Present: John Baird, Laura DeYoung, Melissa Hutson, Pablo Jourdan, John Milam, Ellen Walker, Bill Stalter, and Drew Todd
Guest: Erica Engel-Ishida
The meeting began at 10:05 AM with introductions that included John Baird (ODOT Chair) and Pablo Jourdan (Education Chair) the newest committee members. Erica Engel-Ishida was attending for the vacationing Mike Ahern (OEPA Chair).
Drew Todd stated that Chief Dorka was attending a Division Staff meeting but wanted the Committee to know that the 2007 Farm Bill was beginning to be formulated. Among other forestry related items, this Bill includes Urban Forestry funding for the biennium.
As mentioned previously, Ohio’s Five-Year Urban Forestry Plan is due for review and revision. This document helps guide the Division’s long-term Urban Forestry efforts. A draft copy, updated by the Regional Urban Foresters, was passed out and discussed. Committee comments have been incorporated and will be shared with the Chief for his approval.
Drew gave an update on the current EAB situation and how the Division of Forestry is responding with a $1 million USDA Forest Service grant. As new infestations have been discovered in Delaware, Wapakoneta, and Hicksville, the Division has hired four new employees to work with EAB affected rural and urban landowners. These are project employees hired for a three-year period. The EAB Urban Forester will administer the ongoing Canopy Restoration Program, Ash Reduction Grants (unused OEPA air pollution fines), and a new Community Ash Reduction Initiative. This latter grant program is intended to provide urban residents an incentive to removed ash trees on private property. An outline of the grant program was provided.
In the never-ending search for grant monies, Drew discussed his foray into Ohio’s State Implementation Plan (SIP). An outline of a phone conversation with USDA Forest Service Urban Forester and Committee member Anne Cumming and Dr. Chris Luley of Urban Forestry LLC was shared with the group. This highlighted what other states have encountered in trying to get tree planting and care included in their SIPs.
Erica Engel-Ishida reported that according Bill Spires, Ohio’s SIP rules have to be in place by June 2007. Therefore, we have until June 2006 to convince OEPA of the effectiveness of this idea. Erica stated that working with Metropolitan Planning Organizations like the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission, might be appropriate partners in this effort. They are concerned with similar heat island type issues. The challenge will be to evaluate and verify the results of increasing tree canopy cover. Erica provided a document entitled, “Incorporating Emerging and Voluntary Measures In A State Implementation Plan”. Ellen Walker felt this might dovetail with MORPC’s Seven-County Regional Growth Strategy.
The group consensus was, although this will be a challenge, it was still worth pursuing, especially if other information could be gathered in the process. Drew will review this with the Chief.
John Milam offered Cinergy’s assistance if eradication efforts were conducted in his territory and if the expertise to remove ash trees near energized wires isn’t available.
Drew shared the comments he provided on ODOT’s proposed Landscaping Guidelines revision. Included in these remarks were the joint ONLA/ODNR tree planting specifications. Drew also reported on the Land Use Planning and Zoning Workshop organized and presented by Laura DeYoung for the Regional Urban Foresters. A request for another such workshop has been made to the Forest Service.
Under Open Comments, Ellen Walker discussed a new development in Jefferson Township that requires 50 to 60% open space set aside. Although the developer initially requested 80 units, he will be able to sell the approved 32 houses for more money and less infrastructure cost. Ellen thanked ODNR for its input on this project.
Bill Stalter invited the group to the CENTS Show starting January 23 through the 25; one of the top 5 trade shows in the country. Bill also unveiled the award winning new look Buckeye magazine.
John Barid will follow up on the recommendations made to the ODOT Landscaping Guidelines.
With no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned at noon. The next meeting was scheduled for the Columbus Forestry office on Friday, December 9, 2005.
Urban Forestry Coordinator