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Timber Talk 8/18/14

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Northern Long Eared-Eared Bat – US Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) Service Webcasts This Week
The USFWS announced that it will conduct 3 public information webcasts this week (August 18) to provide information and answer questions about its proposed listing of the Northern Long-Eared Bat (NLEB) as an endangered species. The following are the times for the webcasts

  • Tuesday, August 19, at 1:00 PM Eastern;
  • Wednesday, August 20, at 4:00 PM Eastern; and
  • Thursday, August 21, at 7:00 PM Eastern.

The sessions are planned to last one hour and anyone may listen in and ask questions. Those wishing to participate can log on and register at this site. Logging on will allow you to view the presentation by the USFWS. You can also call in and listen to the presentation and ask questions by calling toll-free 1-800-369-1692; enter passcode 2549152# to join the call. The USFWS is still accepting comments about the proposed listing from interested parties which will be accepted through August 29, 2014. OFA will be submitting comments and will also be part of a national coalition expressing our combined concerns about the potential impact on our forests if the bat is listed as an endangered species. You can find more information on the USFWS website for NLEB.

OFA Part of Coalition Asking Obama Administration for Carbon Neutrality of Biomass
is a letter from a coalition of 110 state and national associations, businesses, and organizations asking the Obama Administration to recognize the carbon neutrality of biomass for any regulations and programs concerning greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. EPA has been reluctant to include biomass as a carbon neutral energy source in its accounting framework for greenhouse gas emissions, mostly because some environmental groups have fought against the use of biomass, in particular woody biomass, as an energy source, with claims that biomass emissions are worse than fossil fuel emissions.

OFA Discusses Replacement for Forest Products Specialist Extension Position at OSU
Last week, OFA participated in a field session with Chief Boyles of the Division of Forestry and Dr. Andrew Londo, OSU Extension Assistant Director for Agriculture and Natural Resources to view the facility and discuss opportunities for replacing the Forest Products Extension Specialist position recently vacated by Dr. Eric McConnell. In addition to his duties with OSU Extension, Dr. McConnell was also the education representative on the OFA Board of Trustees. Dr. McConnell had completed and worked on a number of projects and assignments that assisted Ohio’s forest products industry greatly, and we would like to see this position refilled with a good candidate. To that end, OFA will work with OSU Extension as appropriate. We also mention that Bob Romig, former OFA Executive Director and retired OSU Professor of Forest Products has taken the Education vacancy on the OFA Board. We welcome Bob back in the position.

OSU Thompson Library "Hardwoods in Higher Education” Project. OFA continues to work with the OSU Thompson Library staff to create educational awareness opportunities of the hardwoods that were used in the renovation project at the OSU Thompson Library. Some members will remember the tour of the project at the OFA Annual Meeting a couple years ago at which we viewed the extensive use of oak veneers, moulding and other wood products throughout the library renovation. The wood was sourced from Zaleski State Forest and manufactured almost entirely in Ohio and provides a unique and fascinating story on the value and beauty of hardwood products in the renovation of the Thompson Library on the OSU campus. The project is still in scoping stage but a meeting last week resulted in good promise for the project. The Ohio Tree Farm Committee and Society of American Foresters have already pledge funds to the project while the ODNR Division of Forestry and OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources will be partners in the project.

BWC Group Rating Safety Program Requirements and Resources. This information is primarily for member participants in the OFA Group Rating Safety Program but is applicable to anyone involved with or part of the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Program. First is the Group Rating Safety Accountability Letter from the Bureau of Workers Compensation that spells out the annual requirements of all entities involved in the group safety program, including the employer, the sponsoring organization (OFA), the third party administrator (CareWorks Consultants, Inc.) and the Bureau of Workers Compensation. Also you can find the Group-Rating Training Guidelines for those employers that had a claim in the "green” year period (calendar year 2013 for private employers) and those employers must attend 2 hours of annual safety training or complete an on-line accident analysis form and associated accident analysis course. Finally, here is a document which contains the name of the BWC Group Safety Rating contact person and contact information. The OFA Representative is Ben Mooreand he can be contacted at 614.980.5646.

Free First Aid/CPR Training for BWC Employers and Employees
Speaking of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, BWC offers a robust slate of training courses at no additional charge to employers and their employees who participate in Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation Program. You don’t have to participate in the OFA Group Program, just be a participant in the Ohio BWC. You can find information about all the courses on-line at the BWC Learning Center. Courses are offered at 11 different locations around Ohio. For OFA members who participate in the Master Logging Company Program in which Master Loggers must be First Aid and CPR certified, BWC offers this course at various locations around Ohio and you can see where courses are going to be offered over the next year or so at this listing. You can also see the entire booklet of courses in the Safety Services Catalogue.

Kasich Announces Plan for Another $1 Billion Rebate for Workers’ Compensation Employers
Last week, the Kasich Administration announced that it will ask the BWC Board of Directors for approval of a second billion-dollar rebate to both private and public employers participating in Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation Program. The request will take place at the August meeting of the Board. This request comes 15 months after the administration announced a $1 billion dividend payment along with a $1.2 billion credit to employers as part of the costs to transition to the prospective billing system. The administration said the rebates are provided because the insurance fund, which currently has net assets of $7.7 billion has realized returns of 8.9% over the last 3 years. The system operates with a target asset-to-liability ratio of 1.15 – 1.35, and the current ratio is more than 1.5, thus allowing the rebate action. In addition to rebates, the plan will include measures to expand the Safety Council Program incorporating health and wellness initiatives, increasing funding for firefighter safety training, increasing funding for the Safety Intervention Grant Program to help companies purchase equipment that helps prevent injuries, and additional money to develop safety curricula and skilled labor training programs.

Conference on Biomass Utilization for Green Materials and Energy, Sept. 2, 2014 at WVU
The West Virginia University Division of Forestry and Natural Resources will host a Conference on Biomass Utilization for Green Materials and Energy at the Erickson Alumni Center on the campus of West Virginia University on September 2, 2014. The day-long conference has no registration fee and is open to anyone who wants to attend. The agenda covers a wide range of topics including the following:

  • Entrepreneurship of Green and Packaging Materials
  • Marketing Strategies for Sustainable Products and Materials
  • Current and Future Housing Trends in the Appalachian Region
  • Perceptions of Wood-based Materials in Green Building Products
  • Opportunities for using Cross Laminated Timbers in Building Construction
  • Wood Energy Systems in Commercial, Industrial and Institutional Settings
  • Biomass Business Opportunities in Rural Energy Development
  • Biomass Harvesting and Logistics
  • Biomass Preprocess and Torrefaction for Energy Production

o Pelletized Fuel from Torrefied Biomass

The conference host would like attendees to pre-registerand you can do so at the link. You can also find a full agenda at this site.

2008 Farm Bill – Technical Guides for Measuring Carbon in Forestry and Agricultural Practices
The 2008 Farm Bill directed the USDA to develop "technical guidelines that outline science-based methods to measure environmental services benefits from conservation and land management activities,” including carbon-related benefits. To that end, USDA recently released its report:Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Agriculture and Forestry: Methods for Entity Scale Inventory. The information can be used by forest landowners and others who manage forest lands to quantify the impact of activities on the carbon cycle. At this point, the information is provided to do assessments on a voluntary basis. If or how the protocols outlined may later become part of regulated greenhouse gas reporting systems is not known. For those interested in looking closer, the report provides different data collection approaches for large (over 200 acres) and small landowners and it also factors in accounting for carbon sequestered through manufactured wood products.

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