The spring edition of Tall Timber Topics is here. Inside you will find a page full of upcoming event listings, log  market updates, and even a little bit of tree poetry.

I am interested in your feedback on our newsletter. What kinds of information would you like to see? Suggestions on the format? Post your comments or send me an email.

Here’s an announcement for what looks to be a great field tour in Clackamas County on Saturday, April 7th.

“This field tour will cover principles and practices of vegetation management for establishing and maintaining trees in forestry and forest restoration. Key topics include vegetation management with herbicides, nonchemical methods and integrated pest management approaches for selecting and combining methods. Field sites will feature common situations and important weeds that compete for site resources.”
For more information or questions, call Jean at the Clackamas County Extension office, 503-655-8631.

From the Oregon Department of Forestry:

An updated 24-page guide to help private forestland owners to improve fish habitat in their streams is now available in electronic form on the ODF web site.

The 2012 edition of the “Private Forest Landowners and the Oregon Plan” guide lists several voluntary measures that forest landowners can take, beyond the basic requirements in the Oregon Forest Practices Act, to accelerate improvements in stream health and promote conditions that can help potentially threatened and endangered fish species thrive.

Four categories of recommendations are offered: improvements within a stream, improvements on stream banks, upland improvements to ensure healthy watersheds, and improving forest road or stream crossings.

During the first decade of the Oregon Plan, Oregon’s private forest landowners have made $ 84 million in voluntary improvements to build better habitats for threatened and endangered fish species. Additional information about the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds is available here.

The Oregon Women Owning Woodlands Network has a full schedule of events coming up including a couple locally. These programs are a great way to meet other land owners and get tips for your own property, all in a friendly and informal setting. To learn more about WOWnet, visit the Facebook page. To RSVP for any of the events listed below, contact Anne Walton at anne_zenafarms@yahoo.com.

  • Trail Building – Saturday, March 10, 9 – noon. 3940 NW Owl Drive, Forest Grove
    Hosts: Joan Moss/Peter Bours with Jerri O’Brien
    See the work done by these landowners in building walking and access trails throughout their property. Jerri O’Brien, Master Woodland Manager, Benton County, will share her training and tools in trail building as well.
  • Truffle/Sustainability Tour, Friday, March 30, 9 am – 1 pm, Left Coast Cellars, 4225 N. Pacific Hwy, Rickreall
    Host: Luke McCollum, Farm manager/winemaker, Left Coast Cellars
    Take a hike with Luke through the beautiful property at Left Coast Cellars and see their sustainable management practices in action, their oak savanna restoration area, plus their unique trials in growing the European Black truffle. Enjoy additional information and a delicious lunch/tasting, with the chance to network with our group in their lovely cafe. We filled this tour in February so are offering it again! Husbands and friends are welcome. Make a day of visiting the beautiful Eola-Amity Hills area. $15/lunch/tasting flight offered.
  • Interpreting a Timber Cruise, Saturday, April 14, 9 am – noon, 30151 NW Timber Rd., Timber
    Hosts: Pam and Peter Hayes with Curt Rogers and Todd Balsiger, of Coastline Forestry Consultants
    We will gather in the cabin at Hyla Woods to learn what a cruise report tells you about your timber. We will tour the property to compare what is in a cruise report to what you see on the ground. This is a follow up field trip to our January class.
  • Managing your Property for Wildlife, Thursday April 26, 9 am – noon, Douglas County location TBA
    Program by Nicole Strong, OSU Extension Service

As a follow up to an article I included in last winter’s newsletter, here’s a story from OSU’s Terra magazine about some research on the effectiveness of beaver relocation projects. In theory, relocating beavers from areas where they are a nuisance to areas where they could contribute to habitat restoration could benefit all involved (including, presumably, the beavers themselves). Do relocated beavers stay put? Do they actually help create fish habitat in their new homes? Read the blog post, or listen to a short podcast.

As some readers are aware, the OSU Forestry Extension program has seen some significant personnel changes in recent months, including the retirement of longtime Linn/Benton County agent Rick Fletcher and the transition of Clackamas County agent Mike Bondi to an administrative leadership role. That, coupled with a declining overall program budget has led Extension administration to reorganize and reallocate existing staff in order to continue serving all Oregonians. Because our budget situation does not allow us to refill vacancies with new hires, many county agents will now be serving larger areas or new territories.

As a result, my new assignment is expanding to include Yamhill County, in addition to my existing area of Columbia and Washington Counties.  Though 1/3 of my effort is to be allocated to each county, I will be maintaining my “home base” in the Columbia County office in St. Helens, and that remains the best place to track me down.

This is a significant change for me, and one that I do not take lightly. Those of you that I work with in Columbia and Washington Counties will no doubt experience some change as well. With a larger area and clientele to serve, I will have to be especially mindful of prioritizing my time. Partnerships and volunteers will be more important than ever.

For those of you interested in the bigger picture, here is a rundown of the changes being implemented in northwest Oregon:

  • Brad Withrow-Robinson is transitioning from Yamhill, Polk and Marion Counties to a new service area of Linn, Benton, and Polk Counties
  • Glenn Ahrens is transferring from Clatsop and Tillamook Counties to Clackamas County, and will also pick up coverage for Marion and Hood River Counties
  • Amy Grotta is increasing her service area to include Columbia, Washington, and Yamhill Counties
  • Jim Reeb is transitioning from a 100% appointment in Lincoln County to a three-county service area including Lincoln, Tillamook, and Clatsop Counties

This entire reorganization process will take place over the next several months, to be concluded by July. There is still a lot of coordination and planning to do to make this happen smoothly as we each settle into our new roles. I’ll certainly be working with Brad to get to know the people and the forests of Yamhill County.

Stay tuned, and thanks for your support!

Amy Grotta

Native turtle conservation is the subject of a presentation on Feb. 8 in Portland

Oregon Wildlife (Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation) invites you to learn about Oregon’s native turtles― the western pond and western painted― at a free presentation by Dan Rosenberg of the Oregon Wildlife Institute. The presentation will be held at the Ecotrust Building in Portland’s Pearl District. A reception begins at 6 p.m. The lecture at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free; registration is required. Register online at the Foundation’s website, www.owhf.org/discoveringwildlife.

Attendees will learn about the state’s two native turtle species and efforts to protect and enhance populations in the Portland area.  The presentation includes information for landowners about voluntary conservation actions that can help native turtles.  Like many of the world’s freshwater turtles, Oregon’s turtle populations are declining due to habitat loss, degradation of nesting areas by invasive plants, competition from invasive turtles, nest predation, and predation on young turtles by invasive aquatic species.

Both the western painted and western pond turtle are listed in the Oregon Conservation Strategy as species in need of help.

For more information or questions, contact the Foundation at (503) 255-6059. The talk will be held at the Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center of the Ecotrust Building in Portland’s Pearl District, 721 NW Ninth Avenue, Portland.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program now through January 13th. The CSP provides a per-acre payment to small woodland owners that can demonstrate that they are implementing conservation and stewardship practices such as stream restoration, wildlife habitat enhancement, or other measures. Interested landowners should contact their local NRCS office to learn about eligibility and to determine whether CSP is a good fit for them.

The NRCS news release states that payments are typically around $9 to $12 per acre – which makes me wonder whether it is worth the time and paperwork for a small landowner. However, I do know that several woodland owners in our area participated in the CSP program last year. Are you one of them? I invite you to share your experience by commenting on this post.