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Forestry Board to meet January 5 in Salem
 
For immediate release                      
Dec. 22, 2010                                     
Contact:
Rod Nichols, 503-945-7425
Dan Postrel, 503-945-7420
 
Management of state-owned forests, regulation of water quality, and discussion of how the Oregon Department of Forestry could be most efficiently organized to protect forest resources are on the agenda for the Board of Forestry’s Jan. 5 meeting.
 
The Board will consider a revised work plan for state forest management activities during 2011.
The plan lays out a path to achieve the board’s overarching objective for the state forests: to provide a practical demonstration of forest management that contributes to the board’s statewide goals for economic, social and environmental sustainability.
 
The board will also receive a review, conducted by the state Institute for Natural Resources, of the ways in which the department applies science to its management of state forests in northwestern Oregon.
 
The Department of Forestry oversees about 848,000 acres of forest – 3 percent of Oregon’s total forestland – in six state forests and various scattered tracts.
 
Other agenda items include:
 
Possible consolidation of forest protection services - Staff will update the board on a proposal to merge two department divisions – one focused on fire protection, the other on protection of a range of resources, primarily on private forestland.
 
Protection of Oregon’s forests requires aggressive fire protection and diligent prevention efforts. In addition, science-based forest practices laws and effective technical help to landowners are necessary to promote improvement in forest health and assure retention of healthy, working forests. State budget shortfalls have drastically reduced the number of field personnel assigned to resource protection and landowner consultation. The department is evaluating whether transition to an integrated Forest Protection Division would enhance efficiency, while maintaining the department’s commitment to fire protection and forest practices regulations. 
 
Forest ecosystem services markets – The board will receive a report from the Oregon Sustainability Board on potential markets for forest ecosystem services, which include clean air, safe drinking water, and habitat for fish and wildlife. The 2009 legislature directed the sustainability board to recommend ways of developing ecosystem services markets. In such markets, those who benefit from the services compensate the landowners who provide them, based on how the providers protect, restore or maintain the ecological values that produce the services.
 
Water quality regulation – The board will discuss its role and responsibilities regarding water quality in relation to the state Environmental Quality Commission (EQC). The commission sets overall water quality standards for the state, and the Board of Forestry is charged with ensuring that forest practices meet those standards on state and private forestlands. This ongoing discussion seeks to clarify the unique cooperative relationship between the board and the EQC provided for in the state laws that ensure water quality protection on forestland. 
 
State Forester recruitment – Staff will provide a progress report on recruitment of a new state forester. The application period closed on Dec. 12. An online survey that sought the public’s opinions and ideas on desired qualifications for the state forester job elicited more than 400 responses. The new state forester will succeed Marvin Brown, who resigned last October.
 
The board meeting will be held at 8 a.m. at Oregon Department of Forestry headquarters in the Tillamook Room, Building C, 2600 State St., in Salem.
 
Accommodations for people with disabilities, and special materials, services or assistance can be arranged by calling the department’s Agency Affairs Office at least 48 hours before the meeting, 503-945-7200, text telephone 503-945-7213.
 
More information on the Board of Forestry can be found at: www.oregonforestry.gov. Background information on the Jan. 5 meeting agenda items is available through the 2011 “Meeting Schedules” link on the website.
 
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