have leased three tracts, two of which are "split estates" where the state owns the subsurface rights, and the Bureau of Land Management owns the surface. Similar to oil and gas fields, if these leases proceed to production, surface developments may not occur on the state-owned land, but the state would receive a portion of the income produced from the entire developed area.
 
Finally, wind power companies continue to show interest in Eastern Oregon. Two significant installations are being considered on two blocks of state land, but no lease applications have been submitted. Eastern Oregon seasonal wind patterns differ from times of peak hydropower generation and areas such as the Columbia River Gorge. Therefore, any development of this alternative energy source in Eastern Oregon would be complementary to existing installations. Acquiring and developing new transmission capacity, evaluating environmental concerns such as potential impacts on wildlife habitat, and operational concerns must be addressed before the potential for wind energy can be realized in the central region of the state.
 
For more information on any of these topics, contact Lanny Quackenbush, DSL's eastern region manager.
 
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Staff conduct outreach for Devils Lake
State Lands' booth at Devils Lake Revival  
To provide locals with information on DSL's waterway leasing program, staff from the Land Management Division attended the Devils Lake Revival, a public event on Aug. 24 coordinated by the Devils Lake Water Improvement District. Nancy Pustis, the division's western region manager, said about 50 people obtained information at the DSL display booth.
 
Located near Lincoln City, Devils Lake is a navigable lake with many docks and other structures on state land that require an authorization from the Department. During the summer of 2010, DSL completed an inventory of all structures and uses on Devils Lake.
 
In July, staff held an informational meeting for lakefront property owners with structures such as docks, boathouses and jet-ski ramps. About 450 letters were mailed to property owners before the meeting, explaining the waterway leasing program. 
 
The Oregon Legislature in 1921 declared that all meandered (surveyed) lakes in Oregon are "navigable and public waters" which gives the state title to the submerged and submersible lands of such lakes. The Department of State Lands, as the administrative arm of the State Land Board, oversees these lands.
 
All revenue from waterway leasing is deposited into the Common School Fund, a trust fund established at statehood for public education, overseen by the Land State Board.
 
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State Land Inventory now available
State Land Inventory System  
After several years of work, the State Land Inventory System is now available online. The system is maintained by the Oregon Department of State Lands in cooperation with the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) and 17 other land-owning agencies.
 
The system provides data in the following categories:
 
Statewide Ownership Summary
Ownership by County
Ownership by Agency
Ownership by State Senate District
Ownership by State House District
Ownership by Zip Code
Agency Surplus Ownership by County
 
"Launching the State Land Inventory System brought together many state partners, and is the culmination of hard work to ensure the data is solid and the system is user-friendly," said DSL's Asset Manager John Russell. The Public Lands Advisory Council oversaw the project.
 
ORS 270.180 directed DAS to coordinate a statewide land inventory. Russell's predecessor, John Lilly, first offered departmental GIS specialists to shepherd the project on behalf of DAS. DSL developed the SLIS at a significantly reduced cost to agencies - $25,000 total, compared to initial estimates of $250,000 - said Russell.
 
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Natural Areas Program moves to State Parks
Oregon Natural Areas  
Legislation passed this year sets Jan. 1, 2012, as effective date
 
Created in 1979, the Oregon Natural Areas (formerly Natural Heritage) Program seeks to conserve the full range of Oregon's native plants, animals and ecosystems through voluntary and cooperative action. Since its inception, the program, and the Natural Heritage Advisory Council, has been administratively affiliated with State Land Board and Department of State Lands.
 
The council conducted a 25-year review of the program in June 2005, which considered future program priorities and relevance of the existing program to public policy in Oregon. The review concluded that while the program provides an important public service, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is now the best agency to oversee the program. In 1993, OPRD was the first - and only - state agency to establish new natural areas, and has since established 10 state parks, many with key natural areas.
 
"The council looked critically at what we do, and assessed how best to align our work with other efforts across Oregon," said program director Jimmy Kagan. The Natural Areas Program works with federal and private conservation agencies to protect an example of each of the state's native ecosystems and rare plant and animal species. Natural Areas also provide scientists a relatively undisturbed setting in which to study native ecosystems and species, Kagan said. Over 225 Natural Areas have been designated to represent the native forests, grasslands, tide pools, bogs and sagebrush communities in Oregon.
 
By transferring the program, OPRD will assume the administrative responsibilities currently handled by the Department of State Lands, including grant management, purchasing, providing commission oversight for new state natural area designations, and maintaining financial statements and records.
 
"State Parks has been helping preserve Oregon's heritage for many years," said Tim Wood, director, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. "Becoming full managers of the Natural Areas Program just makes sense. It's the perfect complement to our work with cultural and historic resources."
 
The Natural Areas Program is currently housed within the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center at Portland State University, and will continue to operate from this location.
 
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Local input sought at regional Land Board meetings
Oregon State Land Board meeting in North Bend  
Coos Bay and Bend areas scheduled in 2011
 
The State Land Board provided the opportunity for citizens to provide input on the proposed Elliott State Forest Management Plan at a special meeting in Coos Bay/North Bend on July 22. About 30 people attended the meeting; 11 provided testimony on the plan.  
 
The board will meet at the Bend City Hall on Sept. 27 at 1:00 p.m. The primary focus of the meeting is the Central Oregon Area Management Plan. The plan provides a comprehensive vision for state lands in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties - about 7400 acres total.
 
"With these meetings, we hope to interact with more Oregonians in their own communities," said State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, a member of the Land Board. Wheeler, who originally proposed the regional outreach, said the Coos Bay event was successful because the board heard from people who normally would not attend a meeting in Salem. The International Port of Coos Bay also conducted a tour for board members and staff after the public meeting. "We value these opportunities to learn more about local issues and how our programs affect Oregonians across the state," he said.  
 
Information about the Bend meeting, and other Land Board meetings, is on the DSL website. The board is expected to make decisions on adopting both plans at their Oct. 11 public meeting in Salem.  
 
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Celebrate National Estuaries Day
South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve  
Sept. 24 event includes fundraiser for Friends of South Slough
 
"Go with the Flow" in the historic community of Empire at this year's family-friendly National Estuaries Day. The annual event celebrates the many interesting facets of estuaries: areas where salt water mixes with fresh water. Canoe trips, demonstrations, children's art displays, and tours will be offered beginning at noon and continue throughout the day. All events are free! The celebration is hosted by the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and the City of Coos Bay. Location is the Empire bay front (just west of Coos Bay/North Bend).  
 
From 6:00 - 9:00 p.m., the Friends of South Slough are holding a fundraising event and reopening of the Boat Building Center in Coos Bay. The festivities include a silent auction, music, "gourmet buffet" and presentations. Cost is $35 for members and $50 for non-members.
 
More information, including a schedule of events and invitation to the fundraiser, is on the South Slough website.
 
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Looking for a speaker?
Mike Graybill speaks on behalf of the Department of State Lands  
Check out the DSL Speakers Bureau for ideas!  DSL staff are experts on a wide variety of subjects, including:
  • Wetland and waterway regulations and permitting
  • Wetland mitigation
  • Oregon's Common School Fund
  • Waterway navigability
  • Marine planning
  • Unclaimed property
  • Estates program
  • Coastal estuaries and the South Slough Reserve
 
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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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