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November 20, 2008 Minutes

Page history last edited by Kristina Ferrare 12 years, 11 months ago

Good Forestry in the Granite State

Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

November 20, 2008, 9 am to Noon

Conservation Center, Concord NH

 

Present: Will Abbott, Forest Society, Karen Bennett, UNH Cooperative Extension, Bob Bradbury, Landvest, Emily Brunkhurst, NH Fish and Game, Susan Cox, USFS Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, Ken Desmaris, NH Division of Forests and Lands, Kristina Ferrare, UNH Cooperative Extension, Geoff Jones, Forest Society, Don Kent, NH Natural Heritage Bureau, Rick Lessard, NH Timber Harvesting Council, Linda Magoon, NH DES – Water Division, Chris Mattrick, USFS White Mountain National Forest, Dave Publicover, AMC, Dave Tellman, Tree Farm Program, Dick Weyrick, Granite State SAF, Mark Zankel, The Nature Conservancy

 

Will Abbott called the meeting to order at 9 am. He reviewed the agenda and timeline and turned the meeting over to Karen Bennett.

 

Review September 18, 2008 Minutes

 

Chris Mattrick moved to accept the minutes with the following changes:

 

  • Correct the spelling of names on page 6: Erica Cate, John Aber

 

Emily seconded the motion. The motion passed. September 18, 2008 minutes will be amended and posted on the Steering Committee minutes page on the web site.

 

Interim Survey Results:

 

Karen presented the interim survey results for review.

 

Karen explained how we distributed the survey. Primarily by email news announcement to Granite State Division SAF, Land Trusts, conservation commissions, Coverts Cooperators, steering committee members.

 

67 people have participated in the survey and many did not answer all the questions. The number of participants includes steering committee members who took the survey.

 

She asked the group to consider:

  • what can we learn from this survey?
  • how might it help us ?
  • how will we use the information we learned?

 

 

Chris asked if the 27 respondents who had not taken the survey had been included in the number of those who had skipped successive questions. Karen and Kristina responded that that was correct.

 

Dave Tellman was disappointed by the response numbers. He had hoped to see more by the December 5 deadline. He was initially surprised to see that people only “occasionally” used it. He said that we should not be disappointed with “occasionally” – that is probably how the manual is most often used. Karen asked what number of responses we should shoot for – Dave offered that 100 responses would be nice.

 

Emily was interested in what chapters people thought needed the most revisions: wetlands, habitats, unique and fragile areas. The results reflected what the steering committee thought about making extensive revisions to these areas as well.

 

Karen thought we should reach out again to licensed foresters. Susan Cox suggested that the December 4 Forest Health workshop at Hubbard Brook may be a good opportunity. We could make paper copies of the survey and return envelopes available at that meeting.

 

Don asked about number of people who responded that they did not know the manual existed and/or did not have a copy. He wondered if those figures accurately reflect Good Forestry distribution. Karen responded that it was likely pretty close to the truth.

 

Dave Tellman said that when the first edition was published, it was widely publicized in the North Country and copies were easy to come by. Promotion has fallen off in the last 4-5 years and newcomers to the state may not know that the manual even exists.

 

Emily was surprised about the formats people were interested in: not hard bound copies or CDs but the three-ring binder. What about PDAs. Many more foresters are taking PDAs or pocket PCs in the woods. Chris Mattrick offered that any digital file of Good Forestry could be up loaded to a PDA or pocket PC.

 

Don questioned the level that Good Forestry is written at. Are we addressing the audience appropriately? Karen reminded the group that the audience is land managers, loggers, foresters, landowners, soil and wetlands scientists, and other natural resource professionals.

 

Don asked about the word “voluntary” in the title. Why not delete voluntary? It seems redundant since “recommendations” are not mandatory. Easements refer to the Good Forestry manual and, that isn’t voluntary. Also, regulations discussed in the manual are not voluntary. Why use the word in the title?

 

Geoff reminded the group that at the creation of the first edition, it was important to put an emphasis on “voluntary”. There was great concern that Good Forestry would become a regulatory document. Today we could probably no longer need to use the word “voluntary” in the title.

 

Karen suggested leaving the title in place for now and revisiting the discussion later.

 

Mark Zankel suggested that a discussion of the title was important to have. The title discussion was tabled for a future meeting.

 

Karen asked what the committee should do with the survey results.

 

Emily suggested that technical teams should look at survey results as they are working on their sections and consider the results. Karen reminded the group that we have reorganized the sections from the first edition organizational structure.

 

Susan referred to the comment on contradicting information. Emily said that we could deal with that in the introduction because there are different outcomes and choices based on objectives. Don said lets focus on the positive and call it “choices” instead of “conflicts” or “contradictions”. The group agreed.

 

Do the survey comments mostly reflect the answers of the people at this table? Can we screen out the responses of the steering committee? Kristina responded that only IP addresses are attached to the online responses.

 

Karen asked Rick about reaching loggers. He responded that the Timber Harvesting Council is accessible. There are 1500 members, but many of them don’t use email. Maybe we could email a subset of the group that we know uses email.

 

Don asked if the book is part of the Professional Loggers Program (PLP) and the licensed forester program. Karen responded that components of the book are used in the PLP. Sometimes copies of chapters are provided but many people would not recognize the book itself. Don asked why the book itself is not distributed. Karen said that the training curriculum for PLP is not directly aligned with GFGS.

 

Regarding forester licensure, if the book is too simplistic for the licensing process, shouldn’t we acknowledge that foresters then may not be using this book? Dave Tellman reminded that the licensure process is focused on regulatory information in NH, but Good Forestry is a general overview of concepts.

 

Don offered if the book is not useful to foresters, shouldn’t we acknowledge this and consider the direction the revision is going?

 

Dave Tellman suggested we consider giving the book to foresters when they become licensed. When Good Forestry is a reference for easements, foresters must be familiar with the book.

 

Geoff explained the public promotion of the first edition. There was an extended effort to promote this book. Over time that promotion has waned. We may need a more visible and consistent effort to promote this revision. Initially, foresters and loggers purchased a lot of this publication, and it is included in the forestry curriculum at UNH.

 

Mark asked if we are required to promote the publication as part of the grant. We need more than a one time outreach effort for the manual.  We should consider a more focused promotion for the long term.

 

Discussion of Draft Chapters

 

 

  1. Principles of Sustainability - no technical team has been assigned to this chapter.

 

Emily asked if we looked at the Northern Forest Lands Council Principles of Sustainability or the SAF Task Force Report to see if they updated their statements. Someone responded that these were one time documents and have therefore not been updated. Dave Publicover said the Montreal Protocol is the analogous statement now but discusses sustainability at a higher level – more biodiversity less recreation and aesthetics.

 

Dick added that the current Principles chapters does not state the role forests might play in stabilizing the environment for climate change, carbon sequestration, and ecological services. This is an important part of the sustainability question. He asked if that is relevant to the Principles chapter. It seems to fit under the Benefits section.

 

Geoff suggested that there should be a better introductory paragraph that defines sustainability and puts it in context. We should clarify why we are working on this document and ask ourselves how the layperson can better understand our work.

 

Dave Publicover agreed that said putting sustainability into a historical context would be helpful.

 

Bob Bradbury suggested adding a bullet saying forests have to stay forests to be sustainable.

 

Geoff offered to work on the Principles of Sustainability section and have something prepared for the group by the next meeting.

 

  1. Water Quality

 

Emily led the discussion as the Water Resources technical team chair.

 

Emily explained that the water quality chapter has expanded to touch on the subject of wetlands, riparian areas, and stream crossings. Other technical team members will look more closely at these subjects in their own chapters. This draft may have missed some in stream information. She also pointed out that the technical team itself has not completed its review and discussion of the draft either.

 

 Dave Publicover suggested referencing New Hampshire Timber Harvesting Laws. The SPNHF document is out of date, but Cooperative Extension has an up to date timber harvesting law book.

 

He also suggested not putting phone numbers in the body of the text. All contact information of agencies should be in its own section in the back. Linda felt strongly that the number for NHDES should be in the text as well. If there was an emergency such as a spill, the number would be easily available. This could save time in serious situations.

 

Dave Tellman suggested that emergency or regulatory issues should have a phone number available in the text. Chris Mattrick said that all numbers should also be available in a section in the back as well.

 

Don asked about the way he had organized the document and what goes under each heading in the chapter. Karen referenced page eight in the first edition as a guide to organizing content under the chapter headings. “Recommendations” are on the ground practices.

 

Emily cited the consideration of NHDES requiring Best Management Practices (BMPs) as an example of when a consideration and a recommendation may be similar or even the same.

 

Karen asked about the recommendation regarding vegetation removal on a watershed. What scale of watershed is important?

 

Emily acknowledged that all scales are significant and discussing scale is very important. Some of the discussion will happen in the riparian section, which is not written yet.

 

Mark suggested adding “municipal water supply” to the recommendation regarding brooks or streams draining into a water supply reservoir. He also suggested adding a sentence explaining that the water supply representative may have specific recommendations about management to minimize impacts.

Mark raised a question about referring people to specific data sources. Should we add a recommendation that points people to appropriate data sources, or perhaps add a data source section. Karen suggested leaving data sources in considerations for now.

 

Emily offered that an appendix can list appropriate data sources, current only as of date of publication. The “living version” of the document on the web can be continually updated.

 

Bob Bradbury asked to consider the audience for a moment. He suggested that foresters should already know about contacting a water supply representative. Rick Lessard asked about the likelihood of a logger actually working on water supply land. Emily said a water supply company may depend on a private stream for water supply. Ken suggested expanding the statement may be appropriate: tell people how to know if they should be contacting the water supply company.

 

Will said it is important to note where your land is on the watershed. This is not really stated in the chapter. “Your Land and the Larger Landscape” may be a good place for this notion.

 

Geoff asked if we needed a chapter on Geographic Information Systems since GRANIT is an essential data source. Karen reminded the group that data sources are beyond electronic sources. Paper maps are okay too.

 

Will asked the whether or not the revised Good Forestry would be a “living document” on the web. Karen asked to table that discussion as there are many implications to making the manual a live web document. The discussion was tabled for a future meeting.

 

Don asked about the recommendation of the 50 foot buffer? Why was this stated in the water quality section as buffers are a difficult subject because determining appropriate buffer size depends on site specific considerations such as soil type, slope, geomorphology, surrounding land use. Stating 50 feet may give the incorrect impression that this is a one size fits all proposition.

 

Mark said the discussion of buffer widths belongs in the riparian chapter. Perhaps the water quality chapter should simply refer to the riparian chapter.

 

Dave Publicover suggested that we may want to define “disturbance”. He used this statement as an example: “Minimize disturbance of mineral soil near surface waters” and “Maintain a suitable buffer between surface waters and managed areas”.

 

Ken suggested telling people what the desired outcome is rather than what to do exactly.

 

Mark responded that it is important to give numbers for people working on the ground. He suggested framing the buffer discussion with a minimum width and some ranges with recommendations as to how to decide if there should be more or less of a buffer. We should give resource managers some latitude and trust their professional judgment.

 

Geoff agreed that the concept of buffers needs to be better explained. People need to understand what goes into a decision about buffer width, such as town and state setbacks and recommendations of various organizations. There should be a discussion of the different recommendations and why they are different. This discussion emphasizes the importance of the decision and the need for professional assistance. The average person needs to understand the big gray area that buffers are.

 

Don asked if we needed an entire section on buffers. Would that be any different from the riparian areas chapter? Someone asked if it is helpful to foresters to separate the discussion of buffers from their associated resource? Chris Mattrick said that it is important to have the buffer discussed in the same context as its resource.

 

Geoff suggested having that separate discussion and cross referencing back to the appropriate resource areas.

 

Dave Publicover suggested a call out box in the riparian chapter about buffers.

 

Don suggested a buffer chapter with three or four chapters referencing regulated resources and non-regulated resources. Linda Magoon pointed out that DES regulates buffers on tidal wetlands and prime wetlands. Karen suggested a sub-chapter within water resources.

 

Chris Mattrick suggested putting the buffer sub-chapter in the front of the manual.

 

Linda suggested letting the technical team write the riparian chapter and see where it goes. The buffer question can be revisited then. Mark agreed but stated his opinion that buffer discussions should be in context with the appropriate resources. Perhaps we could provide a little context about buffers and why it is an important concept. The context could address how the word buffer is used throughout the book?

 

Geoff supported a separate discussion of buffers. Collating and the having discussion in one place is important to understanding the complexities of making buffer width decisions.

 

Karen said the group would look more closely at this issue when the riparian section was written.

 

  1. Seeps

 

Don Kent led the discussion as the author of the Seeps chapter.

 

Don explained that he recrafted the definition of seeps. He added three paragraphs to explain what seeps are and why they are important to rare plants and wildlife.

 

Someone pointed out that the chapter should state that the NH Natural Heritage Bureau should be contacted for information on how to minimize and avoid impacts to seeps. Don said he would also add information on buffers and setbacks.

 

Dave Tellman suggested adding woodcock and grouse to the wildlife species that enjoy seeps early in the spring.

 

Dave Publicover inquired about the five types of seep – communities. He asked if there are seeps which should be considered that do not constitute a specific community. He suggested focusing on the most commonly encountered seep communities and then describing others.

 

Mark pointed out that acidic forest sphagnum seeps are found from the White Mountains north. Mark also asked if, while there are recommendations for harvesting around seeps, are there explicit recommendations about harvesting in seeps.

 

Karen asked if there are actually reasons to harvest in seeps, such as the removal of trees and shrubs. Chris Mattrick suggested that it is better to ask if there is a reason not to harvest in seeps. Harvesting in the seep could potentially dry out the seep more quickly. Perhaps only a specific type of harvest is appropriate. Mark suggested that this would be an important consideration

 

Ken thought that the seep might be wetter if vegetation was removed due to decreases evapotranspiration. However, increased solar radiation would change the temperature and may also change the community.

 

Dave Tellman suggested advising landowners that they should flag seeps so operators know where they are and avoid harvesting in them.

 

Dave Publicover suggested that the best practice would be to avoid harvesting in seeps, but if you have to, use single tree selection to minimize impacts.

 

Seeps should be flagged like riparian zones or perhaps mapped with GPS.

Don will add a line that says harvesting in or near seeps may alter the community.

 

Chris Mattrick asked about what size of seep we are discussing. It is possible that there would be many, many little seeps in an area. Are the management concerns the same?

 

Karen noted that Don had added human-made seeps to the definition. She asked why we needed to make people aware of human-made seeps and why they are important. She asked if there are implications about managing human made seeps that are different than natural seeps. Don replied that human-made seeps may be regulated in the future. Dave Publicover added that seeps may or may not serve the ecological function of natural seeps.

 

Chris Mattrick suggested recommending knowing the soils and slopes of the site and avoiding creating seeps when laying out logging roads.

 

Will Abbott asked if we are changing a recommended practice by avoiding harvesting in seeps. Karen suggested doing some research about the effects of logging on seeps. Will agreed and reminded the group that if we make a change to recommended practices, we have to have a good rational for making that change.

 

General comments related to editing

 

Karen reminded the group of a few key points of editing on the wiki and the importance of editing/adding new information to existing first edition chapters. Using strikethroughs to show deletions and a different color font, it is easier for readers to compare the first edition text with revised/new text when it is done in the body of an existing chapter. Some committee members asked about directions for editing on the wiki. Kristina will revised and update the editing instructions and resend them to the group.

 

Technical Team Updates

 

Karen referenced the revised table of contents in the September draft minutes to guide the discussion.

 

Forest Stewardship Planning– Karen Bennett, chair

 

Peter and Karen are working on the stewardship chapter. The material in the planning chapter will likely also impact the “First Steps in Forest Management” chapter.

 

Timber Quality and Flow – Chuck Hersey, chair

 

This team is meeting Tuesday, November 25 for the first time. They are currently conducting an internal review of first edition material.

 

The Timber Quality team will work on the NH Forest Types. Emily asked about the cross walk to natural communities. She will send excel file of WAP cross walk to Karen for distribution to the Timber Quality and Flow team.

 

Soil Productivity – Karen Bennett, chair

First Edition text being reviewed by NRCS staff: Joe Homer, Don Kierstead, Jim Spielman

Water Resources – Emily Brunkhurst, chair

 

Wetlands chapter is written and being reviewed by the technical team. The chapter will be ready for discussion at the December meeting. The vernal pools chapter will be written by Jessica Veasey, a UNH graduate student. The riparian areas chapter should go to the technical team for review by the end of December. Jasen Stock is working on the streams and stream crossings chapter.

 

Habitat

 

Emily is reworking her draft of the Rare Wildlife chapter. She is not certain if it will be ready for the December meeting.

 

Don Kent promisedat least one, and possibly two chapters for the December meeting.

 

Landscape and Stand Level Considerations chapters will be considered by the same team. The committee cannot make progress until after January 1. They are currently doing an internal review of the appropriate first edition chapters.

 

Aesthetics and Visual Quality – Geoff Jones, chair

 

Bob Bradbury will join Geoff Jones. They will have a draft prepared for the December meeting.

 

Recreational and Cultural Resources – Karen Bennett seeking chair

 

She is meeting with Bob Spoerl, Division of Forests and Lands on Friday, November 22. Don Kent suggested Edna Feighner of the Division of Historical Resources as a team member or advisor on this team. Rebecca Oreskes was also suggested. Dave Publicover offered to help.

 

Forest Health – Chris Mattrick

 

Invasive plant group has recommended practices drafted out. Chris will try to present the draft at the December meeting, most definitely by January 2009.  Insects, Diseases and Wind Damage will be split into Forest Pests and Diseases (Kyle Lombard and Dennis Souto) and Other Damage Causing Agents (wind, ice, tornado, drought). It is not likely that these groups will get going until January.

 

Someone asked about moving the discussion of controlling logging damage to Forest Health. Perhaps a cross reference or crosswalk to controlling logging damage will be sufficient.

 

Chris explained that he is holding back on the climate change chapter and would like to see where sustainability is going. Susan Cox suggested that Linda Heath may be discussing climate change in her ecosystem services chapter. It may be a good idea to wait and see if or how she addresses this issue.

 

Are there on the ground practices to recommend? The Forest Guild has made some management recommendations in their document, Climate Change, Carbon, and the Forests of the Northeast. Don suggested framing it as an evolving issue. Emily responded that the evolving climate change issue is a perfect example of how a “living document” can be very useful. It can be updated continually as more information becomes available.

 

Harvesting Systems – Ken Desmaris, chair

 

The committee will meet in the afternoon. It is not possible to commitment to a draft for the December meeting.

 

Non-Timber Forest Products – Kristina Ferrare, chair

 

Roger Monthey has completed the non-traditional forest products section. This was posted to the web site on Wednesday, November 19. It will need more editing but will be ready for the December meeting. Steve Roberge is working on the maple chapter and that will be ready for the December meeting as well. Susan Cox said she will touch base with Linda Heath, who is writing the ecosystem services piece and ask about her progress. Kristina currently does not have anyone working on the Christmas tree chapter. Will Abbott had a person to recommend and will speak to them directly and get in contact with Kristina.

 

Appendices

 

Emily is working on the map of third order streams and higher.

 

Plan of Work and Timeline

 

Several members asked about the April 30 deadline and whether that was flexible or not. Keeping that deadline may be difficult due to the volunteer nature of the project. Will Abbott said we should be mindful of the deadline to be sure we had the resources to finish printing the manual when it is complete. He suggested revisiting the discussion in December when we’ll have a better idea.

 

Karen referred to the timeline handout and said we had completed the Goal Setting Phase, with the exception of the public listening session, the Information Gathering Phase, and had begun the drafting stage. She wanted to discuss the first public listening session and what we are planning to do to capture stakeholder input.

 

Karen proposed the Granite State Division SAF meeting in February 2009 and the Farm and Forest in February 2009. Susan Cox suggested a display at Farm and Forest and the ability for stakeholders to give their input and leave comments. Karen has also committed to a session Saving Special Places in April 2009.

 

Regarding Granite State SAF, Dick said we may be part of the afternoon session. That would allow more time for presentation and discussion. Dick thought that SAF could offer a significant length of time in the afternoon for a seminar and discussion. He offered to run it by the executive committee. Karen noted that we could ask questions that we need guidance on – a great audience for that. Will suggested discussing the controversial subjects with the group and having those discussions early on in the process.

 

Dave Publicover suggested that by February 2009 it may be too late in the game for a first listening session. Karen responded that it would be a blended discussion at that point – a review of some drafted sections and some discussion.

 

Will suggested using the SAF meeting as a launch for the public listening session.

 

Susan Cox suggested bringing the survey to the December 4th Forest Health workshop. Karen liked that idea and agreed to contact Wendy Scribner to arrange it.

 

Farm and Forest would be the first public listening session. Karen was looking into reserving space on Friday at the Expo for this purpose.

 

Will suggested that he and Karen will come up with a plan for the listening session to discuss at the next steering committee meeting.

 

Dates for the next meetings

 

The Steering Committee will meet at the following times:

 

Date

Time

Location

Thursday, Dec 18, 2008

9 am Noon

Conservation Center

Thursday, January 22, 2009

9 am - Noon

Conservation Center

Thursday, February 19, 2009

9 am - Noon

Conservation Center

Thursday, March 12, 2009

9 am - Noon

Conservation Center

Thursday, March 26, 2009

9 am - Noon

Conservation Center

 

Action Items

 

Preparation of draft chapters for presentation at December Steering Committee meeting:

 

Wetlands

 

High Elevation Forests

Old Growth Forests (tentative)

Aesthetics & Visual Quality

Invasive Plants (maybe)

Non-timber Forest Products

Maple

Ecosystem Services (maybe)

 

 

The meeting concluded at Noon.

 

Notes submitted by Kristina Ferrare.

 

 

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