MEETING OF JUNE 16, 2006
Present: Mike Ahern, John Baird, Laura DeYoung, Bill Stalter, Drew Todd, and Ellen Walker
Guest: Rich Cappell, and Andy Ware
Guest: Rich Cappell, and Andy Ware
Assistant Chief Andy Ware began the meeting by stating that the Division of Forestry budget was holding stable. Andy also shared that the Division wants to acquire 16,000-acres of former Mead property know as the Raccoon Ecological Management Area (REMA).
Andy briefed the group on the gas well rights discussion between Columbia Gas and Mohican State Forest. Not all the mineral rights were acquired when the forest was purchased in 1928. In 1952 an agreement was reached to use some of the land as underground gas storage. Columbia Gas would now like to clear a radius of 50’ around each of their 56 wellheads. While this wouldn’t have been much of a problem decades ago, the forest has grown up to the point that these clearings will have a substantial impact.
Additionally, the Mohican Discovery Forest is now open to experience various forest management techniques. Andy also stated that Marietta State Nursery sold 95% of all seedlings this spring.
Andy gave the group a heads up on a new marketing effort to be kicked off at this year’s State Fair. Call Before You Cut is aimed at getting a long-term forest management message to private landowners. And finally, Andy reported on the progress of combining Ohio’s two forest tax laws (Current Agricultural Use Value and Ohio Forest Tax Law).
Bill Stalter shared a new DVD developed by the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, which promotes the City of Columbus and the Central Environmental Nursery Trade Show (CENTS) to potential exhibitors.
Drew Todd gave a brief update on the Division’s EAB efforts and associated grant funds.
A possible statewide Canopy Initiative was discussed at length. Drew sought group feedback on the merit and feasibility of pursuing existing state, utility, and/or federal sources to fund increases in community tree canopy cover. There were several helpful comments:
Laura DeYoung has found that it’s easier to sell water quantity than water quality. The cost of environmental degradation - gray infrastructure versus green infrastructure - is a higher community concern than public health and safety functions such as the ability of the urban forest to protect the water we drink and air we breath.
Habitat preservation is at the bottom of most administrators’ list. But it is true that greenways contribute to quality of life and make our communities and thus our properties more valuable. That ranks above habitat preservation.
The bottom line is everyone wants greenways but no one wants to pay for anything, so pitching money savings from functioning green infrastructure over gray will get their attention. There is a preservation and restoration pitch to make and saving money is top of most community lists. The problem comes when it costs money in the short run to save money in the long run.
Bill Stalter wondered if Honda, with their hybrid vehicles, might be a potential sponsor/supporter of this concept.
Mike Ahern said tree planting isn’t a good fit as part of the State Implementation Plan (SIP) because of reliability issues (trees dying due to a drought or tornado, etc.), and the amount of time before measurable, quantifiable benefits are realized, but any activity that has positive (i.e., lowering) effect on the measured ambient ozone monitors is welcome. Strategically positioned trees cool buildings and thus reduce energy consumption (demand) and thus reduce emissions of VOC and NOx, both contributors to low level ozone formation.
John Baird thought that aligning this effort with existing watersheds and watershed groups would be effective. John also thought the Ohio Canopy Initiative name was misleading, this lead to Bill Stalter suggesting the name, Greening Ohio, A Statewide Energy Reduction Initiative.
Drew will digest and discuss these comments with Chief Dorka and others.
Under Open Comments, John Baird mentioned that ODOT would have a meeting the following Monday concerning how their vendors handle tree removals in EAB quarantine areas. [Editor’s Note: John will also push to have their tree removal vendors employ certified arborists.]
With no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned at noon. The next meeting was scheduled for the Columbus Forestry office on Friday, September 15, 2006.
Urban Forestry Coordinator