Present: Laura DeYoung, Bill Stalter, Drew Todd, and Ellen Walker
Guest: Lisa Bowers
Drew Todd began the meeting at 10:00 a.m. by welcoming the Committee’s newest member, Laura DeYoung. Laura is an Environmental Planner with EnviroScience, Inc. and will fill the Planner Chair. Laura has a strong land-use planning background. In her previous position with Davey Resource Group, Laura provided the scientific data for guiding environmentally and economically balanced development for communities. Welcome to the Committee Laura!
Under Chief’s Comments, Drew briefly discussed the Division’s financial situation, which is unchanged, and the status of the recent buyout package.
Central Ohio Regional Urban Forester Lisa Bowers reviewed her efforts working with Harlem Township. Lisa’s initial township contact came from their shade tree commission. Subsequently, she has helped them do a survey of township trees, held a pruning workshop with residents and workers, had a planting for the trustees, and implemented a tree planting cost-share program. Harlem Township is viewed as a model for future township contact and work.
Drew mentioned that he submitted an article to Ohio Municipal League and Ohio Township Association for inclusion in their monthly magazines. The story dealt with the City of Girard and the choice they had to make between a quick economic fix using their municipal woods and the more environmental and economically sound choice they made. Laura mentioned that some communities had contacted her about this article.
Drew then discussed the Division of Forestry’s million-dollar Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) proposal that is being submitted to the USDA Forest Service. The proposal’s intent is to help reduce EAB brood trees in NW Ohio woodlots and municipalities. The heart of the Division’s plan is to hire four new project employees for this purpose. The project employees will be hired for a three-year period and devote all their time to this effort. Two of them will be Service Foresters and work exclusively with private woodland owners helping them deal with ash trees in their woodlots. One will work on EAB information and education efforts, and the fourth will be assigned as an EAB Urban Forester. This person will administer the Canopy Restoration Program, and various ash reduction grants with communities. An additional $145,000 is being sought to provide urban residents a monetary incentive to preemptively remove potential EAB brood trees from their properties. [Editor’s Note: The four new EAB positions were posted on June 13th.]
Drew shared copies of the USDA Forest Service Final Report on Ohio’s Urban Forestry Program’s Five-Year Review. The report was a positive endorsement of our program, its direction, and accomplishments. Drew also stated that he would meet later this month with Anne Cumming, Ohio’s Federal Urban Forestry Program liaison to discuss the development of the program’s next Five-Year Plan.
Drew is still trying to fill two committee chairs and asked the group if they felt it was more appropriate to change the Shade Tree Representative position to an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency position. The group concurred, and Ellen offered the name of a potential candidate. Drew will follow up on this. Drew also mentioned that he was having difficulty filling the Ohio Department of Transportation seat. In light of EAB and the transportation corridors throughout NW Ohio, Drew felt that it was important to have them participate on the Committee. Drew will continue to pursue their membership.
The regional urban foresters raised two items during their annual winter review, which involved Committee members. The first was the development of tree planting specifications jointly endorsed by the industry and ODNR. The objective is to increase transplanting success by providing municipalities with the most current and acceptable tree planting procedures. Thanks to Committee member Bill Stalter and the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, this has become a reality. [Editor’s Note: A copy of the final document (pdf format) will be sent with these minutes.]
The second item requested by the regional urban foresters was additional training in land-use management and the tools communities can use to address development. Thanks to USDA Forest Service funds, our newest Committee member Laura DeYoung will host an Environmental Planning and Zoning Education Workshop on July 13th at the ODNR complex. [Editor’s Note: The 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. program will be held in the Mineral Resources Management conference room in H-2. This room seats 20 people comfortably. If you’d like to attend the no-cost workshop, please let Drew know. Lunch is on your own.]
When discussing “Grant Idea”, Drew offered his newest thought on securing funds for a statewide tree planting and care grant program. Drew asked for the group’s input on having the USDA Forest Service convene a “roundtable” on the inclusion of trees in Ohio’s State Implementation Plan (SIP). The idea was to involve federal and state EPA officials, industry, environmental groups, and others in a discussion on the merit of using trees to help Ohio meet the new 8-hour air quality standard. The group felt this was worth pursuing, and recommend Drew do so.
Under Open Comments, Bill Stalter shared ONLA’s two most recent booklets Landscape Plants for Ohio and Perennial Plants for Ohio. Drew also gave the attendees the latest Forest Service field guide on Invasive Plants.
With no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned at noon. The next meeting was scheduled for the Columbus Forestry office on Friday, September 23, 2005.
Urban Forestry Coordinator