MEETING OF MARCH 17, 2006
Present: Mike Ahern, John Baird, Melissa Hutson, Pablo Jourdan, John Milam, Ellen Walker, Bill Stalter, and Drew Todd
Guest: Dan Balser, Rich Cappell, and John Dorka
The meeting began at 10:00 AM with introductions, and a thank you from John Dorka to Bill Stalter for the invitation to join the ONLA annual banquet. John shared with the group that he and other State Foresters are supporting an increase in urban forestry funding. He also mentioned that expanding the Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) to include urban forest data is also one of their priorities.
John also stated his interest in a program to retrofit schools to burn wood. This is mainly being done in the west, but it does have applicability here in Ohio as well. A typical school can be heated with approximately 20 truckloads of wood per year. The average retrofit costs between $750,000 and $1,000,000. Ellen Walker suggested that the Ohio School Facilities Commission needs to have ‘buy in’, because they make grants available for school construction. Currently there are few, if any ‘green sensitive’ elements in their funding criteria. John Milan stated that CINergy takes all their wood chips to the Formica plant in Cincinnati.
When asked how OEPA would view an increase in wood burning, Mike Ahern said that OEPA doesn’t permit for heating and comfort, yet.
Chief Dorka also shared with the group that for the first time, the Division of Forestry is using part-time contract labor at our Marietta State Nursery. A second shift is being contacted to sort, grade, and package 500,000 seedlings over a three-week period. Currently, the mostly Hispanic workers are a week ahead of schedule.
John also stated that this is the last year for the Mead Free Tree Program. Since it’s inception, Mead has purchased 12,000,000 seedlings from us to give to Ohio landowners.
John concluded by saying that the American Chestnut Foundation is seeking Division of Forestry land to outplant American chestnut trees for research.
Drew Todd and Dan Balser spent most of the meeting reviewing the Urban Forestry Program’s Emerald Ash Borer activities. This includes an Urban EAB Management Plan being promoted by the Regional Urban Foresters and currently on the UF website. The major focus of the management plan is to help communities manage the costs associated with EAB. Action elements include ash inventories and removal, canopy replacement and care, and a realistic budget and timeframe. Drew also discussed the federal and state dollars being used for various grants. During this discussion, the Committee approved the process for notifying communities of these grants.
Drew mentioned that Ellen Walker will host a ‘How Do Townships Work?’ program for the Regional Urban Foresters in April. This will greatly help the foresters become more familiar with the township operations.
Drew also shared his experience with the Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan group, as well 2005 TCUSA accomplishment statistics. And finally, Drew told the group that he and Pablo Jordan were discussing the possibilities of OSU, ODNR, and the Forest Service partnering in two minority training and recruitment grants.
During Open Comments, Ellen Walker stated that Delaware County Greenways Forum was sponsoring ‘Designing Healthy Communities: Sharing our Success and Planning for the Future’ on April 6th.
Melissa Hutson said that Hilliard would be providing up to 18 ash detection trees to ODA.
Bill Stalter said the he and a 19 member Ohio contingent, joined 300 people nationwide as part of a Washington DC ‘fly in’ to discuss immigration reform. The group received mixed signals, but their consistent message had to do with ‘status adjustment’ for those individuals performing the hard jobs that Americans traditional don’t consistently fill, and who are paying into our system.
With no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned at noon. The next meeting was scheduled for the Columbus Forestry office on Friday, June 16, 2006.
Urban Forestry Coordinator