Forest Resource Stewardship Plan Update- Public Outreach

Background

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

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no in-person public meetings will occur during the public outreach for the current plan update, however there are many ways that anyone interested in learning about the proposed plan and providing comments and questions, including:

* Draft report ready for internal staff review by December 4th;
* Participate in the 90% Public Draft starting at the citizen volunteer Natural Areas & Parks Advisory Board meeting January 13th, 2021.  https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/900431549.  You can also dial in using your phone.

(For supported devices, tap a one-touch number below to join instantly.) United States: +1 (786) 535-3211

- One-touch: tel:+17865353211,,900431549#

Access Code: 900-431-549

  • Participate or review the summary update and public outreach timeline presented to the Board of Commissioners on 1/5/21 here: https://www.co.benton.or.us/boc 

  • Participate in and/or review the Benton County Natural Areas & Parks Board meeting with Trout Mountain Forestry to discuss the current draft of the updated plan on 1/13/21.  

    https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/900431549.  You can also dial in using your phone.

    (For supported devices, tap a one-touch number below to join instantly.) United States: +1 (786) 535-3211

    - One-touch: tel:+17865353211,,900431549#

  • Participate in the web-conference public outreach meeting led by Benton County and Trout Mountain Forestry from 5:30-6:30 PM on 1/26/21.  This will be recorded and placed on our website as part of the project site materials.  Participation link for the meeting is as follows:  https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/906122997 
    You can also dial in using your phone.
    United States: +1 (224) 501-3412
    Access Code: 906-122-997

  • Read the full DRAFT Forest Resources Stewardship Plan Update (2021-2031) by downloading the full PDF located here:  (due to the file size the full PDF can only be downloaded from the above link.  Password:  stewardship#1 )  https://sftp.co.benton.or.us/public/file/EMpwqRrxBU25jThVH6DgFQ/Benton%20County%20Forest%20Resource%20Stewardship%20Plan%20Update%20Phase%203%20Draft%201.19.21.pdf

  • Watch the recorded online public meeting with lead staff and plan consultant Trout Mountain Forestry (following Benton County COVID-19 restrictions on in person meetings) on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/1dKhvPnUqNA

  • Public Comment Deadline on Tuesday 2/16/21.  

  • Check out the Frequently Asked Questions and answers provided below.  Citizens can provide comments and questions to the project coordinator at any time during the public outreach period (December 2020- February 16th, 2021)

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