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June 13, 2012     The Adams County Record
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June 13, 2012
 

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The Adams County Record Wednesday, June 13, 2012 Page 5 BY DALE FISK The Payette Forest Coalition (PFC) met on May 31 near New Meadows to continue study of the Lost Creek / Boulder Creek Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project (CFLRP). 2-he following was edited from PFC meeting notes and partially translated into English: (As opposed to government-speak.) Complete information can be found at h ttp:// WWW.spatialinterest.info/ PayetteForward.html. Roads and Recreation Infrastructure Committee Wendy Greenserves as the interim chair. The Committee held their first meeting on June 6th. Monitoring Committee Rick Tholen serves as the interim chair. Next meeting: Thursday, June 14, from 10:00 a.m. - Noon at the New Meadows Ranger District Conference Room. Vegetation Committee Vegetation Committee has met twice, and posted their meeting notes on the Forum (spatialinterest. info/PayetteForward. html) for PFC members to review. The Committee identified the steps needed to achieve vegetation goals. General priorities for treatments were discussed and mapped, but not formally adopted at this time due to questions that need to be addressed this field season. The intent of the recommendations is to provide direction to the Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) regarding priority areas to sample this field season. Analysis of that field data will lead to final recommendations by September. Topics raised during the discussion North Idaho Ground Squirrel (NIDGS). Can the Forest take into account the populations of ground squirrels on adjacent private land? Probably not. But indirectly, the recovery plan will guide restoration activity to stands that ace near existing squirrel populations. Elk security Reducing canopy closure for NIDGS and to transition to the desired condition could be a conflict with elk security areas. Seasonal elk movements and feed requirement need to be considered. Given the right mix of seasonal forage, the NIDGS treatment areas could complement elk habitat. Further review of existing data is needed. Biomass in current markets continues to be a cost. More data is needed - and estimate the biomass that will be produced by applying the vegetation treatments. Restoring stands for timber harvest is an important consideration. The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project (CFLRP) business plan projected that logging income will contribute significantly to the CFLRP matching funds. Decision The. PFC adopted by consensus of the Committee Visual Quality Objectives Recommendations for (VQO). (English the Field Season, and defers priority treatment recommendations until post-field season. Vegetation Committee Field Trip Date Monday, June 25 from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Meet at the New Meadows Ranger District Office. Bring a lunch; water will be provided. Be prepared to hike during the trip in Order to view examples of stand conditions. Weeds The overview of Weed Management is available on the Web site. All restoration actions need to consider noxious weed impact (i.e., all actions that create a disturbance). Measures to reduce the spread of noxious weeds are incorporated in all Forest contracts and procedures. CFLRP monitoring should include weed status. Maps will be posted on the Forum: active infestations and the forecasts. Recreation The Forest Plan calls for various recreation opportunities. (In government-speak: Recreation Opportunity Spectrum or ROS). Management Areas are divided into categories according to how compatible they are with recr.eation: fully compatible, inconsistent, and unacceptable. These categories may help the Committee to review impacts of road actions on recreation opportunities. A new translation: scenic views.) A recreation specialist will provide additional information about recreation opportunities, including VQOs, at an upcoming Road and Recreation Infrastructure Committee meeting. Steering Team Selection Proposal The Steering Team proposed a selection process for Team members. It described the PFC organization structure as three elements: the PFC membership, the Steering Team, and Committees. Discussion: Why is the SteeringTeam needed? Answer - to manage the functions of the collaborative effort. Is an alternative like the Clearwater Basin Collaborative an example to follow (co-chairs)? The flat organization in the draft appears to be a better fit with the PFC approach to forest restoration projects right now. Are Team Membership numbers fixed? No, the number of members could expand to help handle the workload or to improve representation of PFC interests. The Forum will be open for comments on the revised draft; the June agenda will include discussion and PFC action on the revision. Road and Recreation Infrastructure Committee At the April 26th meeting, the PFC adopted a committee structure topic was introduced - based on categories of restoration treatments. In addition, the role of the Committee in the pre- project design process was adopted on March 1st. There was a brief review the committee scope adopted from the 26th meeting: This committee has the responsibility to recommend landscape metrics, priorities, and configuration (general location) for road surfacing, construction, re-routing, decommissioning (closures, obliteration, modified obliteration), road/stream crossings, upgrades that will improve hydrologic function and fish passage and construction of recreation facilities. For the Roads and Recreation Infrastructure Committee, the current and desired watershed conditions are of primary interest. The committee needs to consider the relative effectiveness of various restoration measures. Restoration needs exceed the available funding, so the Committee should recommend actions that achieve the most progress toward the desired conditions. The appropriate level of concern is watershed or landscape, but not the finer scale of specific roads or trails. The highest restoration priority is Boulder Creek, a watershed classed as "impaired." What actions will improve the impaired status? Considerations: Road density by road class by watershed. Initial breakdown by system and unauthorized would be a starting point, with a more detailed breakdown to follow. Are there trails that have become roads? If roads are candidates for decommissioning, would they enhance the trail system? What are the travel pathways for livestock to the grazing allotments? Where are the potentialelk security areas with respect to roads? Public Meeting The Payette Forest Coalition will host a public meeting in New Meadows on the evening of June 25th to answer questions from the public about who they are and what they are trying to do and why. The place and time is yet to be announced. Next PFC Meeting & Field Trip June 26, 2012 at Ernie's Steakhouse, New Meadows. Agenda Topics: Regulatory agency presentations (NOAA, USFWS), Steering Team organization structure proposal, Committee status reports, field trip dates/objectives. The Roads and Recreation Infrastructure Committee will go to the woods following the full PFC meeting on the 26th to look at conditions and possible projects. They plan to go to Boulder Creek drainage first to look at opportunities to improve watershed health. Next they will look at Lost Creek/Lost Valley Reservoir area for recreational opportunities. BY BOB FICK, IDAHO DEPT. OF LABOR The state of Idaho was awarded a $1 million grant on Thursday from the U.S. Department of Education to further its research on the links between education and jobs. The grant was among a dozen announced by the federal government as part of its 2012 Workforce Data Quality initiative. The money will be used by the Idaho Department of Labor, the Idaho Department of Education and the Idaho State Board of Education to develop a longitudinal database to conduct research and analysis aimed at determining the effectiveness of workforce training and education programs. The database will eventually allow researchers to determine the kinds of jobs and wages people have based on varying types of training and education so that the value of specific education and training regimens can be assessed. Also receiving grants were Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington. Earlier this spring, Idaho was among 40 states to share over $64 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Labor to continue re-employment and eligibility assessments for unemployment insurance benefit claimants. The Idaho Department of Labor's $529,000 grant from U.S. Department of Labor will further the personalized assessments being provided claimants to speed their return to work. The in-person assessments include the development of re-employment plans for claimants, the provision of labor market information relevant to claimants' locations and employment prospects, a complete review of benefit eligibility and a referral to re-employment services and training provided through the department's 25 local offices. Tee Times begin at 10:00am LIVE MUSIC AT "CABA'$ LOUNGE" IN MARSJNG @ 9:00PM FEATURING "MOTTO KITTY" SATURDAY' NIGHT! Questions'/"? Call One Eye Jacks 208-253-4951.