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AGATE DESERT WORKING GROUP/TECHNICAL COMMITTEE by Zw48Ik7

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                     Vernal Pools Stakeholder Committee
                               Meeting Notes
                  May 16, 2007, 4:00-6:00, RCC Table Rocks Campus

                           Next SC meeting:
     June 21, 2007 4:00-7:00 RCC Campus (combined TAC and SC)
                 June 27, 2007 4:00-6:00, RCC Campus

Attendees:           Representing:               Contact Info:

SC Members:
Marilyn Rice          Agriculture            5480 Rogue Valley Highway
                                             Central Point, OR 97502
Roger Hansen          Urban Neighborhood     2912 Avenue ‘A’
                                             White City, OR 97503
Steve Root            Hornecker Trust        steve@stntonco.com
Absent:
Jim Hill              City of Medford        Jim.Hill@ci.medford.or.us
David Elliott         Industrial             davidelliott@boisebuilding.com
Doug Sharp            ODOT                   Doug.sharp@odot.state.or.us
Randy White           Jackson SWCD           Randy.white@or.nacdnet.net
Colleen Padilla       Economic               colleen@soredi.org
                      Development
Darren Borgias        Conservation/The       dborgias@tnc.org
                      Nature Conservancy
Curt Burrill          Developers             curtb@burrillrealestate.com
Cris Galpin           Land Owner
Vince Oredson         ODFW/Denman            Vince.j.oredson@state.or.us
                      Wildlife Refuge
Bill Leavens          Commercial             leavensb@rogueagg.com
Mike Lisk             Landowner              951-6904
Visiting TAC:
Craig Tuss            US Fish and Wildlife   Craig_tuss@fws.gov
Visitors:
John Root             Hornecker Trust        Johnroot99@yahoo.com
Michael Dennis (on    TNC
conference phone)
Staff:
Craig Harper          Project Manager        charper@rvcog.org
Karen Bolda           Facilitator            Karen@tendollc.com


May 16, 2007                                     Vernal Pools Stakeholder Committee
                                                                                 Page 2 of 4



May 16 Agenda:
    USFWS Focus Areas explained
    TAC VPC map
    WCP or “wcp lite”
    Status of mitigation/conservation banking
Decisions:
    A joint TAC/SC meeting will be held on June 21 to discuss integration of TAC
       and SC VPC designation maps.
    The SC and TAC will also discuss the direction the WCP should take, i.e.,
       whether to continue to pursue a Wetland Conservation Plan as defined in statute,
       or try a different approach.
To Do:
    RVCOG will prepare a breakdown of VPCs by designation for the SC and TAC
       maps.
    Develop a table of the decision criteria for the TAC process and how they rated
       each VPC.

I.     FWS Focal Areas:

From the beginning of this project stakeholders have asked the question, “How many
acres of vernal pools need to be protected and conserved?” Craig Tuss, USFWS, used
the ESA data, fairy shrimp critical habitat, and endangered plant “core areas” to create
focal areas that show contain a minimum number of acres of habitat that need to be in
“protected” status. The focal areas were chosen from the entire Agate Desert vernal
pools ecosystem, not just the White City study area.

In 1997, there were about 8,500 acres of vernal pools in Jackson County. FWS estimates
that there has been a loss of vernal pool habitat of 1 acre a day, leaving approximately
5,000 acres. FWS’s objective for the fairy shrimp Recovery Plan is to save 85% of the
remainder - about 4,300 acres. These saved acres don’t have to be pristine, they can be
degraded and marginal, but must be restorable.

Some of the habitat is already protected; there are 400 acres on Table Rock, 160 acres on
Agate Reservoir, 700 acres in Denman, 200 acres on TNC lands, in total about 1,500
already protected. So, FWS would like to see an additional 2,800 acres conserved.

Craig Tuss noted that the focal area circles are only conceptual at this stage; they depict
an approximate area and size. All the focal areas are within 4 miles of other areas.

II. TAC VPC map designations

The TAC created a map using the following criteria:
    Connectivity
    Total size
    Manageability


May 16, 2007                                          Vernal Pools Stakeholder Committee
                                                                              Page 3 of 4


      Intact Topography
      Rare Species
      Hydrology
      Focus areas of the USFWS

Copies of the map were distributed. A discussion of differences between the SC and
TAC versions, and integration of the two maps will take place at the joint SC/TAC
meeting June 21.

The TAC meeting ended with a discussion of the designation labels for the SC map.
Jackson County and others have expressed the concern that designating some lands as
“develop” might be misleading. For example, EFU lands outside of UGB’s may not
actually be able to be “developed” because zoning designations changes and zoning
exception are very difficult to obtain. For that reason, the TAC decided to label the VPCs
as High, Medium, or Low for “Conservation Potential” instead of Protect, Conserve, or
Develop.

III. WCP vs. “wcp lite”

A DSL-approved Wetland Conservation Plan calls for a zoning overlay, which may be
difficult to adopt in Jackson County under the current Measure 37 constraints. However,
DSL has said they would support a “wcp lite” which follows the concept of a WCP
without the overlay.

The Agate Desert vernal pools are very different from the West Eugene wet prairie
wetlands, so a different type of plan is needed.

We will continue the discussion of whether to continue to pursue a Wetland Conservation
Plan as defined in statute, or to soften the designations and focus almost exclusively on
incentives.

IV. Update on Conservation/Mitigation Banking

Wayne White is a former FWS Regional Manager in the Sacramento area, now a
consultant. During Mr. White’s tenure, the FWS facilitated and approved numerous
vernal pools mitigation projects. One of the main messages from Mr. White was that
mitigation ratios must be logical, consistent and easy to understand and implement.

Mr. White’s company is interested in pursuing a local partnership to create a conservation
bank here. Another firm has also contacted Craig Tuss to inquire about vernal pools
mitigation/conservation bank markets in the Rogue Valley.

ODOT is pursuing creating a conservation bank in the Agate Desert to provide mitigation
for their transportation projects.

The SC will continue to be involved in the discussions of conservation banking.


May 16, 2007                                        Vernal Pools Stakeholder Committee
                                                                              Page 4 of 4



Steve Root noted that with the possibility of incorporation of White City, the Hornecker
Trust land would be affected. He asked how urban development can continue in the
midst of the vernal pools. The objective of the WCP plan is to provide a mechanism to
allow needed development to occur where it should, while protecting the best vernal
pools.

Q: Roger Hansen asked how protection of vernal pools is enforced. (This was related to
an incident where a landowner was flattening some vernal pool mounds (not even on his
own property!) to allow his kids to safely ride their OHVs.)
A: Call DSL. This also brought up the questions of which activities will be allowed on
VPC designations, and how we educate the public on vernal pools, and the importance of
vernal pool conservation. This is one of the WCP’s and SC’s goals. Education and
public outreach are a vital part of the project.

                              The SC adjourned at 6:00.




May 16, 2007                                        Vernal Pools Stakeholder Committee

								
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