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Joint NEWFC/CNF Meeting – June 14, 2007

Joint NEWFC/CNF Bi-monthly Meeting

Attending: Fred Way (CNF), Don Gonzales (CNF), Rick Brazell (CNF), Steve Rawlings (CNF) Jim Parker (CNF), Linda Fee (CNF), Russ Larsen; NEWFC: Lloyd McGee (president), Dave Heflick, Tania Ellersick, Russ Vaagen (vice-president), Tim Coleman (secretary), Dick Dunton, Maurice Williamson, Phil Carew


1. Words from Lloyd & Rick

2. Update silvicultural meeting

3. Future fire control planning

4. Fire Salvage

5. Travel Mgmt planning

6. Projects update

7. NEWFC monitoring

8. Stewardship / recreation

1. Lloyd update: NFF granted $15 for NEWFC administration. We’re in the process of developing monitoring protocols for Burnt Valley and Trout (v. Deadman).

Rick update: Proof of Concept is moving forward. Working with conflict resolution specialists, working with county commissioners to hash out PoC – will start middle of July. Objective is to create performance contract – emphasize outcomes; move away from board feet to acres treated, recreation class, number of jobs created. Working on budget – R6 thought CNF was asking for too much. Had asked for $22M and R6 cut that to $17M. Lawsuit re forest planning, presently working on 2008 rule, similar to 2005 Rule. Under court’s order FS can have meetings but can’t talk about 2005 Rule, can’t talk about planning regs – can continue to plan. Plan revision funding runs out in 2008.

2. Update silvicultural meeting held week of June 4:

NEWFC met with CNF in field. Started out with discussion about thinning. Regeneration discussion was not fruitful. CNF wants to know what our “bottom line” is. Key question: what density do we work down to, re basal area and what is the threshold for reentry? If thresholds NEWFC agrees to are followed that would mean a project wouldn’t need further collaboration, otherwise NEWFC would enter into collaboration with CNF. Objective is to improve efficiency – even a small improvement will be beneficial.

Q: CNF -- slope, soils, aspect, harvest systems, etc., all play into harvest prescriptions.

A: NEWFC -- plant associations will be used as a guide.

Q: CNF -- did you discuss regeneration prescriptions?

A: NEWFC -- yes; one important discussion about concept instead of taking 40 tpa, calculate 20 tpa in half the unit and in the other half compensate for the difference; polka dot affect; key issue: how do you break up the uniformity so that end result looks more natural? Tree diameter plays a major role (ie; 20, 14” trees looks way different than 20, 21” trees). How will loggers work around patches and how much do you remove and how long will that last before re-entry are all important questions.

CNF will be using LIDAR to assess 125,000 acres this year. Condition class is another concern – what does early or late seral look like? Not trying to change wildlife forage objectives. Designation by description could be a useful tool.

3. Future fire control planning

Steve Rawlings gave a PowerPoint about Appropriate Management Response (AMR). There is a changing perspective based on cost. Percent of budget going into fire management: 1991-13%; 2000-21%; 2008-45%. 1) acres burned up 8%; 2) costs/acre 1.5%/yr; 3) total costs up 10%. FS is taking a fresh look at large fires. 85% of fire budget spent on 1-2% of fires. Type-1 helo = $60K/day. Colville budget: $2.2 M allocated to fire; $1M in additional mixed severity/small fires (initial attack). Since 2001, CNF has spent $28M with a 99% success rate in initial attack success; 1% change would cost $28M over 6 year period.

Implications: reasonable to assume that we’ll have large fires in the future. AMR: total perimeter control, cost control means avoid controlling entire perimeter. R6 will be more involved (once fire reaches $2M), overseeing fire events. Decision Support Group: region office has trained individuals to help make better decisions, including modeling and risk management. Chief’s representative will be involved in more expensive fires to review (once costs exceed $10M).

Tripod was assessed and risk factor and fire spread defined; $75M was spent and suppression didn’t really have a huge influence on it. FS Pro is computer simulation which estimates risk. Strategies: continue initial attack, reduce risk, maintain natural fire regime. Policy: protect life & property (including timber); firefighter safety; resource management not diminished. Future: less full containment; fire footprints may be larger; eventually some cultural changes but with less environmental impacts.

4. Fire salvage

Should the coalition talk about salvage before or after a fire? NEWFC is developing recommendations what to do after a fire, especially where are the no-brainers?

5. Travel Management Plan

Nov. 2005 Rule. Goal is to create a safe and affordable recreation system through collaboration with the public. 650 miles of motorized trails designated during Phase 1 planning. Focus of system is on existing roads. 2005 state law was changed to permit ORV use on forest roads, which currently represents about 15% of forest road system. There are 12 project areas being looked at currently (Phase II planning). Objective is to have collaborative group bring a proposal forward. Instead thus far CNF has received a laundry list of proposed trails. NEWFC is addressing this need.

“Roads” analysis has been renamed to “travel” analysis. Travel map will be updated annually. Developing criteria what experiences user groups are looking for.

6. Project updates

Don handed out a list of current projects (attached).

7. Coalition monitoring scheduling program

Coalition has funds from RAC (Title II). Burnt Valley, looking at trees per acre and size class to determine if project implementation outcomes match expectations. Information will be used for the next Stevens Co. project (Summit-Pierre). Had been looking at Deadman but likely will instead look at Trout to assess if diameter parameters match up with collaborative agreements. Forest Service will be asked to participate. Information will be used to help improve Malo-East Lake (adaptive management).

NEWFC is currently developing the protocol and field criteria. Jim Parker commented that he felt monitoring should be part of a collaborative process. Concern is that monitoring report could create conflict; best way to avoid this is to continue to collaborate.

8. Stewardship & recreation

Law restricts retained receipts to be used for restoration work. Rick offered that what could be done is to design stewardship project unit skid trails / landings to match up with recreation trails proposal. Key is to bring the proposal to the ID Team early on during project planning (Rick). Under new watershed planning all aspects of multiple benefits will be looked.

- Next meeting August 16, 1 pm, Conservation District