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Timber Talk 1/18/16

Posted By Gayla Fleming, Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fish and Wildlife Service Publishes final 4(d) Rule for Northern Long-Eared Bat (NLEB)
The US Fish and Wildlife Service recently published its final 4(d) rule which exempted certain activities from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) against a "take” of the NLEB. In general it appears that timber activities are exempted except for a couple situations. Those include prohibiting cutting around known maternity roost trees within a 150-foot radius, where it was previously a 0.25 mile radius. This prohibition would be in effect June 1-July 31 each year. There is also a year-round harvesting prohibition of trees within a 0.25 mile radius of known bat hibernacula. Before it was a "known occupied hibernacula”. The first is a welcome change for harvesting activity. The second continues to raise some concern and will require further clarification from the USF&WS. Part of the issue will be identifying what and where "known” hibernacula are and the work needed to identify those. OFA will continue to monitor these rules and will work with other forest products industry interests on making sure they pose the least impact on forestry activities. It remains to be seen how the USF&WS will enforce the rules.

OFA Board Ballots Sent to Members
This is a reminder that OFA Board election ballots are being sent to members both via email and regular mail. Those members who have provided OFA with an email address will receive ballots electronically. Those who do not have an email address or have not provided one will receive a card ballot in the mail. I hope that all members will take a moment to fill out the ballot and send it back.

OFA Directory advertising possibilities
The OFA Directory is a compilation of OFA members listed by various categories and with a host of contact information. It is an excellent list of Ohio forest industry and forestry members. All members receive a copy and each year, OFA receives many requests from individuals and companies to purchase a copy of the directory. The directory is produced under a contract with Naylor Association Solutions. Members can advertise in the directory and if you are interested in taking a look at the opportunity, click on the link.

ODA Announces Senior Staff Appointments – Includes Chief of Division of Soil and Water Conservation Chief
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announcedseveral senior staff appointments last week, among them Kirk Hines as the Chief of the Division of Soil and Water Conservation. Many may recall that the Kasich Administration, partially in response to toxic algae issues, re-organized the Division of Soil and Water Conservation, moving it from ODNR to ODA. Of consequence to OFA is that the Agricultural Pollution Abatement Program, the program which oversees agricultural pollution issues in Ohio was transferred. However, oversight for the silvicultural component to the program was retained by ODNR and transferred to the Division of Forestry, where the Chief shall oversee silvicultural pollution issues. Bob Mulligan, the Division of Soil and Water Conservation specialist who worked with silvicultural issues was assigned to the Division of Forestry. The changes became effective January 1, 2016.

Unemployment Compensation Overhaul Bill Garners Numerous Amendments
HB 394, legislation aimed at overhauling the Ohio Unemployment Insurance Program, is quite controversial and last week garnered a significant number of amendments to the bill. Opponents to the bill, which include a number of labor and poverty advocates, believe the proposed version places too much burden on employees and not enough responsibility on employers. The bill attempts to raise the taxable wage base of employees from $9,000 to $11,000. The $9,000 base wage has been in place for at least two decades. A Legislative Service Commission analysis of the bill indicates that overall employer tax contributions would be reduced by $313 million per year from 2018 to 2025, while benefit payments would be reduced $475 million per year. One of the driving forces behind the change is that the state still owes a significant amount of money to the federal government due to extremely high unemployment rates during the recession started in 2008.

America’s First Wood High Rise to Debut in Portland
Interest in "tall wood buildings” continues to grow. At the link, you can read an article about a proposed 12-story wood high-rise that would be America’s first such building. It is interesting to note the environmental benefits of wood construction and the competitive nature of wood products versus concrete and steel.
2016 Ohio Maple Days, January 21, 22, and 23, 2016
OSU Extension is planning 4 maple syrup workshops in north central and northeast Ohio from January 21 through 23. This registration form contains all the information on how to register, locations of workshops, and agenda. Pre-registration is $30 ($35 at the door) and includes lunch.
Regional Forestry Association Newsletters: February 2016 ECOFA; January 2016 NEOFA
Here are recent newsletters for the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA) and Northeast Ohio Forestry Association (NEOFA). Both contain information on upcoming events and activities within the associations. The ECOFA newsletter has an interesting article about 2 large American Chestnut trees in rural Maine forests that are apparently free from the Chestnut Blight.
2016 OFA Annual Meeting, March 9-10, 2016, Dublin Embassy Suites
Meeting Theme:Ohio Hardwoods – Changes and Challenges

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