Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The newly formed Hood River Collaborative Stewardship Group will hold its first meeting later this month, and organizers are looking for community involvement.
The group, formed in response to a recent U.S. Forest Service presentation at a Hood River Watershed Group meeting, will convene on a monthly basis to discuss forest health issues and develop project recommendations for stewardship contracting in the Hood River watershed.
Stewardship contracting allows USFS and local groups to work together to achieve land management goals. Specifically, it's a way for the USFS to initiate timber harvest projects while keeping the financial returns local, and restoration-based.
"With the USFS Title II funding program ending this year, people in the Hood River valley will need to find ways to continue funding projects that benefit watershed health, create jobs and support communities," noted Steve Stampfli, Hood River Watershed Group coordinator. "Stewardship contracting is a tool that Congress has provided the Forest Service to help accomplish that.
"Stewardship contracting will allow the Forest Service to collaborate with the public in planning project work, utilize local contractors for doing watershed restoration, and provide for the exchange of goods like timber for services that enhance the forest."
Although enacted as a 10-year program in 2003, stewardship contracting hasn't been utilized in the Hood River valley. The program has been successful in surrounding districts and around the Northwest, where revenue from timber projects has been used for nearby conservation work that would have otherwise not had the funding.
A local example might be a project on Red Hill, where areas are in need of thinning for forest health and fire prevention. A stewardship contract through the Forest Service and the local collaborative stewardship group could be a timber harvest in a particularly over-stocked area, contracted locally; with profits from the timber sale going toward a stewardship project like rebuilding a culvert or restoring riparian area around a stream to improve fish habitat and prevent erosion.
"It provides an opportunity to fund needed forest and watershed restoration work," said Anne Saxby, Hood River Soil and Water Conservation District manager. Saxby will organize the new stewardship group as it gets started.
"Stewardship contracts are awarded on the best value approach, not the highest bidder, so consideration can be given to past performance and the use of local work force, among other criteria. This can benefit the local economy as well as watershed health."
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge