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May 11, 2009 Minutes

Page history last edited by Kristina Ferrare 12 years, 5 months ago

Good Forestry in the Granite State

Steering Committee Meeting

Monday, May 11, 2009

9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

 

Will Abbott, Forest Society, Karen Bennett, UNH Cooperative Extension, Bob Bradbury, Landvest, Emily Brunkhurst, NH Fish and Game, Phil Bryce, Fountains America, Susan Cox, USFS State and Private Forestry, Ken Desmarais, NH Division of Forests and Lands, Kristina Ferrare, UNH Cooperative Extension, Geoff Jones, Private Forester, Don Kent, NH Natural Heritage Bureau, Bill Leak, USFS Northern Research Station, Rick Lessard, NH Timber Harvesting Council, Chris Mattrick, USFS WMNF, Linda Magoon, DES, Will Staats, NH Fish and Game, Jasen Stock, NHTOA, Matt Tarr, UNH Cooperative Extension, Dave Tellman, NH Tree Farmer, Mariko Yamasaki, USFS Northern Research Station, Dick Weyrick, GSD SAF, Mark Zankel, TNC

 

 

Karen convened the meeting at 9:08 a.m.

 

Review of Minutes

 

Dave Tellman motioned to accept the minutes from April 14, 2009 as presented. The motion was seconded by Will Staats. The minutes passed with no changes.

 

 

 

Review of Draft Sections

 

4.5 Heron Colonies

 

Mariko facilitated the discussion. The majority of changes are in the recommended practices section.

First edition recommendations focused on Maine guidelines, which set up zones around a colony. Management restrictions decreased the further out you get from the colony. The experience of the technical team indicates the prior edition’s recommendations were not defensible. Management recommendations depend greatly on the specific colony.

There is no current survey of heron colonies in NH, but data suggests small colonies and small nests may be ephemeral. Therefore, there should be more flexibility in the system. The team recommends limiting activity within 5 chains of a colony – but ascertain if nesting birds are beyond the 5 chains and respond accordingly. 

 

Dave Tellman asked if NH Fish & Game notifies landowners if it becomes aware of a heron colony on their land.  Emily responded that it would be good to know if there was a natural heritage check. Heron nests are tracked through natural heritage. Dave stated that landowners should not be held responsible for mistake in management around heron colonies if they are not aware they are on their property. 

 

Phil said that it why it is important to state in the document the importance of landowners knowing their property and the natural resources it supports.

 

 

Referring to the first paragraph in the Issue section, Mark Zankel asked if the majority of heron colonies are close to wetlands and shoreline feeding areas. Mariko agreed that is the case, although there can be colonies located miles from these areas. Mariko agreed to rework the sentence to reflect this.

 

 

Karen asked if rookeries are regulated. If there are legal protections they should be mentioned. Emily stated that disruption of an active nest is a violation of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

 

 

Phil emphasized that it must be clear throughout the document what is protected by law and what is not.

 

 

Jasen Stock asked if it is the animal that is protected, not the nest. Yes, that is correct. Cutting a tree with a nest in the winter does not violate the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

 

 

Jasen asked about the status of Blanding’s Turtle. Emily explained that protections are very different between threatened and endangered species and migratory birds. Don pointed out that there has to be intent with a taking in order for a landowner to be held accountable. You cannot be prosecuted if it is an accidental taking.

 

 

For consistency, the group agreed to include a statement about federal protections for active heron nests. Mark said it is important to get clarity on what it is that is illegal. Emily will do this and speak with US Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

 

Mark then asked if the Recommended Practices should state not to cut a tree that supports an active heron rookery. Karen pointed out that rookeries are reused, so that we might even state that you should not cut a tree with a nest in it.

 

 

Matt agreed that the recommendation is appropriate. Even if the nest goes unused for several years it may be used again even by ospreys or great horned owls.

 

 

Geoff Jones said if one was to compare the first edition recommendations to the proposed revised edition, there appears to be a relaxation of some of the standards. He suggested that there should be more explanation of the why the recommended practices have changed.

 

 

Phil said that the section “How to Use this Document” will explain that a review of the science shows that the revisions to the first edition are based on the best available science. Some of the recommendations are more restrictive and some are more relaxed.

 

 

Karen said we make reference to new road construction. Although we understand this to mean forest roads, we should explicitly state forest roads. Mark said then we should do it throughout the book. Karen agreed that is appropriate. It is important to make a distinction between forestry activities and development.

 

 

Emily stated that we should also recommend no recreational development in the designated areas. Phil said we should recommend trying to avoid locating a trail there, but acknowledge that it may be unavoidable.

 

 

Phil asked whether it is sufficiently clear what needs to be done during breeding season versus not during breeding season. Emily said we should specify the months, April through August, as active nesting times.

 

 

Don wanted to verify that a chain is an understandable unit of measurement that our audience would understand. He also asked how we might address the buffer issue. Matt suggested, “whenever possible locate roads or trails outside the buffer, but at a minimum avoid activity during active nesting (April – August)”. Don asked what the buffer should be. Matt responded, 330ft. sometimes more or sometimes less.

 

 

Will Staats asked how one would ascertain whether birds may be disturbed beyond 330 feet. Will the birds and the nests be disturbed if you are beyond the recommended 330 feet? We need to clarify when one needs to be beyond 330 feet. Karen said yes, or perhaps leave that recommendation out.

 

 

 

Bald Eagle Winter Roosts

 

Mariko explained that this chapter is not very different from the first edition. There is an increase in bald eagle populations in the winter in NH. There is still a need for protecting roost sights. Big white pine stands are still needed for roosts. The reference in text is the latest information (Sweeney, 1999). The recommended practices come from the bald eagle web site at NH Fish & Game.

 

 

Susan asked if we should mention that there are more eagles over-wintering here. Matt agreed that this could be included in the introduction.

 

 

Matt asked if we have a good sense of where the roosts are located.  Mariko said they can be seen in the winter but not the summer. She said we know where they have been, but do not know new places. One must know where they hunt during the day and as the evening comes, they move to their roosts and are difficult to find as the light lessens.

 

 

Karen asked about consideration two. Are there more specifics that can be included? Mariko said on slopes, roosts are in lee of the wind – an eastern aspect. Karen suggested adding that roosts are out of the wind and have an eastern aspect.

 

 

Bob Bradbury asked if eagles have the same protections as herons. Emily explained that eagles have their own protections for nesting but they are different for roosting. Bob said the statutory information should be included, even if it is in the appendix.

 

 

Emily explained that roosts are protected when it comes to environmental review for development purposes. Phil said we need to be explicit that these recommendations are for forestry and forestry activities, not development.

 

 

The section “How to use this book” will be very important. It should have a section on relationships with laws. Bob Bradbury suggested being clear on recommendations versus regulations.

 

 

Mark asked about bullet one under recommended practices. He asked what forestry activity someone would do to achieve bullet one. Emily said that bullet relates to the riparian chapter. Phil asked if the riparian chapter has sufficient recommendations to protect roosts. Mark responded that the riparian chapter will have recommendations to protect numerous values.

 

 

Karen explains that she reads the bullet as against houses, camps and development of shorelines. Perhaps this bullet is referring to permanent land protection. Mark pointed out that this statement can be interpreted in a variety of different ways. It should be clarified or deleted. Karen said it should be clear about no development – limiting structures and buildings.

 

 

Karen said that since the goal of the document is to integrate multiple values, one way to accomplish this goal is to permanently protect land. This is a valid recommendation.

 

 

Will Staats asked if we make this overarching statement about integrating multiple values and permanent land protection elsewhere in the book. Geoff said we should be specific about protection of undeveloped shoreline from permanent development. Mark said that statement could be made in every chapter. Karen stated that it is appropriate here because shorelines are an especially vulnerable part of the landscape.

 

 

Jasen pointed out that we are talking about permanent loss of habitat and permanent land conversion. Bullet one is a development or construction issue, not a forestry issue. Phil said shorelines are a small area that is at high risk for conversion. Bullet one needs clarification.

 

 

Susan pointed out that bullet three actually addresses a forestry practice. Perhaps this should be the first bullet. The existing first bullet could then be moves further down the list of recommended practices.

 

 

Jasen asked whether Natural Heritage or Fish & Game have data about eagle roosting areas so if a landowner consults these agencies, their questions could be addressed. If we are directing people to an agency, we should be sure that the agency can answer questions.

 

 

Emily reiterated that they can only know for certain about winter nests. Will Staats asked whether ½ mile distance inland from the shore was too much distance to avoid harvesting. Mariko said sometimes eagles roost up to a 1.5 mile away. Phil stated the distance inland may depend on whether shoreline is developed or not.

 

 

Jasen said if the location of roosts is not known, won’t landowners get into trouble more easily when conducting management activities. Emily pointed out that the recommendation talks about identified wintering areas and roosts. The majority of these areas are in Merrimack River and Great Bay areas. Emily said she would check on what data was available about known locations.

 

 

Don said he would check the natural heritage database and if there are documented locations, he’ll confirm with Mariko that the NH Natural Heritage Bureau should be listed in the recommendation along with the other agencies.

 

 

Rick Lessard noted that removing ½ mile inland from the shore out of the management area is significant. That is a big proportion of the land base.

 

 

Geoff suggested that instead of automatically extending the buffer inland ½ mile, perhaps we should suggest that people should be looking for roosts when they are marking. Don’t assume people are going to do the wrong thing. Ask people to look and be aware.

 

 

Emily suggested sending the chapter to Chris Martin at NH Audubon for review. Additionally, Emily will look at data available through NH Fish and Game.

 

 

Jasen asked why the recommendation states the Nongame and Endangered Species Program coordinator as a contact and not simply the NH Fish and Game department. Ken suggested that if we say the Fish and Game department, we should say “biologist”. The group agreed to change it to NH Fish and Game biologist.

 

 

Phil suggested that a description of what a typical white pine stand with roosts and wintering areas might look like would be helpful.

 

 

 

Rare Wildlife

 

Emily explained that this is a new chapter. Recommended Practices are organized by species or species group.

 

 

Dave Tellman asked about bullet one under considerations. In his Wonders of Wildlife classes through NH Fish & Game, species are referred to as common, uncommon, rare and threatened and endangered. Bullet one seems to say that rare and uncommon are the same condition. The bullet should read “Rare wildlife, by definition, have limited distribution”.

 

 

Don asked if rare is defined in statutes or rules. Emily said no, only threatened and endangered species are. She also said there is another category: species of special concern. Rare is mostly a colloquial term.

 

 

Don asked whether rare means threatened and endangered. No it does not. Perhaps we should change rare to wildlife species of greatest conservation need. Let’s stay consistent with the language in Wildlife Action Plan (WAP).

 

 

Susan said we should be consistent with units of measure, acres and hectares, throughout the chapter.

 

 

Jasen questioned the format of listing recommended practices by species and said it may be confusing for landowners. It is unclear what we are recommending to the landowner when it is organized in this manner.

 

 

Phil suggested that we make sure we have what we want in the section and then address the organization of the document.

 

 

Emily wondered whether the recommended practices would make more sense organized into a table with species, habitat type and recommended practices. The species and habitat crosswalk in WAP is in process, but will not be ready for a year or so.

 

 

Emily said the species listed in the draft chapter are species the technical committee felt were affected by forestry. Karen suggested adding more direction up front – look for the habitat type and you potentially may have the species. Only then would the landowner read on to the recommendations.

 

 

Will Staats said that is the issue. Landowners do not know what they potentially have. The Issues paragraph really could apply to any wildlife, not just rare wildlife. We need to better define the issue. There are species of conservation concern here in New Hampshire. What is the connection between forestry activities and these species?

 

 

Matt agreed and said that the considerations are appropriate for wildlife management in general.  The chapter as presented addresses some species but not others.  It does not provide enough information to manage for any. The considerations are appropriate for wildlife management in general. Do we need to mention specific species?

 

 

Karen said the stakes are higher for landowners that have these species on their property. If they do not have them, it is important to point out that the landowner may not have a role to play with this species. Matt responded that the intent of the chapter is not clear.

 

 

Emily said that the original draft was more general. The Fish and Game staff recommended specifying the species in WAP. There are other species that could be added. Phil pointed out that we have addressed deer yards and nesting/roosting sites for species that are more common than some of the species identified here.

 

 

Geoff Jones offered that there are some species in NH that are dependent on specialized habitat. That habitat is in decline. This statement gets to the core of the issue. We should propose solutions to this.  This chapter is the beginning point to learning more information. The issue must be statement more clearly.

 

 

Don stated that we have endangered species and species of concern. There are some laws and regulations associated with these species. We should use a crosswalk between the species of concern and the forest types. If the landowner has that forest type, they may then easily identify species that may be there.

 

 

Dick supported the idea of a matrix with species, the unique aspects of their habitat, and recommendations. A landowner can quickly go through the list and proceed from there.

 

 

Karen asked if it would be useful to have range maps for species. If landowners lived out of the range they need not go any further.

 

 

Mark pointed out that four of the species are northern forest conifer species. If we are writing something analogous to deer yards, perhaps we add a chapter on these four species. The rare wildlife chapter is a one page chapter with a short issue statement, objective, considerations and recommendations and references. The sub chapter will focus on forest species and incorporate some of the other suggestions made today.

 

 

Matt agreed that this format could provide more detail and therefore be more useable.

 

 

Mariko agreed that addressing a high elevation conifer habitat component makes sense. The Canada lynx, spruce grouse, three-toed woodpecker and American marten all use this habitat. The palm warbler and interior forest birds require a whole mixture of habitat types for success. The turtles and amphibian can be addressed in the vernal pools and wetlands discussion.

 

 

Someone then asked if we should have a grasslands/shrublands section as that is a rare habitat type in New Hampshire.

 

 

Will Staats pointed out that martens do not require spruce-fir habitat.  Emily responded that the chapter may focus on northern forest types, and spruce fir is simply a component of northern forest types.

 

 

Will Staats asked if we will have other chapters on specific species and the associated forests types. Phil said when we have all the pieces; this may be one way to organize the document.

 

 

Karen recommended keeping the four northern forest species within the Rare chapter and avoiding a spruce-fir sub chapter.

 

 

Mariko pointed out that management for lynx and marten are very different.

 

 

Phil pointed out that we have approached the book by habitat and by species. If landowners have the habitat type, they may see the species. Although we may not

 

 

have the whole detail of management for a specific species, we should present enough information so landowners have a big picture of the forest for management and operations planning. We do need some level of detail so people understand what to do.

 

 

Phil added that the recommended practices for each species must be clear.

 

 

Mariko asked if there are many more species than those presented in the draft. Emily said there were many, and she is open to adding more species. Matt pointed out that all the other wildlife related topics are based on habitat type. This chapter is not.

 

 

Bill Leak added that early successional habitat is critical. There should be a separate chapter for this. Turtles are critical. There is a wetland and vernal pool chapter. We are missing northern forest types. Perhaps we need to determine what else is not covered in other chapters.

 

 

Emily responded that turtles use multiple habitats – uplands as well as wetlands. The Rare chapter should pull out some of the species that also multiple habitats and discuss the importance of large blocks of contiguous forests.

 

 

Will Staats said that the recommended practices section should use bullets to more easily compare and contrast the difference in management requirements

 

 

Phil asked if the chapter should serve a coordinating role. Species of concern are listed throughout the document. It will be interesting to compare the recommendations of management of martens to management of deer yards. The details are important.

 

 

Mariko added that it must clearly be stated in the document that every wetland is associated with an upland. A lot of agencies have gone to a more generic softwood cover component as an umbrella habitat. If the deer yards chapter were titled Softwood Cover, or Softwood Habitat, the marten and others would fit nicely into that chapter.

 

 

Phil suggested that we consider rolling other species into DWA and softwood cover. If you want to manage for deer follow one set of recommendations and if you want to manage for marten, follow another.

 

 

Jasen asked if discussing this many specific species isn’t going into too much detail. He gets a lot of questions that are game-oriented. Landowners want to know what habitats support big game. The level of detail we are discussing is more like the WAP.

 

 

Jasen suggested keeping the discussion focused on forestry practices. We cannot easily draw a line as some species need different kinds of habitat at different stages in their life. Mention the habitat-types and put them in a table stating who uses them.

 

 

Phil reminded the group that we have a good knowledge of silviculture, but one of the purposes of GFGS is to integrate other attributes with other land uses. Wildlife is one of these other attributes.

 

Jasen said the average landowner would be overwhelmed if they needed to consider specific songbirds. Phil agreed that we do need to decide where to draw the line, but we need to show that we can protect multiple resource values. General knowledge that a habitat is good does not help with on the ground management. Also, habitat management is different for different species.

 

 

Will Abbott added that we must avoid oversimplification of something very complicated. There is not a simple answer.

 

 

Mariko added that foresters and habitat biologists are aware of the practices they use to maintain a specific condition over time. Managing at a landscape level should be discussed. People are more comfortable with the parcel level management.

 

 

We must consider whether we are managing the vegetation in a way that different species and habitats are represented or are we defaulting back to specific species and recommendations. We should be thinking on the landscape level.

 

 

In the recommendations we need to mention that landscape level perspective may not have been addressed in this chapter. Phil asked whether we state explicitly that it is important to maintain a diversity of stand conditions, structures, cover types and habitats. Do we have structure and composition goals in the first edition? Emily pointed out that landowners only have control over their parcel.

 

 

Will Staats said we must address species of conservation concern. Emily said it would be important to add bat roosts. Matt responded that bat roosts fit into the existing cavity/snag text. We should mention of species of conservation concern and direct readers to sections that deal with those.

 

 

We should keep the chapter on deer wintering areas because the habitat benefits many other species. Phil asked how do those recommendations compare with spruce grouse and American martin. Matt said the comparison is easiest to do when the text is organized by habitat, not by species.

 

 

Will Staats said we should be careful about rewriting the DeGraaf, Leak and Yamasaki book. Of course we must refer to it, but we do not need to rewrite it. Phil said we should not assume that people will read that book.

 

 

Phil referred again to the hierarchy of recommendations. Keep forests as forests and include more details on the habitat type and individual species.

 

 

Don asked if the discussion had gotten off track. Landowners need to know what they have for habitat and what they need to do to avoid a take of species of conservation concern or endangered species and maintain the habitat. We should not go beyond any of that.

 

 

Matt so far we have concentrated on habitat types that could occur anywhere in NH. Do we really need a heron colonies section? They are not so common in NH. Fewer landowners will be faced with the need to address them on their property.

 

 

Mariko suggested looking at the chapter as a spruce fir habitat discussion and then addressing species of concern in considerations and recommendations.

 

 

The rare species chapter would list the habitat type and the species and then refer the reader to the appropriate chapter. In this scenario, Dick’s matrix may be possible. Species of concern could cross walk with the habitat type.

 

 

Phil asked how many more species of concern could be concluded. Emily said there are 123 in the WAP, and more have been added.

 

 

Referring to canopy closure recommendations for the American marten, Phil asked if we should be getting to that level of detail. Will Staats said no. We should refer people to the section on DWAs, and then people need to get more information. We must state that management practices may change slightly depending on the species. Phil said the discussion can become more sophisticated and we need to keep in mind how much detail should be left in.

 

 

Will Abbott asked what the next easiest point of reference is for people. Will Staats responded it was Bill, Dick and Mariko’s book.

 

 

Emily, Will and the wildlife technical team will work through the reorganization of the Rare Wildlife chapter. Don suggested aggregating references together.

 

 

Bill asked whether there will there be a landscape level chapter or discussion in the book. Karen said it will be in the chapter “Your land and the larger landscape”. Phil asked Bill take a look at that chapter and determine what the discussion should be.

 

 

 

Streams and Stream Crossings

 

This chapter was written by John McGee and Emily Brunkhurst. Much of the information in the chapter comes from the ME and NH Best Management Practices for Forestry guide. The BMP booklet has a good method to determine culvert size. Pipe diameter is determined at 1.2 x stream width. These recommendations are the best one can do. They tried to contrast temporary crossings vs. permanent crossings meant to be kept open. They do address bridges as a preferred crossing method.

 

 

Susan suggested separating out temporary and permanent crossings more explicitly. There are a lot of temporary options that people may not be aware of.

 

 

Bob said that permanent bridges require a higher level of permitting. Phil agreed that different crossings require different permitting. Linda Magoon said RSA 482:A says streams that flow year round require a DES permit. Phil said it is difficult to determine where we are referencing DES jurisdiction in the document and what we are recommending is best for wildlife.

 

 

Don suggested we capture the tenets of DES rules in the Issues section. He asked if we differentiate between perennial and intermittent streams.

 

 

The stone and polled ford discussion is interesting. Many people use them although they are not in the new BMP manual. Does anyone know about taking material out of the crossing afterwards? Bob responded that in ME added material must be removed at the end of the job.

 

 

Phil and Karen asked what the other options are or what the specific circumstances are when a stone ford is preferred. Geoff noted his experience of a stone ford reinforcing the water level of a beaver pond in an existing road bed. A culvert had been added to it. Removal of the structure would cause more damage to the stream bed.

 

 

Phil asked how often culverts are added to a stone ford. Geoff said a stone ford disperses water over a large area and preserves the road bed. Phil said the fords are good in areas where one cannot install the preferred sized culvert. Emily noted that the recommendations presented in the draft are based on BMPs for animal passage, not managing storm flows. From that perspective, a ford is essentially a dam blocking movement of aquatic animals, debris etc. What about fords and culvert combinations? Emily responded that still restricts stream flow.

 

 

Ken said that NRCS guidelines suggest matching culvert size with drainage area, but in that case culvert size would be huge. A smaller culvert allows fish passage but the rocks allow water passage. When there are no fish in the stream, a stone ford will suffice. In his experience, he has been told that leaving the ford in is less damaging that taking it out.

 

 

Phil said it is important that we emphasize the wildlife focus in this chapter.

 

 

Jasen said the reference to regulations is important. He asked whether the NH stream crossing guidelines were finished and ready for review. These are still in a draft stage. Jasen was hesitant to reference the guidelines if they are not out yet and have not been reviewed. Emily said they should be published at the same time as GFGS. Jasen said he will need to run this chapter by the NHTOA policy committee of foresters, landowners and loggers for comment. Some of the discussion so far has been about stone fords and buffers. If any of these practices were to become required and not voluntary, the policy committee considers whether or not they could live with the practice. They are the technicians and can say what is reasonable or not. They consider whether the practice is practical and what it does to the cost of a timber sale.

 

 

Don asked how the exemption for forestry comes into play. Karen responded that while exemption is mentioned, the implication is not correct. There is a requirement to get appropriate permits.

 

 

Jasen wanted to be certain that the text does not imply that forestry practices are bad for stream ecosystems. Phil wondered if removing the reference to water quality would help, and presenting the recommendations as strictly for habitat. DES practices to protect water quality may not thoroughly address habitat.

 

 

Karen said she would hope stone fords could be used with appropriate culverts.

 

 

Phil reiterated that the relationship of temporary versus permanent crossings and associated regulations must be clearly stated. Appropriate BMPs should be stated as well.

 

 

Dick asked about the definition of a ford. His understanding is the stream bottom is stable and one could drive through it without disturbing the stream. Stone material can be added to these bottoms.

 

 

Bill asked if the fords were recommended only for truck roads or skidder trails as well. Phil said DES discourages fords for skidders because it drags material onto the ford and into the stream bed.

 

 

Rick said fords build up ice during the winter which is problematic for trucks.

 

 

The right size culvert and the right sized drainage impacts the economics of the entire operation.

 

 

This section has a narrow focus on culverts for wildlife. Should there be a wider discussion of culverts with regards to water quality? Phil is concerned that the discussion around these will become regulatory.

 

 

Matt said this chapter should cover all the topics that the forest landowners may be faced with. Phil asked why DES would not adopt these standards in their rules. Emily responded that NH stream crossing guidelines are the practices that should be followed and DES looks to these guidelines.

 

 

Mark said the stream crossing guidelines were developed by a working group lead by NH Fish and Game. BMPs for water quality are covered in DES rules and amendments. Linda pointed out that forestry practices may be exempt from these proposed new guidelines.

 

 

The chapter should state that it integrates water quality and wildlife goals. Following the recommendation means going “above and beyond” for wildife habitat goals.

 

 

Mark said some of the language in chapter sounds regulatory. Softening this language would help. One exception to this is the recommendation “Do not move the stream channel”. That language will be left.

 

 

Emily suggested taking a graded options approach to sort out the water quality and habitat levels of management. Linda will help with DES regulatory language.

 

 

 

Vernal Pools

 

The vernal pools draft was written by Jessica Veysey at UNH.

 

 

The section is long and needs shortening. This chapter is based on an extensive literature review. There has been a lot of research since the first edition was published.

 

 

Phil asked if UNH Cooperative Extension has a brochure on vernal pools. Matt said there is a brochure in the Habitat Stewardship Series. Matt said this is a very basic brochure primarily for landowners. It is not restrictive at all.

 

 

Karen said she found the draft quite restrictive compared to what she understood to be the research coming out of UNH.

 

 

Matt said the new state definition of vernal pools should be stated up front. Those wetlands created anthropogenically are not covered by regulations. Linda said we need to make the distinction. The state’s definition of vernal pools is very narrow.

 

 

Mark said the Issue text is very good, although it is too long. In terms of recommendations, think about what any landowner who wants to practice responsible forest management should do. If you want to optimize vernal pool habitat, there are more restrictive practices. The practices that everyone should do need to be up front.

 

 

Linda agreed that Issues section is thorough, but maybe breaking it into sections would make it less daunting to read.

 

 

Dick asked about the no cut or partial cut radii. There is no discussion of them before the recommended practices section. Also, using a 540 foot buffer affects 21 acres. These numbers are very restrictive.

 

 

Bob pointed out that insect salvage is not the only reason to cut in the no cut zone.

 

 

Phil said there is a distinction between maintaining vernal pools and maintaining habitat that is used by these species. We must make the distinction. Emily agreed that is a complicated relationship.

 

 

Matt said we should refer people to literature on landscape scale wildlife habitat protection.

 

 

Phil referred to the nutrient dispersal value of vernal pool species and asked if this is a hypothesis or is this proven.

 

 

Mark said there is research that shows that salamanders are a large portion of forest biomass.

 

 

Bill said that if the maximum migration from the pool is 1650ft, the buffers seem to be overdone by comparison.

 

 

Susan noted that at a recent vernal pool workshop there was much discussion about the shade and heat component to the vernal pool. Emily said the temperature of the pools is critical to egg and larval development. We need to protect the adult population and the buffer does this. The question is whether the buffer should be a no-cut buffer.

 

 

Matt doubted that current research supports a no-cut buffer especially at the size noted. Perhaps a partial harvest buffer would be more appropriate.

 

 

Under recommendation paragraph two, Karen said that discussions of partial harvesting should reference canopy cover. The paragraph should be revised. There was also a question about cable-yarding and if that was appropriate to include as this practice is not common in New Hampshire.

 

 

Phil suggested taking a closer look at the hierarchy of protection of the recommendations. There should be a clear statement about why the area around vernal pools needs to be managed in an integrated manner.

 

 

If we are going to use specific numbers for buffers, make sure the associated literature is discussing forested areas not non-forested uplands.

 

 

Will Staats suggested that there be more clarification on the recommendation “to maintain the integrity of the forest floor to the extent possible”.

 

 

Mariko said the recommendation to maximize downed woody material should be clearer. Downed woody material should not be placed in vernal pools.

 

 

Geoff said the salient points for recommendations are keep machines and slash out of vernal pool basins, keep pools shaded and harvest in winter. These are lost in the great detail in this section.

 

 

Will Staats said we should recommend that landowners know exactly where pools are when planning a harvest operation.

 

 

Phil agreed that it should be stated up front in GFGS that to do good planning, inventory in all seasons first.

 

 

Phil thought it important to state that the vernal pool function being protected will determine the buffer ranges. He asked if there was a correlation between the size and function of a vernal pool. There is no correlation.

 

 

 

Future Meetings

 

Karen said the remaining chapters that need to be discussed are introductory chapters on management planning, your land and the larger landscape, wildlife chapters on woodland raptors, bald eagles and ospreys, permanent openings, rare plants, stewardship, riparian areas and ecosystem services.

 

 

Karen will pull together a draft of what we have reviewed to date. In the next meetings, we need to spend most of our time reviewing new chapters. We should dedicate a separate meeting to discuss the full book.

 

 

The next meetings are:

 

 

Thursday, June 18, 2009 9 am - 3:30 pm

Wednesday, June 24, 2009  9 am- 2:30

Thursday July 23, 2009  9-2:30

All will be held at the Forest Society's Conservation Center.

 

Notes submitted by Kristina A. Ferrare.

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