Forest Conservancy District Board
March 10, 2014 Meeting Minutes
Those Present: Ginny Brace, Jim Arnold, Claude Eans, Steve Thrasher, Tom Anderson, Heather Montgomery, Keith Schoonover, Vince Perrotta, Andy Driscoll, Gary Allen, Eric Sprague, Mike Kay
Healthy Forests – Healthy Waters Presentation
Gary and Eric started the meeting off by explaining the Healthy Forests – Healthy Waters Project. Gary mentioned some of the history behind the formation of Forestry Boards, their mission, and how this initiative began. Gary also distributed a handout that contained much of what he discussed. Essentially the Forestry Board Foundation was able to partner with the Forest Service and Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund to obtain $125,000 to implement stream restoration and BMP (Best Management Practices) i.e. (erosion control) projects. This is a two year program with the first year serving as a pilot. The Forest Service asked their staff to list projects that they would like to be funded by this program and nearly 90 projects were cited. Due to available funding nine projects were identified for the initial program in Allegany: 2, Baltimore: 1, Carroll: 2, Frederick: 1, Queen Anne’s:3. Gary mentioned that once the projects were fleshed out and bid out, the expense of the program rose to about $160,000. Eric offered some specifics about the project in Frederick County. The Frederick County Project is located on the Harry George property near Petersville (south of Jefferson on Rt. 180). Mr. George has a 160 acre farm and he already established some plantings through Frederick County’s FRO program. Harry worked with Eric and Mike to identify an additional 19 acres of riparian buffer plantings and some invasive species control projects. Patriot conservation services are the contractor doing the work. A clover cover crop is being planted in the fields today (3-11-14). The trees and shrubs will be planted later this month once we can obtain them from the nursery. The contractor will be installing 5’ tree shelters. Invasive control of the ailanthus that surrounds the fields being planted will occur this summer. Patriot is expected to maintain the site for 2 years and they guarantee 65% survival by the end of the time period. Gary also mentioned that they would like a Forestry Board member to detail this project by taking some before and after photos and writing a description of the project and its results. The Forestry Board will be presented with an I-Pad to conduct this project which is theirs to keep. Vince volunteered for this assignment and Gary, Eric and Vince traded contact information. Vince should be receiving the I-Pad in about 1 week. Gary and Eric fielded a number of questions then they thanked the Board for their time and exited.
- Call to order: Keith called the meeting to order.
- Treasurer’s Report: Tom mentioned that we have nearly $6,000 of funds dedicated to Neighborhood Green in the Treasury. Heather mentioned that she asked the contractor Conservation Services to invoice the Board once the plantings were finished. Tom also mentioned that the Treasury received $4.21 in interest and a check for $100 to offset the expense of NRCC from the Garrett County RCD.
- Logging Plans: Mike mentioned that no plans were sent to the Board this month.
- Statewide Meeting: Claude and Tom attended this meeting and briefed the Board on some of the highlights.
- Steve Koehn provided a briefing of the state of the Forest Service.
- Claude was struck by the number of tree planting initiatives that were discussed. In particular there is an initiative called Journey through Hallowed Ground that is planning on planting a tree for every soldier killed during the Civil War on a stretch of highway between Gettysburg and Charlottesville. Aaron Cook, Washington County Forester is the Western Region liaison with this program. Gary and Eric also spoke about the Healthy Forests Healthy Waters Project and Marian Honeczy spoke about the Lawns to Leaf initiative. Laws to Leaf is similar to our Neighborhood Green program in that it offers incentives to plant trees in suburban lots. This program is being launched in the Central Region this spring.
- Of particular importance was that the State Association wishes to update the Forestry Board Manual and asked membership to review the current document and recommend various changes. The Association would review responses and hopes to adopt a new manual by July 1, 2014. Mike thought he had emailed copies of this document but perhaps that was not the case. Mike will contact Becky Wilson and make sure he is sending the correct document to members for their comments.
- NRCC: Printed copies of the brochure were distributed at the meeting and Claude was able to obtain a supply which he distributed at our meeting.
- Officers: The State Association is soliciting new officers for 2014; and, Claude volunteered for consideration as the Western Regional representative.
- Big Tree Program: There is a movement to check and purge the list of trees that should no longer be listed. Frederick County’s list is fairly up to date compared to other counties.
- Insect and Disease outbreaks: Gypsy moth has returned to Garrett and Allegany counties and some suppression will be done there this spring. The cold weather is expected to reduce hemlock adelgid numbers somewhat but other insect pests are more sheltered and not likely impacted.
- FCC Program: Ginny and Mike have begun their Making a Difference in Your Corner of the World course at FCC. Classes are scheduled for Tuesdays during March 4, 11, 18 and April 1. The first class was an introduction to the natural resources of Frederick County. The course on the 11th has to do with ecology and it will include a walk through the campus to look at some ecological communities. The 3rd course is about invasive species and will include some invasive identification on campus. The fourth class will consist of planting a 20’ x 10’ area with native trees and shrubs that Ginny wishes to purchase from Stadler’s Nursery. Ginny spoke about Stadler’s new potted native species plant material that is intended to be used in larger scale reforestation projects. Ginny said that the stipends earmarked for instructors is being used to purchase plant material but asked if the Board would consider funding the purchase of other plant material. Some discussion ensued about where the trees would be planted; as to which Ginny mentioned that the planting would take place in open ground the site still to be determined and the Maintenance Staff at FCC would maintain this planting. Heather suggested that we consider funding some signage for the project like (Funds were donated by the Frederick County Forestry Board.) Heather mentioned that she suggests approaching MUCFC for funding for the signs. After some discussion Ginny was asked to make a motion which was,” Ginny moves that the Forestry Board supplement the stipend up to $100 to pay for planting material at FCC. This motion was seconded and passed by members that were present.
- Neighborhood Green: Heather began her report by saying that she and Eric Sprague are conducting a program entitled Woods and Your Wallet at the Extension office this coming Wednesday May12, 2014 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. This program will overview many of the cost incentive programs available to landowners as well as talk about easements. The Catoctin Land Trust is helping sponsor this program. Heather also mentioned that the land trust is looking for Board Members. Heather mentioned that all of the 2014 sites have been visited by the planting contractor (Conservation Services) and they expect to plant on March 28, 29. We expect to plant 36 acres this year which will fulfill the 50 acre 2 year projection for the grant. Heather is also working with Wildlife Biologist Donnie Rohrback to establish meadow on some of these properties. Finally Heather mentioned that Neighborhood Green will be expanded next year to include tree planting along with other activities such as planting larger caliper growing stock, rain gardens, erosion control devices such as rain barrels etc and other landscaping activities. The target area for Neighborhood Green is now within areas where native brook trout streams exist such as Tuscarora Creek etc.
- Nature Notes: Ginny mentioned that we have a bit of a backlog but can always use more articles. Tom indicated that he submitted an article about Hell Benders last summer but it never ran in the paper. Ginny will look for this article and resend it to the paper.
- Web Page: The State Association is upgrading their content and asked interested Boards to begin using their format. Boards with well established sites such as the Frederick Board are encouraged to continue as is.
- Other Business:
- Tom needs 50 of the 5’ tree shelters for some American chestnut he will be receiving. Vince suggested that Tom put the chestnut in 4’ shelters to begin with then graft an extra foot of shelter on those tubes that have living trees in them as a plan B if he cannot obtain five footers.
- Claude and Mike are participating in the Tree Farm Arbor Day program in Annapolis on April 2, 2014. We will be distributing free seedlings near the Capitol and Mike will receive an award as Tree Farm Inspector of the Year.
- Mike invited interested parties to plant trees at Woodsboro Regional Park on Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 8:30 until noon. A very tasty lunch buffet follows this program FYI. Mike mentioned that we will be planting about 1,600 trees along a 5.0 stretch throughout the park and expect nearly 200 planters to help out.
- Gift of Trees: Heather mentioned that the Forest Service has funding for free trees through the Gift of Trees Program in Tree Mendous to be planted at public places such as schools parks etc. Mike mentioned that he has been able to utilize these funds for plantings at Waterford Park and Cunningham Falls State Park.
- Keith mentioned that he has been asked to move his sawmill off of a farm that is being considered for an agricultural easement by some mandate in this program. After much discussion Heather mentioned that she would speak to Anne Bradley of Frederick P/Z who administers this program in the county to try to get some dialog going. Most members agreed that Keith’s operation that services many farms with lumber is a rural natural resource based enterprise and fits well with agricultural based activities. Board members asked Keith to keep them in the loop and pledged their support.
- Journey Through Hallowed Ground: Following the meeting I asked Aaron Cook to provide a briefing on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground project and he submitted the following: JTHG is an attempt to turn the US 15 corridor from Charlottesville, VA to Gettysburg, PA into a national scenic highway by planting a tree for each soldier (north and south) , 620,000 total, who died during the American Civil War. The tree species and size classes needed for this project are very specific, they must have red in the common name, red foliage or flowers to be considered. There is a list of primary species (red), along with secondary non-red trees that can be planted to fulfill diversity requirements. Each tree will be georeferenced and incorporated into an online database that will sync to an application for smartphone devices. This will enable a visitor along the route to look up the tree they are at, to learn (if information is available) the soldiers name, rank, date & cause of death, and other information. The trees to be planted must be at least 2” caliper stock, and are guaranteed to survive (through funding to replace trees that die). The planting is to be done by volunteers, including students, along with professionals from trade organizations and state, federal, and local governments.
We are on a holding pattern with this project at the moment, the NPO would like money but, we are only interested in facilitating projects on the ground, not financing them. Stay tuned for updates.