How to Use FERNS for Spray Notifications

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Help with subscribing to the Forestry Activity Electronic Reporting and Notification System (FERNS)

The tutorial above will walk you through how to register and use the Oregon Department of Forestry’s online notification system. You can contact ODF for assistance at forestryinformation@oregon.gov or 503-945-7200. Connect with one of the local organizations to ask questions about using FERNS or find out about FERNS workshops you can attend, or for specific help with registering or using FERNS you can contact your Oregon Department of Forestry Stewardship Forester.

Understanding the Notifications You Receive

When you view a notification on the FERNS website, you can click “Print Full Report” to view more details about the operation. You can view a list of chemicals that may or may not be used (the company may decide to use less than the listed options at the time of application), the size and location of the application unit, and a window of time during which this spray could occur. Chemical operators must send a notification of their planned sprays to the Oregon Department of Forestry at least 15 days prior, but are not required to notify ODF or the public as to the actual day they will apply the aerial spray. As a result, we have found that the best way to learn when a spray will occur is to call the spray operator or timberland owner, whose contact information can be found on the FERNS notification full report.  Be direct and respectful, identify yourself as a neighboring landowner, and request the date the spray will occur – or, if the date has not been planned, request to be notified when the spray is planned (some companies will already have a list of neighboring landowners they contact — although you may want to check back later rather than simply waiting for the call). Often neighbors to a timber owner want to be able to leave their property during the spray operation in case of drift, and some landowners have also had success negotiating with timber companies to refrain from aerial spraying near their homes or drinking water sources, and in these locations the company would do a backpack spray or mechanical treatment instead.

The notification report will also list bodies of water that require buffers or written plans — and if you are aware of sensitive resources that may be affected, such as a drinking water stream or livestock, you should alert the spray operator and your ODF stewardship forester. Any time a notification requires a written plan for sensitive resources, you can post a comment onto the notification’s FERNS page (when you are logged in as a FERNS user) – and we encourage you to do so!