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Land Board votes to retain public ownership of the Elliott State Forest, continue Common School fund distribution policy - 05/09/17

Salem -- The State Land Board today voted to keep the Common School lands within the Elliott State Forest (about 82,500 acres) in public ownership.

The Land Board members voted unanimously to terminate the "protocol" that was established in 2015 to seek alternative ownership of the forest. The Board directed the Department of State Lands to move forward with a new planning effort to keep the forest in public ownership.

At the meeting, each board member shared their ideas on possible public ownership plans for the Elliott.

Governor Brown's plan involves $100 million in state bonding to buy out high-conservation acres in a "trust land transfer" process, and securing an updated Habitat Conservation Plan to protect threatened species in the forest.

Treasurer Read's plan builds on the Governor's proposal, potentially transferring the entire forest at a future time to Oregon State University and the College of Forestry.

Secretary of State Richardson encouraged the Land Board and staff to investigate potential land exchanges with the federal government that would trade Elliott acreage for "commercial-grade" forest lands.

Several invited panelists provided information about the different plans, and the Board heard testimony from Jim Green of the Oregon School Boards Association, representing Common School Fund beneficiaries, and Michael Rondo of the Cow Creek Tribe, a partner with Lone Rock Timber in the one plan received in response to the protocol. About 35 people provided public testimony.

After a presentation on the Common School Fund's investment performance and projected distributions, the Land Board voted to continue to follow the distribution policy in place since 2009, distributing 4 percent of the three-year rolling average of the value of the fund.


More information on both agenda items is available on the State Land Board meetings webpage:
http://www.oregon.gov/dsl/Board/Pages/SLBmeetings.aspx

The State Land Board consists of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson and State Treasurer Tobias Read. The Department of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources. Many of the resources generate revenue for the Common School Fund, such as state-owned rangelands and timberlands, waterway leases, estates for which no will or heirs exist, and unclaimed property. Twice a year, the agency distributes fund investment earnings to support K-12 public schools. The agency also administers Oregon's Removal-Fill Law, which requires people removing or filling certain amounts of material in waters of the state to obtain a permit.

www.oregon.gov/dsl

stream_project_award_catherinecreek.jpg
stream_project_award_catherinecreek.jpg
Two projects in northeast Oregon receive State Land Board awards (Photo) - 05/09/17

Stream Awards honor voluntary restoration projects

Salem -- The State Land Board today presented two 2016 Stream Project Awards for exemplary projects: the Catherine Creek Fish Habitat Restoration Project (Union County) and Wallowa River/6 Ranch Habitat Restoration II (Wallowa County).

Governor Kate Brown, chair of the Land Board, thanked the many project partners for "promoting responsible, sustainable stewardship of Oregon's natural resources" and their "extra effort, vision and dedication to Oregon."

This is the 13th year of presenting Land Board Awards.

Catherine Creek Fish Habitat Restoration Project
The project, co-sponsored by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) and the Union Soil and Water Conservation District, was developed to restore floodplain processes and functions along a one-mile stretch of Catherine Creek in Union, near La Grande.

In presenting the award, State Treasurer and Land Board member Tobias Read commended the project proponents for their "vision and collaboration in enhancing spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook salmon, steelhead, bull trout, and resident fish and wildlife in Catherine Creek."

Specifically, the project provided:

* Protection of 545 acres through land acquisition and establishing a permanent conservation easement.
* Improved summer stream-flow conditions through a senior water right.
* Development of a funding agreement to provide long-term management, and a plan for permanent natural resource protections.
* Establishment of monitoring protocols that include habitat surveys and photo points.
* Restoration of "first foods" for tribal members through improved natural habitat.

"The Catherine Creek 'Saasaxinma' (Kingfisher) Project is a unique project that addresses habitat-limiting factors using the CTUIR's River Vision as our guide to restoring watershed processes and functions," said Jake Kimbro, wildlife biologist with the CTUIR. "This vision embraces physical and hydrologic relationships, and provides a framework to restore diverse, complex and productive habitat for fish and natural resources."

The project area is located in a property acquired through the CTUIR and Bonneville Power Administration's Accord for Fish Conservation. The CTUIR owns the property.

Additional project partners include biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; and funding from the Bonneville Power Administration, Bureau of Reclamation, Natural Resources Conservation Services, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and Western Rivers Conservancy.

The Grande Ronde Model Watershed, based in La Grande, nominated the project for a Land Board Award.

Wallowa River/6 Ranch habitat Restoration Project II
This project restored 1800 lineal feet of the Wallowa River on the 6 Ranch to a more historic and natural condition. Functioning wetlands, an activated floodplain, and a stable stream channel all resulted from the voluntary restoration work.

Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, a member of the Land Board who presented the award, praised the public-private partnership that was established to implement the project. He commended 6 Ranch owner Liza Jane McAlister for her vision for "responsible stewardship, preservation of western ranching traditions, and production of healthy food."

The design of the project uses an unconventional grazing management plan that will use high-intensity, short-duration grazing to control invasive Reed Canary Grass and promote desirable grasses and shrub species on the property.

"6 Ranch has often been described as an unconventional ranching operation, though we see our goals as very similar to most ranching operations," said Liza Jane McAlister, 6 Ranch owner. "Our belief is that restoration and ranching must work side by side for long-term success. We hope to set an example of proactive, mutually beneficial relationships that result in improved landscapes in our beautiful region."

Project partners include the Grande Ronde Model Watershed, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Nez Perce Tribe, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Funding was provided by the Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Grande Ronde Model Watershed, based in La Grande, nominated the project for a Land Board Award.

The Bonneville Power Administration was a key funding partner for both projects. "On behalf of BPA, our utility ratepayers and the region, we are proud of the strong partnerships that lead to successful projects such as Catherine Creek and 6 Ranch," said Lorri Bodi, VP of Environment, Fish and Wildlife at the BPA. "Both project sites are now on their way to supporting healthy salmon and steelhead populations for the future."


The State Land Board consists of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson and State Treasurer Tobias Read. The Department of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources. Many of the resources generate revenue for the Common School Fund, such as state-owned rangelands and timberlands, waterway leases, estates for which no will or heirs exist, and unclaimed property. Twice a year, the agency distributes fund investment earnings to support K-12 public schools. The agency also administers Oregon's Removal-Fill Law, which requires people removing or filling certain amounts of material in waters of the state to obtain a permit.

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www.oregon.gov/dsl


Catherine Creek Photo (L to R): Renee Davis, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board; Jake Kimbro, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation; Secretary of State Dennis Richardson; Governor Kate Brown; State Treasurer Tobias Read; Crystal Ball, Bonneville Power Administration; Armand Minthorn, CTUIR; Kelly George, CTUIR; Dan James, BPA.

6 Ranch Photo (L to R): Dan James, Bonneville Power Administration; Renee Davis, OWEB; Secretary of State Dennis Richardson; Liza jane McAlister, 6 Ranch; Governor Kate Brown; Coby Menton, Grande Ronde Model Watershed; State Treasurer Tobias Read; Crystal Ball, BPA.

Land Board to consider Elliott State Forest update, land transactions and Common School Fund review at May 9 public meeting - 05/02/17

Annual awards and information reports also will be presented

Salem -- At the beginning of the State Land Board meeting, board members will present Stream Project Awards for two projects in northeast Oregon:

* Catherine Creek Fish Habitat Restoration Project, sponsored by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Union Soil and Water Conservation District
* Wallowa River/6 Ranch Habitat Restoration Project II, sponsored by 6 Ranch and the Grande Ronde Model Watershed

Both projects were carried out through a wide array of partnerships that included state and federal agencies, and funding from the Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and other organizations.

The State Land Board Awards were established in 2004 to recognize worthy projects that promote responsible, sustainable stewardship of state natural resources. To date, awards have been presented for 29 exemplary projects across all regions of Oregon.

The meeting's action agenda includes a status update on the Elliott State Forest Ownership Transfer Opportunity; the Common School Fund annual investment report and distribution policy; and requests to approve two mineral and geothermal rights releases and a communication easement.

The informational agenda includes the Department of Forestry's annual report on management of Common School Fund forest lands, and the annual report on Common School Fund real property for fiscal year 2016.

The meeting will be held:

May 9, 2017
10:00 a.m. -- 12:00 p.m.
Department of State Lands
Land Board Room
775 Summer St. NE, Salem

This meeting will be held in a facility that is accessible for persons with disabilities. If you need assistance to participate in the meeting due to a disability, please notify Lorna Stafford at (503) 986-5224 or lorna.stafford@state.or.us at least two working days prior to the meeting.

To live stream the meeting, go to the State Lands YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQA7FHTWwl-gjJkQeYPJ1IA

Public testimony will be accepted on action items. Because of a full agenda, oral comments may be restricted to 2 minutes or less. Written comments may be submitted in advance or brought to the meeting for inclusion in the public record.

Meeting agenda: http://www.oregon.gov/dsl/Board/Documents/slb_may2017_packet.pdf

Any additional meeting materials will be posted on the State Land Board webpage.

The State Land Board consists of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson and State Treasurer Tobias Read. The Department of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources. Many of the resources generate revenue for the Common School Fund, such as state-owned rangelands and timberlands, waterway leases, estates for which no will or heirs exist, and unclaimed property. Twice a year, the agency distributes fund investment earnings to support K-12 public schools. The agency also administers Oregon's Removal-Fill Law, which requires people removing or filling certain amounts of material in waters of the state to obtain a permit.

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www.oregon.gov/dsl