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    Call for Environmental Public Input
    South Ridgeline Habitat Study (SRHS)


    I. Combined SEN General Meeting and City SRHS Meeting
    to collect neighborhood values related to the natural areas in the SRHS area.
    Thursday, March 15, 7:00pm to 9:00pm at the Hilyard Community Center

    II. Formal public comment period on draft report, through March 28.
    At long last, now is the time to submit your nature observations to this process!
    Read the South Ridgeline Habitat Study Draft Report Here

    Please see our discussion area for latest info!

    Dear neighbors, we desperately need your contributions to help pay back the essential costs of expert witnesses and lawyers for fighting the Amazon Creek Headwaters PUDs, including the pending developer appeal of our victory on the Green PUD. You can help by contributing to VIEW online through Friends of Eugene, the official non-profit fiscal sponsor, quickly and securely anytime. Just say "VIEW" in the comments field. Please help today, if you can. Any amount appreciated! — Kevin & Lisa



    Please see our discussion area for latest info!

    The Citizens Nature Project

    Welcome to the Citizens Nature Project! Founded in 2000 to help organize citizen input, from neighbors to naturalists, to the Eugene/Springfield Metro Natural Resources Study (NRS), we continue to work for documentation and protection of our local natural resource areas.

    Please help us spread the word about the Nature Project. Share your thoughts in our online forum, join our email list (below), lend your enthusiasm, and recruit a friend to the ongoing research and public meetings. Let's save (some precious parts of) the world together!


    Summer 2005 - NRS Process warms up in Eugene

    June 27, 5:30pm in the McNutt Room at City Hall is an important City Council work session where staff will propose their "implementation options" in response to council motion for review of the safe harbor methodology. Beware of loopholes, obfuscation, delays, and potential watering down!

    May 2005 - City staff reveal their current proposal for "Goal 5 natural resource conservation", representing roughly two years of work hidden from public participation, in the form of more than 400 pages of nerdy documentation published online in roughly 100 separate documents - which still excludes some 1900 acres of known high-qulaity wildlife habitat areas.

    June 2005 - City Council passes motion instructing staff to review the approach taken since July 2003 (following council's July 28, 2003 adoption of Ordinance #20296) under safe harbor inventory method for wildlife habitat areas - considering the possibility that mapped habitat of a listed sensitive species (pileated woodpecker) has been left out.

    Register Guard responds with flatly inaccurate, seriously one-sided editorial as if pulled straight from anti-environmental Chamber of Commerce talking points.

    City staff again moves location of NRS web pages to: http://www.eugenenr.org

    BUT to locate the sprawling complex of documentation for the current staff Goal 5 proposal before the EUgene Planning Commission, you need to wind your way farther in, to: Packet Materials for the May 9, 2005 Eugene Planning Commission Work Session on Goal 5

    The only form in which we have been able to find the current staff proposal online seem to be in roughly 100 separate documents, as seen at that page (and its several sub-pages).

    (So much for transparency and supporting public participation...)

    Spring 2005 - NRS Process Continues in Eugene

    According to the City web site:
    "Maps and documents describing the City's draft recommendations for areas to be protected, and the analysis that led to the draft recommendations, will be available in Spring 2005."

    That city statement applies to the riparian areas and narrow corridors astride upland streams. However, because city staff is acting in an eroneous belief that the "safe harbor" areas don't include listed sensitive species, they are apparently ignoring the requirement to define protection measures for all those remaining habitat areas between the stream corridors - encompassing most of the upland wildlife habitat areas in the city!

    Specifically for example, we still contest this city claim (repeated in quoted context below): "In effect, this removed the non-stream corridor upland areas from the inventory, since none of these areas met the Safe Harbor criteria for wildlife habitat sites contained in Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR 660-023-0110)."   But in fact, we have discovered that even under the sleazy short-cut "safe harbor" methodology, if properly applied, the non-stream parts of draft inventory site E-37 and others would still qualify as significant!

    To quote DLCD staff, from city staff's own belated memo of July 21, 2003, "Under both approaches, the city is required to develop a resource protection program for its upland resources."

    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's current list of Federal Threatened and Endangered Species in Oregon
    Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife's list of State of Oregon Threatened and Endangered Fish and Wildlife Species
    Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife's list of State of Oregon Sensitive Species

    Latest Eugene NRS Documents (as moved by City)

    2004 - Jobs and Land Use Roundtable Asks Council for Upland Habitat Zoning Study

    The informal multi-partisan group of community leaders known as the "Jobs and Land Use Roundtable", chaired by Jack Roberts and Rob Zako, including Republicans and Democrats, environmentalists and developers, designers, managers, bureaucrats, and entrepreneurs, Chamber of Commerce leaders and Friends of Eugene, unanimously sent a formal letter to the Eugene City Council requesting that the city go ahead with an Upland Habitat Zoning Study to evaluate wildlife habitat areas for establishment of appropriate protections. In effect this would result in picking up and moving forward responsibly with the open public natural resource planning process for our wooded ridgelines and remaining forest, in those area in which the developer-driven City Council majority had infamously terminated it (via their post-public-hearing "safe harbor" gambit).

    July 28, 2003 - Eugene City Council approves butchered NRS inventory

    In the action described below, the developer-driven City Council, led by Mayor Torrey, overruled their Planning Commission's recommendation, and arbitrarily dropped two-thirds of the area of wildlife habitat type (the majority of four major habitat areas in the draft inventory), or about 1200 acres of natural resource, from the standard methodology planning process.

    The votes of Councilors Bettman, Kelly, and Taylor on these ordinances and leadiung up to them were consistent with approving the science-based natureal resources inventory as recommended by the Planning Commssion. The votes of Councilors Pape, Poling, Solomon, Nathansan, and Mesier were consistent with after-the-public-process politically-based hacking of the draft inventory (primarily in accord with the stated wishes of the Homebuilders Association).

    From City of Eugene web page:

    Eugene City Council Action

    At a meeting on July 28, 2003 at 5:30 p.m. in the McNutt Room in City Hall, the Eugene City Council adopted by identical 5-3 votes, two ordinances (No. 20295 and No. 20296) for the adoption of an inventory of Goal 5 Riparian and Upland Wildlife Habitat sites within the Eugene Urban Growth Boundary. One ordinance addresses the area between the Eugene city limits and the Eugene urban growth boundary; this ordinance must also be adopted by the Lane County Board of Commissioners.  The other ordinance addresses the area inside Eugene city limits; the Council's adoption of this ordinance is final.   These ordinances do not protect or prohibit development on any land; they only identify lands to be studied further for possible protection of natural resources.

    The Council's action applied the standard Goal 5 inventory process to riparian corridors, and those portions of upland wildlife habitat sites that include  stream corridors.  Goal 5 Safe Harbor provisions for wildlife habitat inventory were applied to the remainder of the upland wildlife habitat sites on the preliminary inventory.   In effect, this removed the non-stream corridor upland areas from the inventory, since none of these areas met the Safe Harbor criteria for wildlife habitat sites contained in Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR 660-023-0110).

    Key Documents:

    Agenda Item Summary

    Ordinance 1

    Ordinance 2

    Ordinance Exhibits
        Ex. A, Significance Criteria
        Ex. B, List of Sites
        Ex. B, Map 1
        Ex. B, Map 2
        Ex. B, Map 3
        Ex. B, Map 4
        Ex. C, Findings

    Staff Memo to Council

    End quote from City of Eugene

    Eugene City Council Public Hearing
    On June 9, 2003 at 7:30 pm in the Council Chamber, the Council will hold a public hearing on the Goal 5 Inventory.  This is a crucial opportunity for concerned citizens to testify in favor of the Natural Resources Inventory (as recently recommended for approval by the Eugene Planning Commission).  Download hearing notice.

    Why is this hearing so important?   The Natural Resources Study is a once-in-a-lifetime planning process, established by state planning Goal 5, for defining and protecting natural resources. The first step in the process is a simple inventory of what natural areas exist.

    Eugene has been stuck at that first simple step for the last fifteen years. (See the NRS historical timeline.) Despite the green image of our community, after all these years, the crucial habitats needed by the plants and animals around us are still unprotected - and therefore, still shrinking! The draft inventory now shows only about 3500 acres left within the Eugene urban growth boundary (UGB) in the wildlife habitat category.

    WE NEED TO SAVE THESE LAST PRECIOUS GREEN ACRES!

    Approval of our basic inventory has been blocked repeatedly (at various levels of government) since the technical work was first completed about a dozen years ago. Meanwhile, the more development-oriented resource studies like the Residential Lands Study and the Industrial Lands Study have been fully completed, approved, and updated, too.

    Now our Natural Resources Inventory is once again up for final approval, having survived several more delay attempts through dogged citizen intervention. The Eugene Planning Commission has given a strong positive recommendation to the City Council for approval of the Natural Resources Inventory. Past city councils have approved essentially this same inventory at least twice before. Now, this should be the one that counts!

    EUGENEIANS NEED TO SPEAK UP ON MONDAY TO HELP TODAY'S CITY COUNCIL MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION!

    With a state-mandated deadline looming on June 30, 2003 for city approval of Eugene's inventory, if enough citizens come and show their support, even the current pro-development city council may well be persuaded to go through with approval our Natural Resources Inventory.

    This is our one best opportunity, and the best hope for the trees and flowers, birds and butterflies that depend on our remaining upland habitat areas. Please come and speak if you can, or just come and bear witness in support of our local environment.
    Kevin Matthews, CNP, FoE

    Official Background Documents
    Agenda Item Summary (5/28/03)
    Staff Memo to Council (5/28/03)
    Staff Memo to Council (5/13/03)
    Revised draft Goal 5 Inventory Narrative Report. (PDF, 292K)
          Map 1 - Northwest Eugene
          Map 2 - Southwest Eugene
          Map 3 - Southeast Eugene
          Map 4 - Northeast Eugene

    We're still waiting (see this NRS Historical Timeline) for the Draft NR Study Inventory and Significance Criteria to be approved, so the process can move on to the next step!

    In the fall of 2001, the draft inventory and criteria were approved by the Eugene City Council, and then further approval was effectively blocked by the Lane County Commissioners.

    Then, early in 2002 year, DLCD (the state agency overseeing Goal 5 planning) authorized independent approval of the draft inventory and criteria by each local jurisdiction. A process breakthrough!

    The Eugene City Council agenda was set for them to re-approve the draft inventory and criteria according to the new DCLD authorization in October, 2002.

    The at the last minute, the City Attorney asserted, in an undocumented oral opinion, that the draft inventory and criteria needed to be approved by a Metro Plan amendment process, with new public hearings (though probably no new information!). The result was removal of the NRS from the City Council agenda for the rest of 2002!

    The Eugene Planning Commission held a hearing on Tuesday, December 17, 2002, but then on January 28, 2003, staff proposed delaying the project for more (redundant) background work. We got the record re-opened and testified on the state deadline and many technical considerations. Then on March 10, 2003, staff came back with a new recommendation. They retracted the proposal to delay the process, but instead proposed and recommended for revised significance criteria (with the gravest flaws) and a corresponding Map B (available for download at the Eugene NRS page).

    Again we got the record re-opened, meet with planning staff to try to understand the reasoning behind their proposal, and then we submitted more testimony by the latest close of record on 28 March, 2003.

    Eventually, the Eugene Planning Comission got to vote on the Natural Resources Inventory, and the result was a strong approcal of Map A and the corresponding, essentially intact significance criteria.

    Nest step, Eugene City Council! See above...

    Meanwhile, in addition to the long-suffering governmental process tack, organizational efforts are continuing toward a community-based GIS capability that would allow us to maintain, improve, and publish our own maps of local natural resource areas.


    Natural Resource Reporting Form

    This is the current version of the form we use for citizen input to the Natural Resources Study.

    Please download and print this form, fill out a copy for any local natural resources you know, and return the form to us whenever you can:

    Nature_Form-2000.0918.1900.pdf   (v 1.5 - two pages)

    PDF File Download - View and Print with Adobe Acrobat Reader (free download)

    Basic JPEG Nature Form - view and print in web browser

    Although the formal period for collecting sites is over, we will still copy all the forms we recieve, and periodically submit them to the LCOG Natural Resources Study staff. We want to keep collecting and delivering tons of real grassroots input, from everyday citizens and local experts alike!

    The Citizens Nature Project wants your help to document the special details and characteristics of our local natural resources, everything from a special spring or habitat in your own backyard, to the details of a major site across town. The government study process doesn't have the staff, funding or time to actually go into the field and see what is there, where the water is, what special plants, animals, topography, and geology. But we, the citizens who inhabit and love this local green landscape, we already know what is out there!   All we have to do is work together and write it all down, using this simple one page "Nature Form".

    This is the essence of the Citizens Nature Project. Through grassroots documentation of the natural resources around us, large and small, we can start the process of getting these precious resources protected.

    Please copy and reprint this "Nature Form", give it to all your friends, and help us spread the word!


    Natural Resources Study Background References

    These are off-site links to some of the specific official chunks of information online related to the Metro Natural Resources Study.

  • City of Eugene - Natural Resources Study Map - PDF File Download - View with Abode Acrobat

  • City of Eugene - May 22 NRS Overview Memo - includes some project history

  • City of Eugene - Open Waterways Map and Ordinance - since waterways are related to many natural resources

  • State of Oregon - OAR Division 23, 660-023-0000, Complying with Goal 5 - the fundamental state regulations behind the study

    There are several variously relevant reports from LCOG and the City of Eugene which don't seem to be available online. If you find any of these on the web, please let us know!

  • Vegetation and Wildlife Species by Habitat Type - LCOG, April 1990
  • Metropolitan Natural Resources Study Special Study, Study Report - LCOG, March 1991 Draft
  • Headwaters Streams Study - Esther Lev, May 2000

    The following report is the foundation of the Eugene and Springfield identified natural resource areas. It documents the original fieldwork and methodology, and even at ten years old it may still represent the bulk of the actual field work, since most subsequent updates have been doen from aerial photogarphs. This report seems to be hard to get, but in theory it should be available from LCOG or the City of Eugene:

  • Preliminary Inventory of Eugene and Springfield Wetland, Riparian, and Upland Areas for Wildlife Habitat Value. Complied by Esther Lev with field assitance by Peter Zika for Lane Council of Governments, December 1988, Revised February 1990, Reprinted May, 1990.


    Nature Project Contacts

    1.  Online Discussion Forum

    2.  Email Discussion List

    To join the Nature Project general discussion email list, just send email to majordomo@designcommunity.com, from your regular email account, and in the body of the message say exactly:

            subscribe nature
    
    To send email to the discussion list, first subscribe, and then address the email to "nature@natureproject.com".

    3.  Nature Project Coordinators

    Kevin Matthews ( 541-345-7421 voice   (10am to 6pm, or leave message) 541-345-7438 fax), Mary O'Brien, Jan Spenser, Kit Larson, John and Jane Corlis, Bob O'Brien, Margaret Robertson, Bob Rosen, Peg Waite

    Here's our regular physical mail address:

    Citizens Nature Project
    PO Box 1588
    Eugene, OR 97440

    For more background on where we're coming from, and where we're headed, please read our initial concept proposal written by Mary O'Brien.

    Best wishes,

    Kevin Matthews, a Nature Project coordinator

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