UDRC President Jerry Hubbard introduced board members attending. Donations have been received to match the $5,000 MCM Foundation fuels reduction grant for 2020. This grant provides funds the UDRC Defensible Space Reimbursement program. The Low-income Senior/Disabled Defensible Space program has $140,000 funding from separate MCM Foundation grant. The UDRC received a $5000 grant from BNSF railway for fuels reduction in communities near the railroad corridor. Six fuels reduction grant applications in process.
The UDRC will host four quarterly public meetings in 2020. The April 9 meeting will have a presentation about community wildfire preparation by Boone Zimmerlee, Deschutes County Fire Adapted Communities Coordinator. The presentation for the August 13 meeting will be the Deschutes Basin Habitat Conservation Plan.
Jerry introduced guest speakers Holly Jewkes and Kevin Larkin. Holly is the Deschutes National Forest Supervisor replacing John Allen after he retired in Aug. 2019. Holly was Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Willamette National Forest for four years and Deschutes National Forest Crescent District Ranger for several years. Kevin has been Deschutes National Forest Bend/Fort Rock District Ranger since 2012.
Holly’s focus for this year is working with partners in project planning, forest health, woodland-urban interface issues, prescribed burning, and recreation management. The decision to implement wilderness recreation permits was published in Spring 2019. Her staff is developing the process for user fees with feedback from Resources Advisory Committees and the public. Other projects are implementing the Deschutes Basin Habitat Conservation Plan with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, project funding through national Joint Chief’s Restoration Partnership, and renewing funding for the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Collaborative which expired in 2019.
Parking overflows the Big River boat ramp area. River access has been improved at La Pine State Park and Harper bridge. Can the Big River parking area be expanded? Kevin: The Wild and Scenic River Management Planlimits capacity at designated recreation sites. The plan was approved in 1996 by 17 agencies to balance access versus protection. It would be a major project to amend the plan.
Holly: The Forest Service will participate in the Deschutes Basin Water Collaborative.
Residents along the Deschutes River are concerned about safety, litter, and trespass in waterfowl shooting areas. What is the process for establishing no-shooting zones on Forest Service land? Kevin: This is a complicated issue regarding what is safe and appropriate. Public land belongs to all tax payers, and hunting is an acceptable activity. Staff is developing guidelines to comply with recreation provisions of the John Dingell Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. Kevin suggested a meeting with concerned community members, Forest Service and Deschutes County law enforcement, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife representatives. Most hunters behave appropriately and Oregon Hunters Association promotes hunter education and safety.
What are the top five forest threats? Holly: Recreation management opportunities and challenges, forest health, wildfire fuels reduction. Kevin: Deschutes River management: river flows and endangered species. Making decisions to cover 50 – 100 years.
Can thinning piles be left for wildlife? Holly: Small piles are left for wildlife depending on location. Kevin: Studies show few piles are needed for wildlife. There is no current market for biomass from thinning projects.
Are National Forest Foundation funds available for forest partner projects? Holly: The Discover Your Forest organization collaborates with NFF, Forest Service, and local partners on public land projects.
How can forest restoration projects be accelerated? Holly: Renew funding for Collaborative Forest Restoration projects, increase partners capacity, reenter areas for prescribed burning. Central Oregon community support for forest restoration is increasing. Congressional fix for “fire borrowing” will be effective in 2020. Kevin: Central Oregon population is increasing and education for new arrivals is needed. Oregon congress members support forest restoration.
The Forest Service Provincial Advisory Committee was valuable, will it be rechartered? Holly: It has been challenging to get administration funding for forest advisory committees.
Thank you for fuels treatment work in our area over the last 10 years. Some people were upset about the effects from prescribed burns and education is needed. Collaboration with the COTA South Deschutes County Trails chapter will achieve a trail system with a balance between recreation and wildlife habitat. Signs could be installed with dates of prescribed burns. Kevin: A visitor made a drone video showing tree tops were still green after the prescribed burn East of Highway 97.
Can the Wyden committee for recreation asset development be reestablished? Kevin: Federal highway funds will be used to construct a paved path from Baker Road to the High Desert Museum and Lava Lands visitor center. Project planning is underway.
Studies in Northern California have shown an increase in river flows after forest thinning. Can this be applied to the Deschutes Basin? Other studies in Colorado showed thinning produced higher runoff, but river flows were not persistent. Kevin: Central Oregon porous soils and hydrology complicates prediction of thinning effects on river flows.
December 16, 2019 UDRC Board Meeting Minutes
Board Actions: Approved 2020 officers and board members. Jerry Hubbard, President; Dean Richardson, Vice President; Carl Jansen, Treasurer; Jim Larsen, Secretary; Monte Dammarell, board member; Kent Elliot, board member. Approved removing Monte and adding Carl as authorized signatures on bank documents.
Jerry: Reviewed 2020 budget. Will correct BNSF grant amount. Consider applying for a grant to hire an Executive Director to administer defensible space programs. Will defer budget approval to Jan. Board meeting. Investigating bank savings accounts for higher interest rates on reserved funds. Applied for 8 fuels reduction grants, $1000 – $20,000. MCM matching grant donations have been received for $5000 grant award in 2020. Survey supports continuing public meeting schedule at 3:00 – 4:30 PM. Will change meeting dates to 2nd Thursday of the month to avoid conflict with other area meetings. Use written questions from audience during Jan. 16 public meeting with speakers from the Forest Service. April 9 meeting subject will be homeowner defensible space and structure protection.
Carl: Will meet with bookkeeper to organize financial records. Budget should clarify income sources and cash balance. Post UDRC signs on properties treated with low-income senior program?
Jim: Current workload for defensible space programs does not justify hiring an administrator. 9 applicants for defensible space reimbursement have not submitted invoices. Will notify them to reapply in 2020. New flyers and application forms are available that include disabled applicants for 2020 low-income defensible space program. Council on Aging will continue to receive and forward applications.
Dean: Completed 7 senior low-income defensible space projects and 3 are waiting for contractor schedule. That will conclude senior projects for this Winter. Deschutes County Project Wildfire is reorganizing for 2020. Details will be announced at the Dec. 17 meeting. What should be the focus for UDRC in 2020? The mission and vision statements are still valid. Committees and volunteers are needed for outreach and speakers for meetings.
Monte: Will contact Art Anderson about becoming a board member. Will write articles about UDRC for local publications. Communicating with Kevin Larkin about shooting zone issues has been difficult.
Kent: Planning future Sunriver Chamber meetings with County officials.
January 8, 2020 UDRC Board Meeting Minutes
1. Reviewed cash position for operations. Will transfer unused balance from First Interstate Bank grant to operations.
2. 2020 budget deferred to February Board meeting.
3. Reviewed grants. Sent MCM Foundation a report which included request for $5000 donation match.
4. Reviewed fuel reduction programs.
5. Board positions discussed. Will invite Art Anderson to join.
6. Speakers: Boone Zimmerlee will speak in April on Defensible Space. Working on other speakers.
7. Need to work on the action items for the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
December 2019 UDRC Financial Summary