Forest Resource Stewardship Plan Update- Public Outreach
Benton County Natural Areas & Parks Department (NAPD) has worked with a contract forester since 2000 to develop Resource Stewardship Plans, to provide management recommendations over a 10-year planning period. Each plan provides guidance of management actions at Beazell Memorial Forest, Fitton Green Natural Area, and Fort Hoskins Historic Park, with an emphasis on sustainable forestry and forest stand enhancement/conservation. General objectives of the plan include:
- Promote diverse wildlife habitats to support a wide range of native biodiversity,
- Use and demonstrate environmentally sensitive management and harvest techniques to restore habitat,
- Maintain forest health, and improve tree quality, maintain a conservative harvest level to provide ongoing funding for park management,
- Meet sustainable forestry guideline standards and adapt management over time to changing knowledge and resource conditions. NAPD managed timber harvests use a variety of silvicultural techniques to create structures that benefit wildlife and native biodiversity, where limited natural disturbance occurs, and uneven-aged stand structures are developed through sustainable timber harvest and management activities.
Timeline- Public Outreach Presentations & Participation
The 10-yr update of the Forest Resources Stewardship Plan project over the last year, has resulted in significant enhancement for the 3rd update of this vital natural resources plan, including significant public outreach and engagement.
An overview of major project milestones, as approved by department directors and NAPE Advisory Board, completed during the plan update period is provided as follows:
- Completed public meeting with Board of Commissioners and NAPE Advisory Board with Public Notification in January of 2020, to introduce the 10-year plan update;
- Coordinated public Field Trip in January 2020, attended by 20 community members as a project kickoff and to share past work and plans for update;
- Public NAPE Board meetings throughout 2020 dedicated to updating the methodology and goals of the plan;
- Press releases sent to Board of Commissioners, email updates, and postings to the public outreach information on NAPE website and Facebook page (820 subscribers) throughout plan development period;
- Public release and notification of RFP in April 2020, citizen review of proposal, followed by awarding of plan update to Trout Mountain Forestry during June 2020. See RFP website here: https://www.co.benton.or.us/parks/page/forest-resources-stewardship-plan...
• Parks Advisory Board review and requested edits of early draft plan, with voting for Public Comment Period to be extended during December Parks Board meeting from 2/9/21 to 2/16/21;
- Update to BOC at 1/5/21 Work session, with overview of plan updates and approval of public outreach process and timeline;
• After staff and Advisory Board review of earlier plan drafts, posting of the public draft plan on the public outreach page was completed on 1/13/21 for start of public review. See public outreach webpage for plan update here:
• Presentation to Oak Creek community group via virtual meeting on 1/18/21 and provided an update at the time with the download information to the meeting organizers and attendees;
• Trout Mountain Forestry consultant and County held virtual public meeting on 1/26/21, and this was recorded and can be viewed directly here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dKhvPnUqNA&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=BentonCountyNaturalAreas%26Parks
- Benton County Forest Resource Stewardship Plan Update 2020 Public Presentation (Arc GIS story board presentation): Guiding 10-years of sustainable forest management at Beazell Memorial Forest, Fitton Green Natural Area, and Fort Hoskins Historic Park https://arcg.is/1PC9ff
• Direct outreach to Confederated Tribes of Grand Rhonde and Siletz Tribes for review (as required under FSC Sustainable Forest certification) on 2/1/21.
Public Comment Deadline ended Tuesday 2/16/21. Comments and questions to the project coordinator at any time during the public outreach period (December 2020- February 16th, 2021)
Check out the Frequently Asked Questions and answers provided below.
Final Plan and Plan Addendum are provided below as PDFs for download.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What's the history of the Resource Stewardship Plan Update?
Staff and the Natural Areas & Parks Advisory Board volunteers, spent several months starting in January 2020, to develop an RFP that would serve the public good to develop a 10-year plan for the stewardship of the parks and natural areas covered under these planning documents. On April 8th, 2020- the Benton County Natural Areas & Parks Advisory Board and Board of Commissioners completed minor updates to the Project Timeline with Board of Commissioners review of the final RFP. The RFP specifically provided a detailed timeline and process for receiving and responding to questions provided by any interested organization. Extensive work also occurred to ensure broad solicitation and communication of the RFP including: April 14th, 2020- RFP published on Gazette Times, Albany Democrat Herald, Capital Press, Daily Journal of Commerce, and our department Facebook page. The RFP materials and support documents, including any published addenda were also published on two county RFP websites and can still be reviewed at: https://www.co.benton.or.us/parks/page/forest-resource-stewardship-plan-... Given the above summary of the process and resources provided, the department developed and released an extensive, objective, and transparent RFP to solicit private sector proposals.
2. How was the project proposals solicited and reviewed?
Trout Mountain Forestry provided the sole proposal within the RFP requirements and provides a plan to achieve the elements developed in the RFP for public stewardship of these natural areas and parks. As such, their proposal was evaluated by the voluntary Evaluation Committee and the Natural Areas & Parks Citizen Advisory Board.
3. What is the goal of the plan update?
The general scope of work includes significant GIS mapping/data development at the resource management unit level and development of management timelines for these properties including but not limited to: commercial harvest of conifers, conifer stand enhancement, oak woodland release, wildfire resistance, carbon sequestration, enhanced forest resiliency, sensitive areas protection, and recreational development.
4. Will timber harvesting occurring during the 10-year plan period?
Yes. Sustainable forestry operations including thinnings for historic plantation stands, wildfire prevention, and other areas that were mapped during the plan period as Sensitivity Class 3 or 4 (dominated by planted/natural recruitment Douglas Fir Trees) will occur. All timber harvest work will be completed to the highest standards of sustainable forestry guidelines including but not limited to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
5. How will the plan be implemented?
Natural Areas & Parks Department developed a natural resources division during 2015, and staff have taken a lead role in overseeing plan development and implementation. The result is a continued enhancement of services within county lands where direct oversight is provided by staff, and contractor success is enhanced. During past plan implementation periods (2000-2020), a ‘Timber Services Contract’ was awarded for 5-years plus several contract extension options. The timber services contract has only provided for a single forestry contractor to oversee and retain a percentage (or hourly fee) for all forest management and timber harvests. The Department has changed this approach to develop several natural resources services contracts during the new plan period (to be identified through various RFPs). This will allow for an increased contractor pool providing the county with the best suited contractor for each project element identified in the plan, along with staff coordination and oversight to achieve park/resource specific goals