Forest Conservancy District Board
January 10, 2011 Meeting Minutes
Those Present: Ginny Brace, Tom Anderson, Jim Arnold, Lynne Marquess, Tyson Rose, State Forester Steve Koehn, Mike Kay
This was a special meeting that we had planned to brainstorm various projects that we can undertake during 2011. In addition, State Forester Steve Koehn was present for the meeting. Steve intends to visit each Forestry Board during 2011. (Were we the first?)
The meeting was called to order and December’s minutes were approved following a previous revision.
Treasurer’s Report: Tom distributed a copy of the 2012 Budget he submitted to Frederick County. Tom was informed by the Office of Budget’s and Fiscal Planning that the Board should not request more than the $900 they received last year unless we provide rationale for increased funding. Tom provided such rationale and requested our historical appropriation of $2,000. Tom indicated that we have $9,609.20 in the Treasury; and, he wrote a check for $373.82 to Jeff Grills to purchase signage for the Frederick County Arboretum last month.
Logging Site Exams: Mike indicated that no logging site exams were submitted during the month. Steve inquired about the number of plans the board inspects during the year and Mike estimated that we inspect 30 sites. Steve suggested that we include this number in our budget justification since the Forest Service imposes a $100 fee for tax inspections, so using this criteria, the Board provides $3,000 worth of inspections to Frederick County during an average year.
State Forester Comments: Steve briefed board members on a number of items then he was part of the discussion on formulating our 2011 action plan. Here is a synopsis of Steve’s comments:
Ethics Commission: Steve mentioned that each Forestry Board member should have received an email from Lindsey Major which provides guidance on how to fill out the Financial Disclosure Statement. According to this email the board member should write N/A or “does not apply” on the Disclosure Statement, sign it, then submit it.
Steve sent around a couple of handouts that overviewed the changing workforce of the Forest Service the gist of these handouts was that over the last 10 years the “Classified”, full time positions with the Forest Service went from 135.5 to 86 individual “PIN’s”. The Budget has changed as well, during this time period the Forest Service has gone from receiving 65% of their funds from State “General Funds” to the present amount of 18%. As such, we now depend on Special Grant funding and funds generated by the Forest Service/Park Service Reserve Funds to make up 82% of our Budget. Steve indicated that this type of Budget makes it difficult to make long range staffing projections because we are dealing with short range, tentative funding sources.
Forest Resource Assessment and Strategies: Steve explained the process that the MD Forest Service had to develop to make themselves eligible to receive Federal funds. The Forest Service had to make an assessment of our forest resources across the state and develop a strategy to address three criteria a. Keep forests as forest. B Protecting forests from harm (wildfires, insects, disease, etc.) c. Enhance the value of forests. Given this framework a series of public input meeting was held around the state to solicit guidance from our various partners and the general public about what direction the Forest Service should take. (The Frederick Board sponsored one of these meetings at the Urbana library.) After compiling all of this input the Forest Service Developed the Document Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy which is the main guideline that we now use to run our operations and solicit funding requests. Steve distributed copies of this report and mentioned that this document is available online on the Forest Service section of the MD DNR Website. Steve suggested that board members review this document to learn more about our resources and get a feel from where the Forest Service is coming from.
Statewide Forestry Board Association: Steve mentioned how the sudden passing of Mel Noland has created a void in the leadership of the State Association. Some of the main functions of the State Association are to: be a direct liaison to Forest Service Headquarters, Administer the Natural Resources Careers Conference “aka Camp Hickory” program, Coordinate the MD Big Tree program, Run the Forestry Board Foundation, etc. Steve asked Frederick Board members to consider being a part of the State Association, he also asked members to think about serving as President or referring to him a person that they think would make a good candidate. Steve stated that we do not expect the new President to be another “Mel Noland “and that they can put their own stamp on their tenure. Steve also wished to point out that the Forest Service and other members of the Association will be available to assist the President with tasks that the president would choose to delegate. Steve asked members to consider what will be the role of forestry boards going forward. Steve asked that anybody who might be interested in an executive position call him to discuss this matter.
In closing Steve indicated that he is interested in learning more about the Frederick Board and stated that he is just a phone call away if a member would like to talk to him about anything.
Open Discussion: We discussed a number items about what we can do going forward in 2011. Here is a listing of these items:
Neighborhood Green: Mike indicated that he is meeting with Heather Montgomery and members of the Frederick County Sustainability Commission on January 20, to discuss obtaining funding to help cost share plantings and other activities through Neighborhood Green. Mike expects two of the landowners he worked with to plant trees next spring. Given this increase in momentum Mike asked Board members if they would like to sponsor another workshop in May. After some discussion a motion was made to provide support for this workshop similar to last year’s level. The motion was seconded and passed by those present.
Weed Warriors Program: We discussed contacting Carol Bergman and/or Kerrie Kyde to develop a Weed Warriors Program somewhere in Frederick County like a local park etc.
Increase Forestry Board Membership: Mike mentioned that it would be nice to add some members to the Frederick Board and that Mike had contacted Jennifer Willably and Donnie Schwier to see if they would be interested in attending a meeting or being on the Board. Both Jen and Donnie seemed interested but had to work during the evening of 1-10-11 and could not make the meeting. Mike mentioned that we should consider inviting them again for the March meeting since the February meeting corresponded with Valentines Day and both Jen and Donnie said they won’t be able to make it then. Mike asked members to consider inviting prospective members to one of our meetings. Perhaps we could hold a special meeting for prospective members?
International Year of Forests: Steve mentioned that 2011 has been designated as the International Year of the Forests and the Board could observe this event by staging a tree planting. A suggestion made was to provide every Boy/Girl Scout in the county with a tree to plant.
Firewise Program: Steve suggested that the Board consider sponsoring a fire safety Firewise Program in a community during 2011. Steve mentioned that Frederick County is the only area that has a 21 person wildlands crew in the state; and, the board might be able to provide some support for this crew if they need special training or equipment.
Tree Trail at Gambrill: Mike relayed how much the Tree ID Trail is in use at Gambrill and said that the Park Service asked Mike to inquire whether the Board would pay for the lumber necessary to build a large sign, at the entrance of this trail. Mike estimates that this sign would cost about $300. After some discussion a motion was made to fund the lumber necessary for this sign, the motion was seconded, and passed by those present. Mike also mentioned that some discussion is in progress about placing informative signs around Little Hunting Creek at Cunningham Falls Park but nothing yet has been decided.
Workshop for State and County officials: Steve suggested that the Board consider developing a workshop for state and local officials; P/Z Staff etc. to show case some facet of Forestry or Land Use Planning.
Forestry Board Brochure: Lynne suggested that we consider updating the Frederick County brochure. Jim said that he scanned the old edition and still may have it on his computer so that it would be easy enough to update it and print off copies.
Forestry 101: Perhaps its time to do another edition of this award winning training?
Developing Power Point Programs: We had a short discussion on how to publicize the many programs the Frederick Board undertakes. A suggestion was made to develop Power Point programs that various members can use to give speeches at local service, sportsmen, etc clubs such as Elks clubs. Topics of these Power Points could be NRCC program, Proper Forest Stewardship, Neighborhood Green etc. Doing this will help educate the public and spread the word around on all of the good things boards do.