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Danger Tree Policy Tom Erkert Group Leader for Transportation Planning, Operations, & Maintenance Pacific Northwest Region USDA Forest Service.

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Presentation on theme: "Danger Tree Policy Tom Erkert Group Leader for Transportation Planning, Operations, & Maintenance Pacific Northwest Region USDA Forest Service."— Presentation transcript:

1 Danger Tree Policy Tom Erkert Group Leader for Transportation Planning, Operations, & Maintenance Pacific Northwest Region USDA Forest Service

2 Agenda Responsibility/LiabilityProblemPolicyDiscussion

3 What’s your Responsibility? Conduct the Survey Identify the problems to the best of your abilities Document Results Present Results to the Line Officer –Inform them of their responsibilities under the directive –Inform them what their liability is if they choose to ignore it

4 Liability (Cuz I know you want to talk about it) Three types –Agency, Line Officer, Personal Basic Rules under Federal Tort Claims Act –Follow the process the Agency has given you –Document your results –You will be within the scope of your employment if you follow the process Therefore –Agency assumes the liability if you are working within the scope of your duties

5 The Problem Monitoring revealed –Danger Trees are prevalent across all units –Inconsistent approaches Recent Incidents Some Contractors/Permittees have refused to use Roads Large Wildfires that burned in 2002/2003

6 Examples Roads Program Monitoring –2004 –2005 Other Field Site Visits

7 GIP Road 23 - 2004

8 Mth Road 4885 - 2004 More later…

9 SIS Road 4103 - 2005

10 OLY Road 33 - 2005

11 MAL Roads - 2004

12 UMP Diamond Lake Resort Road 28

13 B&B Fire Area - DES Highway 20 - 2005 Corbett Snow park Parking Area

14 Monument Fire Area - MAL Road 1672 - 2005 Road 1672457 - 2005

15 This Can Lead To… Road 4885, MTH 07/24/2004 1430

16 And Finally This… Tree Entered Passenger Compartment Tree Impaled 12 year old boy

17 Other Incidents COL 8/1/2005 –Employee’s vehicle struck by falling White Fir –Thankfully no one was hurt Mt Ashland Road (County) –ODOT worker killed

18 The Policy

19 Where Is It? R6 Supplement to FSM 7733 –R6/PNW Supplement No.: 7730-2005-1 Available at: – Field Guides Referenced: –Developed Recreation Sites Guide –Field Guide (This Class) rTreeIdentification&Response.pdf rTreeIdentification&Response.pdf rTreeIdentification&Response.pdf

20 Policy Summary Goal is to ensure the safe use of roads by all users Safety takes priority over all other considerations Identification of danger trees will be done by a “Qualified Person” Road segments identified as High priority will be closed until the hazardous condition is mitigated

21 Forest Supervisor Responsibilities 7733.04 Provide a Safe Transportation System –(FSM 7702, 7704, 7730) Ensure a Qualified Person is Available Mitigate Hazards

22 Definitions 7733.05 Danger tree – A standing tree that presents a hazard to people due to conditions such as, but not limited to, deterioration or physical damage to the root system, trunk, stem, or limbs and the direction or lean of the tree (FSH 6709.11) Danger tree = Hazard tree Qualified person – A person trained to identify danger trees in accordance with the “Field Guide for Danger Tree Identification and Response”

23 Assessment Methodologies 7733.3 Roads Within Developed Rec Sites –Long-Range Planning for Developed Sites in the Pacific Northwest: The Context of Hazard Tree Management (Harvey & Hessburg, 1992) Roads Outside Developed Rec Sites –Field Guide for Danger Tree Identification and Response (Toupin & Barger, 2005)

24 Field Guide Mechanics Rating System –Field Guide Activity, Exposure, Failure Potential –High/Med/Low Way to Prioritize Treatments Assessments will be Ongoing –Condition Surveys –Project Prep Work –Contract Work

25 Priority Classifications 7733.5 Assign Priority Classification Based on –Failure Potential –Potential Failure Zone –Exposure Duration Long/Short Intermittent but High Frequency

26 High Priority Imminent Tree Failure Potential Areas where people are stopped and congregated such as or with Higher Traffic Volumes: Interior Roads of developed recreation sites Parking Areas Scenic Vistas, Geologic Points of Interest Active Projects or Contracts Intersections on Op Mtce Level 3-5 roads Operational Maintenance Level 3-5 roads Active Haul routes

27 Medium Priority Same as High Priority except –Tree failure potential is likely rather than imminent

28 Low Priority Areas with low traffic volumes such as Operational Maintenance Level 2 roads Imminent or Likely Tree Failure Potential

29 Management Actions (7733.7) High Priority Road Segments Require Prompt Action –Eliminate Danger Trees OR –Close the Road Medium & Low Priority –Not Time Critical –Use other Strategies

30 Strategies 7733.4

31 Assessments Assess Danger Trees during routine work –Road Maintenance Plans –Condition Surveys (Informal & Formal) –Contract Prep –Safety Reviews –Contract Administration –Etc.

32 Backlog of Work Areas with Large Backlogs –Use for Class C Chain Saw Certification Train –Title II Funding –CWK2 this year –Commercial Timber Sales –Personal Use Firewood –Watershed Restoration Projects Source for Large Woody Debris

33 CWK2 Funding FY 06 $1.6 MM Region –Tied to Timber Output, For Safety Related Work

34 NEPA Considerations Planning Docs –Include Danger Tree mitigation as Connected action, Over Life as Reasonably Foreseeable Action Utilize Categorical Exclusions (FSH 1909.15) –Chapter 31.12, subs. 4 – Repair and maintenance of roads, trails, and landline boundaries. DM Not Req. –Chapter 31.2, subs. 13 – Salvage of dead and/or dying trees no to exceed 250 acres; and subs. 14 Commercial and non-commercial sanitation harvest of trees to control insects and disease not to exceed 250 acres. DM Required

35 ESA & Heritage Compliance with the Endangered Species Act is required. –Close the road if danger trees can’t be felled –Danger trees must be felled if roads cannot be closed. Contact the Forest Heritage specialist –Additional mitigation may be needed

36 Coop Agreements/MOU’s For roads on NFS lands managed by others (state, county. etc.) Address danger-tree management in the easement language or in a Memorandum of Understanding. –ODOT MOU –WSDOT MOU –Forest Road Agreements

37 Med/Low Priority Strategies There is more time to plan and execute cost-efficient programs –Commercial Timber Sale Program –Stewardship Program

38 Timber Sales, Permits, Contracts Road Systems used for Prep by Admin Personnel will be safe to use –May need to be treated before (CMRD/CWK2) Haul Routes to be Treated in Pre-Haul, During and Post Haul –Appraise for Work (T-854) according to Commensurate Share Policy –Level 3-5 Share based on traffic count –Level 2 Purchaser/Permittee is responsible

39 Wildfire Strategy Suppression –Fell Imminent or Likely Failure Potential Trees –Leave Road Systems Safe for BAER Teams BAER –Apply for funds for assessment, stabilization, and monitoring (Consider 3 years) –Qualified Person Must be on Team Plan for Commercial Removal on Med/Low Priority Roads –Separate Salvage Sale Plan for Recurrent Treatments in Road Maintenance Plans

40 Required Training 7733.8 Qualified Person –Complete class on implementation of the Field Guide for Danger Tree Identification and Response

41 Questions?

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