Elliott State Forest

EXPLORING AN ELLIOTT STATE RESEARCH FOREST

The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) and Oregon State University (OSU) are working collaboratively to explore transforming the Elliott State Forest into a publicly owned state research forest.

The exploratory work will continue during 2020, with a research forest proposal anticipated to be presented to the Land Board in the fall of 2020. A successful proposal will be consistent with the Land Board vision for the forest, which includes:

  • Keeping the forest publicly owned with public access
  • Decoupling the forest from the Common School Fund, compensating the school fund for the forest and releasing the forest from its obligation to generate revenue for schools 
  • Continuing habitat conservation planning to protect species and allow for harvest
  • Providing for multiple forest benefits, including recreation, education, and working forest research

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A final Elliott State Research Forest proposal has been drafted and submited to the State Land Board with input from advisory committees, Tribes, state and local governments, stakeholders, and the public.  The proposal includes:
  • OSU's approach to research, including the research design that will guide future experiments and management of the forest.
  • OSU's commitments to a research forest that supports conservation, recreation, education, and local and regional economies.
  • OSU's commitments to public accountability in forest decision-making and governance, as well as a proposed governance structure.
  • How OSU will financially support the proposed research forest.

Read the full final Elliott State Research Forest Proposal.

OSU will present the proposal to the State Land Board during the Board meeting on December 8 at 10 a.m. which will be held via Zoom and livestreamed to the DSL YouTube ChannelLand Board meeting details

Should the Land Board support moving forward, more work – and discussion with stakeholders and the public – will be needed in 2021 and beyond to successfully establish an Elliott State Research Forest.

 

In-Progress Elements

Decoupling 

The Land Board's vision clearly calls for decoupling the forest from the Common School Fund and compensating the school fund for the forest.

Of the $221 million appraised value of the forest, a down payment of $100 million was made to the Common School Fund by the State in 2019. The remaining $121 million needs to be accounted for prior to decoupling and transferring ownership and management responsibilities for the Elliott Forest to OSU. Work to accomplish this important step in the process waited until the OSU proposal began to take shape in recent months, and will continue in 2021 with progress reports to the Land Board and Common School Fund beneficiaries.

Federal Endangered Species Act Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP): 

The Land Board also directed DSL to seek an HCP from the federal agencies responsible for enforcing the federal Endangered Species Act. The purpose of an HCP is to establish clear boundaries for management and harvest on the forest in compliance with the Act and to ensure conservation of at-risk species such as salmon, spotted owls, and marbled murrelet. DSL initiated this process in 2018, contracting with IFC, Inc. to develop an HCP. DSL is working with OSU to ensure that when submitted, a draft HCP will reflect the terms and conditions necessary for OSU to manage the forest for research purposes, or –should transfer to OSU not occur –for DSL to manage the forest for the benefit of the Common School Fund. HCP drafting is underway, with a draft anticipated to be available for public review in early 2021 prior to submission to the federal agencies.

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Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee

DSL has formed an Advisory Committee to provide insight and input on key elements of a proposed plan. The committee, which represents a variety of perspectives on the forest, began meeting in April 2019. ESRF Advisory Committee Roster.

2020 Meetings

November 19, 2020: Meeting summary​, OSU presentation
September 28, 2020: Agendameeting summaryOSU presentation,
                                  draft proposal for DSLOSU letter from the dean
July 23, 2020: Agendameeting summaryOSU presentation​,
​                       OSU research treatmentOSU letter from the dean​

 

Oregon State University – Science Advisory Panel

OSU has established a Science Advisory Panel to "work to ensure the vision and goals of the research charter, and associated research design, will position the Elliott State Research Forest as a world-leading source of scientific knowledge and discovery to advance the study and practice of forestry."

For questions, comments, or to share ideas about potential research opportunities on the Elliott, please email elliott.research@oregonstate.edu to ensure they will be reviewed by the Science Advisory Panel and the OSU team. 

Documents related to OSU and Science Advisory Panel work will be posted soon.

2020 Meetings

May 11, 2020: Introduced SAP members to the Elliott State Forest and a bit of its history. Provide an overview of the process to date and expectations for the SAP. Provide a broad overview of the draft research design and HCP efforts.

May 12, 2020: Introduced SAP members to the Elliott State Forest and a bit of its history. Provide an overview of the process to date and expectations for the SAP. Provide a broad overview of the draft research design and HCP efforts.

May 29, 2020: Provided a detailed overview of the current research design. Provided an overview of draft treatment allocations, potential research opportunities, and integration of riparian management areas. Discussed future potential public engagement opportunities. (Minutes) (Presentation: Introduction to Research on the Elliott State Research Forest) (Presentation: A TRIAD experiment in the Elliott Forest) (Presentation: A TRIAD concept of forest land allocation)

July 8, 2020: Science Advisory Panel was provided with draft documents describing proposed research treatments, adaptive management protocol, and riparian strategy for a potential Elliott State Research Forest. Panel members provided feedback on these documents for OSU consideration. (Meeting summary

September 25, 2020: Panel was provided with draft documents describing a possible governance structure and how the proposed research platform delivers on values important to the public. Panel members provided feedback on these documents for OSU consideration. (Meeting summary)

October 21, 2020: Elliott State Research Forest process updates; Science Advisory Panel input and discussion on estimated start-up research program expenses; Science Advisory Panel input and discussion on aquatic and riparian area research strategy (Meeting summary)

November 16, 2020: Panel members reviewed the updated proposal focusing on areas that had been heavily revised over the past month: governance, riparian area research strategy, Marbled Murrelet analysis, and harvest revenue modeling. SAP members also discussed participation in the upcoming Land Board meeting (Meeting Summary).

Public Events and Engagement Opportunities 

Public engagement opportunities with the Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee and OSU Science Advisory Panel are planned for later in 2020. To date, public informational meetings have been held in Coos Bay, Portland, Salem, and Roseburg. OSU also held listening sessions in North Bend, Reedsport and Roseburg. Please watch this space for announcements on future meetings or events.

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RECAP OF 2019 EXPLORATORY WORK

In December 2018, the State Land Board directed DSL and OSU to begin examining the Elliott State Research Forest concept. DSL and OSU then launched an exploratory process. DSL convened an Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee, and OSU established an exploratory committee within its College of Forestry. DSL and OSU also engaged tribes, local governments, state agencies and stakeholders in conversation, and held public events and listening sessions. Additionally, the research forest concept was incorporated into the in-progress habitat conservation planning process. 

An update on progress made was presented to the Land Board on Dec. 10, 2019. 

The Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee also delivered a unanimous statement to the Board recommending that work continue. Read the Committee statement.   

2019 DSL Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee meeting summaries and materials:

               April 10, 2019

               May 1, 2019

               May 30, 2019

               June 25, 2019

               July 30, 2019

               August 22, 2019

               September 25, 2019

               October 24-25, 2019

               November 8, 2019

               November 21, 2019

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

To learn more about the process led by the State of Oregon Department of State Lands, please visit the Elliott State Forest website.

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Stay connected - sign up for our email list 

To stay up to date with the latest information about the OSU-led process regarding the transition of the Elliott State Forest, sign-up for e-mail updates.

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PROJECT DOCUMENTS (VIA DSL AND OSU)

OSU Listening Sessions: Summary

2019 Elliott State Research Forest Feasibility Study - College of Forestry Work Plan
DSL Response to Recent OSU Harvest in the McDonald Forest
Oregon State University College of Forestry Seeking Qualified Consultant for Carbon Assessment & Financial Modeling for an Elliott State Research Forest
Oregon Department of State Lands and Oregon State University Memorandum of Understanding
The Oregon Consensus Report on the Elliott State Forest: Next step considerations for decoupling from Oregon’s Common School Fund
Oregon Consensus Report Comment Summary and Complete Comments Received
November 2018 Potential public owners of Elliott State Forest asked to indicate interest
August 2017 Memo to State Land Board

2018 Financial Analysis Presented to DSL Advisory Committee

 

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About the Elliott State Forest 

Approximately 90 percent of the Elliott State Forest’s 91,000 acres are a land asset of the Common School Fund. The act of Congress admitting Oregon to the Union in 1859 granted land to our new state specifically for the use of schools.  

Oregon’s school lands are required – as a condition of their granting and by our state constitution – to benefit schools. As a result, there is limited flexibility in how the Elliott State Forest and other school lands are managed.  

Since the forest was established in 1930, revenue from timber harvest has been the primary way the forest contributes to the Common School Fund. Before 2013, the Elliott generated millions of dollars from harvesting on average about one percent of the forest per year.

Since July 2012, because of harvest limitations prompted by a lawsuit over federally protected species, owning the Elliott has cost Oregon schools over $3 million. The forest is projected to continue to lose money because of these restrictions.

The Elliott State Forest Public Ownership Project seeks a solution that will address the financial impact to the school fund, while also achieving the other elements of the Land Board vision.

Elliott Dropbox Materials (via DSL)

Committees and workgroups involved in the Elliott State Research Forest exploratory process

A number of workgroups and committees have been assembled and charged with representing stakeholder interests and providing guidance to OSU and DSL through the process of exploring the Elliott State Research Forest concept. Information on ESRF committee and workgroups can be found below. 

DSL Elliott State Research Forest Advisory Committee

Convened by the Department of State Lands (Facilitated by Oregon Consensus)
Advises the Department of State Lands and Land Board
Composed of community leaders representing varied perspectives. ESRF Advisory Committee Roster
 
Purpose: To provide insight and input to DSL on key elements of a proposed plan to transfer management of the Elliott State Forest to OSU to operate as a research forest.

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OSU Elliott State Research Forest Exploratory Committee

Convened by Oregon State University College of Forestry
Advises Dean of OSU College of Forestry
Composed of College of Forestry faculty.

Purpose: Assembled to maximize participation and dialogue in the College around the feasibility and opportunity for establishing an Elliott State Research Forest. Charged with collaboratively developing the vision and goals that would position the Elliott State Research Forest to serve as a world-leading source of scientific knowledge and discovery to advance forest management and conservation.

Katy Kavanagh (committee chair)
Shannon Murray
Meg Krawchuk
Ashley D’Antonio
Matt Betts
Klaus Peuttmann
Ben Leshchinsky
John Sessions
Jenniffer Bakke (Chair for the Fish & Wildlife Habitat in Managed Forests Research Program and Environmental Services Manager with Hancock Forest Management)
Clark Binkley (Chair, Advisory Board, OSU Institute for Working Forest Landscapes)

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Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Development Workgroup
The development of an HCP is managed by DSL consultants at ICF with Oregon State University participation
Composed of ICF consultants, OSU members and independent consultants
Purpose: OSU will convene an HCP workgroup who will present updates on the HCP development process to the Exploratory Committee for broader discussion.

  • Troy Rahmig (ICF)
  • David Zippin (ICF)
  • Steve Hall (ICF)
  • Craig Hansen (independent consultant)
  • Gordie Reeves (OSU)
  • Gretchen Engbring (OSU)
  • Deanne Carlson (OSU)

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Financial & Carbon Modeling Workgroup
Convened by Oregon State University College of Forestry
Composed of internal and external experts
Purpose: Workgroup will produce a strategy and scoping document that assesses the potential to monetize available carbon on the Elliott. Articulate the steps needed to implement a plan that would contribute to a financial model that will create a self-sustaining research forest that is decoupled from the common school fund.

  • Tom Tuchmann (US Forest Capital, lead contractor)
  • Mark Rassmusen (Mason Bruce & Girard)
  • John Sessions (OSU)
  • Chuck Kerchner (Spatial Informatics Group)

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External Science Advisory Panel

Convened by Oregon State University College of Forestry (Facilitated by Oregon Consensus)
Advises Dean of OSU College of Forestry
Composed of scientists and subject matter experts. Science Advisory Panel Roster

Purpose: The panel will advise the Dean of the College of Forestry on the scientific and operational opportunities and challenges that emerge as OSU works to develop a comprehensive proposal. Panel will provide outside perspective and expertise, ensuring the scientific integrity of the research charter and associated research design.

Jennifer Allen, Portland State University; Panel Convener and Associate Professor of Public Administration
Cassandra Moseley, University of Oregon; Senior Associate VP for Research and Innovation and Director of Ecosystem Workforce Program, Inst. for a Sustainable Environ.
Eric White, US Forest Service; Research Social Scientist
Gwen Busby, GreenWood Resoures, Inc.; Director of Economic Research
Linda Nagel, Colorado State University; Department Head, Professor of Silviculture
Mark Swanson, Washington State University; Associate Professor, School of the Environment
Matt Sloat, Wild Salmon Center; Director of Science
Ryan Haugo, The Nature Conservancy; Director of Conservation Science
Serra Hoagland, US Forest Service; Liaison Officer (Biologist)