When you receive an email notification, click on the link following the wording “You may review the NOAP details from this link”. This will open the notification on the FERNS site.
Scroll down to see the landowner, operator, and type of activity. You will need to make sure you’re signed in to see any comments or written documents (and to leave comments).
Next, at the top of the notification page, click on print full report (yes, you are sure) – this does not actually print anything but downloads a report with more details.
In this report you’ll find a chart with specifics about the operation, for example:
Now that you have the basic info — time to make some phone calls!
There’s a lot more information to find out, and to do that you’ll need to make some phone calls. The start and end dates listed are merely the timeframe in which the activity could happen – but often foresters or operators have a better idea of when they are planning to complete it. The chemicals listed are also a complete list of chemicals that could be used – but they will not always use all the chemicals listed.
The first rule of thumb is – ALWAYS BE POLITE. Introduce yourself and why you are calling. We recommend contacting the stewardship forester first to express any concerns you have about resources — for example, impacts to streams in the area, drinking waters sources downstream, or resources that they may not be aware of (such as livestock or wells). The forester can also help you understand any regulations that apply — such as buffers that the operator is required to leave around streams, homes, etc.
Next we recommend calling the forester in charge of the operation, or the helicopter/spray operator to find more specific information. Here’s an example:
“Hi, my name is Sara and I live in Gold Beach, Oregon. I’m calling about your planned herbicide application called Teton Site Prep Curry. Since I live nearby and am near that area often, I’m wondering if you can tell me when you are planning to do the application?” … (response – might be approximate but they cannot know for sure until the day of the application, due to needing specific weather conditions). “Oh that makes sense, could you let me know when the time is closer to when you hope to do the application, maybe the week or a few days before?” (You can later ask for them to notify you the morning of the application as well). “Thank you so much, I really appreciate your willingness to communicate so I can be sure to leave the area during the application. Do you also know which chemicals you’ll be using yet?” ….. and after whatever other conversation you have, be sure to thank them again and double-check that they have your name and phone number, “I’ll look forward to hearing more from you later”.
Some operators or foresters are more receptive or helpful than others, but I’ve never had a bad experience having a conversation like this. If the landowner or forester is locally based, it’s helpful to express how you appreciate local businesses and want to help foster positive relationships between communities and local timber companies.
Leave a comment on FERNS
Next you should leave a formal comment on FERNS, reiterating the resource concerns you discussed with your stewardship forester.
Alert your community
If there are others in a community that could be effected, post the notification at public places (like the post office – see our flyer template and instructions, or you can simply post the printed full report from FERNS) or send out on email listservs. You can also convert the flyer into a jpg to post on social media.
Work with partners who can help negotiate better water protections
Often working with partners can create more opportunities for negotiating protections. For example, the Port Orford Watershed Council was able to negotiate a 25 foot buffer on a non-fishbearing headwater stream above their city watershed from a timber company that was not required to leave any buffer at all. They were able to do this by having polite and formal conversations as a municipal entity charged with protecting the city’s drinking water, and were therefore likely received better than if an activist group had tried to do so. Other community organizations have had success working with DEQ to address water quality concerns, or with the city water board. It’s important to reiterate these types of concern to the stewardship forester and others at ODF and ask them to check and make sure the operator is following regulations — and do your own water quality monitoring if no one else will!