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Forestry Board workshop, meeting June 3, 4
Contact: Rod Nichols, 503-945-7425, or
Dan Postrel, 503-945-7420
Changes in the way forestland is classified for fire protection, and new incentives to expand forest cover on private lands are key agenda items that the Board of Forestry will take up at its meeting on June 4 in Salem. On June 3, the board will hold a workshop with an advisory committee charged with identifying ways to increase the contribution of federal forestlands to the overall sustainability of Oregon's forests.
Forestland classification
A review committee will deliver its recommendations for updating the decades-old classification system used to determine which lands should be assessed fees to finance protection of forest and grazing lands from fire. In its deliberations, the 29-member panel addressed twin concerns:

- Increasingly, blazes in wildlands with no fire protection are spreading to protected forestlands.

- Urban sprawl into forests and other wildlands has elevated the wildfire risk and complicated firefighting efforts.  
Expanding assistance to landowners
The Department of Forestry will propose changes to the administrative rules designed to expand the scope of Forest Resource Trust programs. These programs provide private landowner assistance for the improved management of forest lands. Currently, the only program developed under the Forest Resource Trust is a timber stand establishment loan program. 
The changes proposed expand the scope of the loan program to include stand management practices such as pre-commercial thinning, fuels management and environmental restoration.  The proposed changes also include new administrative rules to implement the Forest Resource Trust's cost-share program for family forest landowners.
District fire budgets
The Board will review the budgets prepared by forest protection districts for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Within Oregon's wildfire protection system, the 14 field districts handle "initial attack," responding quickly to reports of fire and putting out most fires at relatively small size.
Mary Rellergert award
The annual Mary Rellergert Forestry Education Award will be presented to outstanding forest educators selected for their contributions to forestry education over the past year. The award winners will briefly profile their work for the Board. Mary Rellergert served as the department's
education coordinator on the Tillamook State Forest, establishing a forestry education outreach that has reached thousands of students. She passed away in 2004.
Emergency fire cost report
The Emergency Fire Cost Committee will report on its ongoing efforts to maintain the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund, a forest landowner-financed emergency fund that pays the extra costs of fighting major wildfires.
Biennial Department budget
The board will continue planning and development of the department's 2009-11 budget.
The June 4 board meeting will begin at 8 a.m. in the Tillamook Room - Building C, at the Department of Forestry headquarters, 2600 State St., Salem. Comments will be received on forestry-related items not included in the agenda during a public comment period around 8:30 a.m. Members of the public wishing to comment on specific agenda items will have an opportunity to address the board during the time each item is scheduled.
On June 3, the board will hold a joint workshop with the Federal Forestland Advisory Committee, a board-appointed panel tasked with defining the problems that are preventing the federal forestlands in Oregon from contributing a full range of sustainable forest values. The committee will present a proposed strategy and actions for solving the list of seven interrelated problems it has identified.
The June 3 workshop will begin at 8 a.m. in the same location as the board meeting. The board workshop is open to the public but does not include a comment period.
Accommodations for people with disabilities, and special materials, services or assistance can be arranged by calling the Department of Forestry Agency Affairs Office at least 48 hours before the meeting - (503) 945-7200, or text telephone (503) 945-7213 (in Salem).
More information on the Board of Forestry can be found on the web, www.oregon.gov/ODF/BOARD/. Background information on the agenda items is located under the heading, "Staff reports."