Independent Research and Science Team

Independent Research and Science Team

The Independent Research & Science Team (IRST) is a group of scientists appointed by Oregon Board of Forestry to provide science-based recommendations and technical information to assist the Board of Forestry in determining when it is necessary or advisable to adjust rules, guidance, and training programs to achieve the biological goals and objectives. INR was selected as the housing agency for IRST and provides staff support.

IRST works with the Adaptive Management Program Committee (interest group representatives) to implement the adaptive management program. In particular, the IRST and INR are responsible for:

  • Working with the AMPC to refine research questions;
  • Drafting requests for proposals to address research questions;
  • Recommending proposals for funding;
  • Administering proposals selected;
  • Preparing summaries of the results of funded research;
  • Drafting and maintaining the IRST charter; and,
  • Holding IRST meetings as required under the Oregon Public Meetings Law.

More information on the background and ongoing operations can be found on the Oregon Department of Forestry website.

About the IRST

About the IRST

The Independent Research and Science Team (IRST) oversees the production of “best available science” (set by them per OAR 629-603-0400(4)) following the research agenda for informing policy decisions set by the Adaptive Management Program Committee (AMPC) and the Oregon Board of Forestry. Work under the research agenda will be primarily accomplished via open requests for proposals. The IRST has staff support from OSU’s Institute for Natural Resources, and will work in coordination with the rest of the Adaptive Management Program via Oregon Department of Forestry's Adaptive Management Program Coordinator. The rules defining the IRST are excerpted below. 

Forest Practices Act: Adaptive Management Program IRST

For the full rules about the Adaptive Management Program, go to Department of Forestry, Chapter 629, Division 603 ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

(1) The purpose of the Independent Research and Science Team (IRST) is to complete work described in division 603 of OAR chapter 629 and section 38(8), chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022.

(2) The IRST shall develop its operating procedures through a charter approved by the IRST. The charter shall include:

(a) A values statement on the purpose of the IRST, including the need for ongoing good relationships;

(b) Ground rules for IRST member interactions;

(c) Measures to obtain research expertise or review from outside the IRST;

(d) Determination of what constitutes a substantial decision per section 38(9)(b), chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022;

(e) Process for selecting chairperson(s). The chairperson shall have the usual duties and powers of a presiding officer;

(f) Process for nominating new members to fill vacancies and add new disciplinary expertise pursuant to section 38(6), chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022;

(g) Role, expectations, and representation on subcommittees; and

(h) Measures to maintain and improve the long-term effectiveness of the IRST, including:

(A) Succession management procedures;

(B) Onboarding of new IRST members; and

(C) Regular review and updating of the IRST charter.

(3) An IRST member’s term may be renewed upon a two-thirds vote of the rest of the IRST and then ratification by the board. A two-thirds vote of the other IRST members, or a majority vote of the board, may remove an IRST member before the end of their term.

(4) The IRST shall develop standards for best available science for the adaptive management program that include:

(a) Types of sources of best available science;

(b) Process for determining what is best available science based on criteria set by the IRST, including an assessment of study quality and relevance;

(c) Testable hypotheses as a crucial element for successful research;

(d) A peer review process that is transparent and addresses both study designs and study reports. The IRST shall not grant anonymity to authors, handling editors, or peer-reviewers before January 1, 2028. After January 1, 2028, the IRST may modify the anonymity requirements to peer reviewers by a substantial decision of the IRST; and

(e) Other elements the IRST determines are necessary.

(5) The IRST may update the best available science standards developed pursuant to section (4) of this rule.

(6) The IRST shall conduct their meetings per the IRST charter, and all IRST meetings shall be conducted as public meetings consistent with Oregon Public Meetings Law. The IRST will provide for public testimony at meetings unless the chairperson determines that doing so would be detrimental to the conduct of the IRST’s business.

(7) The IRST may pursue scientific inquiry via various avenues, including:

(a) Literature review;

(b) Field monitoring;

(c) Original research;

(d) Commissioned studies; and,

(e) Other means of scientific inquiry.

Statutory/Other Authority: ORS 527.710 & Section 34(2), Chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022
Statutes/Other Implemented: Section 38(7), Chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022 & Section 34(1), Chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022
History:
DOF 4-2022, adopt filed 11/09/2022, effective 11/15/2022

 

FPA Adaptive Management Program

Forest Practices Act: Adaptive Management Program

Timber and conservation groups agreed to recommend changes to the Oregon Forest Practices Act in October 2021 after an extensive negotiation process referred to as the Private Forest Accord. One section of these rules defined a new Adaptive Management Program (AMP) with the purpose of determining if forestry practices are meeting their goals to protect natural resources through a science-based and transparent process. The AMP consists of both an Adaptive Management Program Committee (stakeholders) and an Independent Research and Science Team (scientists), who will collaborate to identify and oversee research on priority topics. The rules defining these roles are excerpted below. For the full rules about the Adaptive Management Program, go to Department of Forestry, Chapter 629, Division 603 ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

 

Adaptive Management Program Purpose

(1) The purpose of the adaptive management program rules is to provide science-based recommendations and technical information to assist the Board of Forestry in determining when it is necessary or advisable to adjust rules, guidance, and training programs to achieve the biological goals and objectives.

(2) OAR 629-603-0000 through 629-603-0600 shall be known as the adaptive management program rules.

(3) It is the policy of the State of Oregon that regulation of forest practices for the protection of aquatic species shall, in addition to other statutory requirements, be subject to a process of adaptive management, whereby forest practice rules are:

(a) Monitored for effectiveness relative to the biological goals and objectives; and

(b) Modified if necessary to achieve the biological goals and objectives.

(4) The adaptive management program is established to implement the policy stated in section (3) of this rule.

(5) The purpose of the adaptive management program is to:

(a) Ensure timely and effective change as needed to meet biological goals and objectives.

(b) Provide predictability and stability of the process of changing regulation so landowners, regulators, and interested members of the public can understand and anticipate change.

(c) Apply best available science to decision-making.

(d) Effectively meet biological goals and objectives with less operationally expensive prescriptions when feasible.

(6) For the purposes of this rule division, the following definitions apply:

(a) "Adaptive management program committee" (AMPC) means the adaptive management program committee described in OAR 629-603-0300.

(b) "Best available science" means the standards developed pursuant to OAR 629-603-0400(4).

(c) "Biological goals and objectives" means the biological goals and objectives as set by the department for a habitat conservation plan to meet requirements of section 11(1) chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022.

(d) "Independent research and science team" (IRST) means the independent research and science team described in OAR 629-603-0400.

(e) "IRST housing agency" means a public body that houses and supports the Independent Research and Science Team as described in OAR 629-603-0450.

(f) "Research agenda" means the plan developed by the AMPC pursuant to OAR 629-603-0200(5)(a).

Statutory/Other Authority: ORS 527.710 & section 34(2), chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022
Statutes/Other Implemented: section 34(1), chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022
History:
DOF 14-2023, amend filed 07/01/2023, effective 07/01/2023
DOF 4-2022, adopt filed 11/09/2022, effective 11/15/2022

 

Adaptive Management Program Overview

(1) The adaptive management program must:

(a) Conduct effectiveness monitoring by assessing the degree to which the rules facilitating particular forest conditions and ecological processes achieve the biological goals and objectives. This assessment may include evaluation of cumulative effects.

(b) Conduct research inquiry and validation monitoring to:

(A) Determine if additional scientific inquiry is needed to fill knowledge gaps related to biological goals and objectives; and

(B) Test and improve existing and new models and methodologies used to design and implement forest practice rules intended to meet the biological goals and objectives.

(2) The adaptive management program participants include:

(a) The Adaptive Management Program Committee (AMPC) described in OAR 629-603-0300 and its composition specified in section 36, chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022;  

(b) The Independent Research and Science Team (IRST) described in OAR 629-603-0400 and its composition specified in section 38, chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022; and

(c) The Adaptive Management Program Coordinator described in OAR 629-603-0500.

(3) The Board of Forestry and the department shall encourage access to land for the purpose of conducting studies and monitoring contemplated by Division 603 rules. The AMPC and the IRST may each prepare a report to the board describing instances where access to land has been insufficient to achieve the purposes of this rule division. If presented with such a report, the board shall consider whether to initiate rulemaking or other measures to address any research and monitoring problems arising from lack of access to land.

(4) The State Forester shall report to the board annually about the status of adaptive management program efforts.

(5) The board intends that the process of continuous improvement be applied to the adaptive management program. The department shall conduct performance audits once every six years per Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards. The first audit must be completed by January 1, 2029. The performance audits will evaluate whether the program achieved the purposes outlined in OAR 629-603-0000(5).

(6) Adaptive management program studies will focus on issues related to the biological goals and objectives. However, studies may address issues that are not related to the biological goals and objectives only if the studies do not impair research and monitoring on issues related to the biological goals and objectives.

(7) Adaptive management program research may test whether:

(a) Operationally less expensive prescriptions can effectively meet biological goals and objectives; and,

(b) More risk averse prescriptions are necessary to meet biological goals and objectives.

(8) The following topics shall be prioritized in the initial phase of the adaptive management program:

(a) Literature review for eastern Oregon steep slopes;

(b) Requirements of baseline and trend monitoring of road rules; and

(c) Amphibians.

(9) The AMPC may determine when section (8) of this rule is satisfied and therefore those topics are no longer priorities. In the event the AMPC makes these findings, the department shall present the AMPC findings to the board.

Statutory/Other Authority: ORS 527.710 & Section 34(2), Chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022
Statutes/Other Implemented: Section 34(1), Chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022
History:
DOF 14-2023, amend filed 07/01/2023, effective 07/01/2023
DOF 4-2022, adopt filed 11/09/2022, effective 11/15/2022

 

Adaptive Management Program Process Steps

(1) This rule specifies communications between the Board of Forestry, the AMPC, and the IRST to implement the adaptive management program. To the extent there needs to be communications not identified in this rule for adaptive management program success, the Adaptive Management Program Coordinator will facilitate these communications.

(2) By January 31, 2024:

(a) The AMPC shall:

(A) Complete their charter per OAR 629-603-0300(2); and

(B) Develop the initial list of research topics including the priorities in OAR 629-603-0100(8). Following completion of this list, the AMPC shall integrate the list into a Research Agenda developed via sections (3) through (5) of this rule.

(b) The IRST shall complete their charter per OAR 629-603-0400(2) and determine best available science per OAR 629-603-0400(4).

(3) Step 1: The AMPC shall develop preliminary research question(s).

(a) The AMPC shall succinctly specify preliminary research questions that include the following:

(A) The type of research and monitoring per OAR 629-603-0100(1)(a) or (b);

(B) The rule, biological goals and objectives, or other issue being studied;

(C) The objective of the research;

(D) A brief description of the context of the research question; and

(E) Other information the AMPC deems necessary for the IRST’s work per section (4) of this rule.

(b) The board may direct the AMPC to develop additional preliminary research questions.

(c) The AMPC shall send the preliminary research questions to the IRST annually on a date specified in the AMPC charter developed pursuant to OAR 629-603-0300(2).

(4) Step 2: The IRST shall prepare a proposal for each preliminary research question.

(a) Within 45 days of receiving a preliminary research question from the AMPC per subsection (3)(c) of this rule, the IRST shall inform the AMPC of the timeframe to complete a research proposal described in subsection (4)(c) of this rule.

(b) The IRST shall hone each preliminary research question into a final research question. The IRST shall communicate with the AMPC via the Adaptive Management Program Coordinator to allow the AMPC an opportunity to provide input to ensure that the AMPC’s original intent is maintained in the final research question. Following this communication, the IRST shall finalize the research question.

(c) The IRST shall develop, or direct through a third party the development of, a research proposal for each finalized research question. Each research proposal shall include:

(A) A literature review that specifies the need for or the type of monitoring, research, commissioned studies, or other means of scientific inquiry necessary to answer the finalized research question described in subsection (4)(b) of this rule;

(B) A preliminary estimate of the budget for each year of the research, and a timeline to complete the research project with specific deliverables; and,

(C) A preliminary description of research project requirements, scope of work including an estimate of the timeline and key milestones, and an estimate of the degree to which knowledge may be improved if the research proposal is implemented.

(d) The IRST may develop multiple research proposals to address each research question. Each proposal must include all the elements of subsection (4)(c) of this rule. If multiple research proposals are developed, the IRST shall compare their costs versus the knowledge benefits of the research proposals.

(e) The IRST shall send proposal(s) from subsections (4)(c) and (4)(d) of this rule to the AMPC within the timeframe communicated from the IRST to the AMPC pursuant to subsection (4)(a) of this rule.

(5) Step 3: The AMPC shall develop a research agenda.

(a) The AMPC shall develop a multi-year research agenda that includes:

(A) Prioritized research projects;

(B) Key milestones for each research project;

(C) A timeline for progress on research projects; and,

(D) A comprehensive IRST budget, including annual budget for each year of each project.

(b) In prioritizing the research projects, the AMPC shall consider:

(A) Biennial appropriations from the legislature;

(B) Priorities outlined in OAR 629-603-0100(8);

(C) Research proposals received from the IRST per subsection (4)(e) of this rule;

(D) Board direction;

(E) Requirements for continuity of research projects under agreement or out for RFP review; and,

(F) Other information as appropriate.

(c) The AMPC shall send the research agenda to the board no later than July 15 of odd-numbered years.

(d) The department shall present the budget in the research agenda developed pursuant to subsection (5)(a) of this rule to the board for a vote at the September board meeting of odd-numbered years. 

(e) The AMPC may request the department to hire a third party to complete analyses per OAR 629-603-0100(7).

(6) Step 4: The IRST shall implement the research agenda approved by the board pursuant to subsection (5)(d) of this rule.

(a) No later than November 1 of odd-numbered years, the IRST shall develop an annual work plan to implement the research agenda approved by the board in subsection (5)(d) of this rule.

(b) The IRST shall develop request for proposals (RFP) in an open, competitive process for research projects in the research agenda. The RFP shall include:

(A) Research project objectives, deliverables, and deadlines;

(B) A statement of work;

(C) The level of rigor needed for successful research project completion;

(D) The required expertise and capacity of proposers;

(E) The data as a deliverable;

(F) The expectations for a detailed final report;

(G) An after-action review meeting between the IRST and the contractor and other cooperators; and,

(H) Other RFP elements required by the IRST Housing Agency specified in OAR 629-603-0450.

(c) RFPs may include requirements for:

(A) Contractor and other cooperator presentations to the AMPC, the board, or other entities as appropriate.

(B) A summary report. If the contractor and other cooperators are required to produce a summary report for the agreement, it must contain the elements listed in section (6)(g) of this rule.

(d) The RFP announcement and award process shall follow procedures of the IRST Housing Agency, with the IRST selecting the RFP successful proposer.

(e) If an IRST member applies for an RFP, the IRST shall ensure RFP selections follow conflict of interest standards as established by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.

(f) The IRST shall develop and manage agreements for RFP successful proposer.

(g) If the agreement in subsection (6)(f) of this rule did not require development of a summary report, the IRST shall complete the summary report within 90 days of receiving the contractor and other cooperator’s detailed final report in paragraph (6)(b)(F) of this rule. The summary report shall be written for a lay audience and include:

(A) Methods sufficient to allow others to understand what was done and to evaluate the results and conclusions;

(B) A detailed description of the results; and

(C) Discussion and conclusions about:

(i) Effectiveness: In studies examining alternative prescriptions, the likely effectiveness of each prescription shall be reported.

(ii) Causal links: An assessment of how the results of relevant new research findings developed by the IRST or through outside research clarify or support causal links between forest practices and aquatic resources, and implications regarding how well forest practice rules or rule sets are likely to address these linkages.

(iii) Magnitude of impact: An assessment of the magnitude of impact on covered species or biological goals and objectives on a sliding scale.

(iv) Timescale of effects observed, and the immediacy of likely changes in the environment.

(v) Scope of inference.

(vi) Scientific uncertainty versus confidence: An assessment of the scientific uncertainty and confidence in the results.

(7) Step 5: Within 30 days of completion of the last of the reports described in paragraphs (6)(b)(F) and (6)(c)(B) and subsection (6)(g) of this rule, the IRST shall send both reports to the AMPC and the board.

(8) Step 6: The AMPC and the board shall assess the IRST reports described in section (7) of this rule and determine next steps per the following process.

(a) The AMPC shall consider reports described in paragraphs (6)(b)(F) and (6)(c)(B) and subsection (6)(g) of this rule from the IRST. Within 90 days of receipt of these reports from the IRST, the AMPC shall send its report to the board. This AMPC report shall include:

(A) Alternative actions, including a no action alternative, to address research findings identified in the IRST reports.

(B) The AMPC may recommend one or more of the alternatives. Recommendations shall include:

(i) Reasoning for the recommendation.

(ii) If a recommendation for a rule change, a clear description of the proposed rule change.

(iii) If a recommendation for additional scientific inquiry, a clear description of the preliminary research question.

(iv) If a recommendation for any other policy action, including rule guidance and training, a clear description of the proposed policy action.

(C) Minority reports may be included in reports to the board.

(b) By the second regular board meeting after receipt of the AMPC report, the AMPC shall present their recommendations to the board for a vote.

Statutory/Other Authority: ORS 527.710 & Section 34(2), Chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022
Statutes/Other Implemented: Section 38(7), Chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022 & Section 34(1), Chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022
History:
DOF 14-2023, amend filed 07/01/2023, effective 07/01/2023
DOF 4-2022, adopt filed 11/09/2022, effective 11/15/2022

 

Housing Agency For the IRST

(1) The department shall have an agreement with Oregon State University-Institute for Natural Resources to house the Independent Research and Science Team with an initial six-year agreement. At the end of the initial term, and for all periods thereafter, the department shall develop an agreement with a public body every six years to house and support the work of the IRST. The agreements shall align with Division 603 rules. As used in this rule, the term “public body” has the meaning provided in ORS 174.109.  

(2) Every six years, the Board of Forestry shall consider the location of the IRST Housing Agency in alignment with performance audits per OAR 629-603-0100(5). As part of this review, the AMPC must submit a report to the board evaluating performance of the IRST Housing Agency. The AMPC report shall reflect all the views of the AMPC members and does not require a vote of the AMPC.

(3) The IRST will oversee the IRST Housing Agency’s work to:

(a) Help refine research questions and associated proposals per OAR 629-603-0200(4);

(b) Draft requests for proposals to address research projects per OAR 629-603-0200(6);

(c) Post requests for proposals using standard public bidding processes per OAR 629-603-0200(6);

(d) Develop agreements for successful proposers of request for proposals per OAR 629-603-0200(6);

(e) Administer agreements mentioned in subsection (3)(d) of this rule per standard agreement processes for the Housing Agency per OAR 629-603-0200(6);

(f) As requested by the IRST, draft reports summarizing the results of funded research, per OAR 629-603-0200(6)(g);

(g) Provide administrative functions for the IRST including:

(A) Coordinate and host IRST meetings and ensure they adhere to Oregon Public Meetings Law;

(B) Draft and maintain the IRST charter per OAR 629-603-0400(2); and

(C) Provide other administrative functions as needed.

(h) Provide other support duties as needed.

Statutory/Other Authority: ORS 527.710 & Section 34(2), Chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022
Statutes/Other Implemented: Section 34(1), Chapter 33, Oregon Laws 2022
History:
DOF 5-2023, minor correction filed 07/01/2023, effective 07/01/2023
DOF 4-2022, adopt filed 11/09/2022, effective 11/15/2022

IRST Meetings

 

 

IRST Meetings

IRST meeting agendas and materials will be posted in advance of each meeting, and links to recordings will be posted after each meeting.

Upcoming Meetings in 2024
  • Wednesday, Aug 21, 1:00-4:00 pm 
  • Wednesday, Sept 4, 1:00-4:00 pm
  • Wednesday, Oct 16, 9:00am-noon
  • Friday, Nov 8, 9:00am-noon
  • Wednesday, Dec 18, 1:00-4:00 pm
 
Upcoming Meetings in 2025
  • Wednesday, Jan 15, 9:00am-noon 
  • Wednesday, Feb 19, 9:00am-noon
  • Friday, Mar 14, 9:00am-noon
 
Meeting Agendas, Materials, and Notes

Meeting Materials

  • Document 1 - Agenda
  • Document 2 - Letter to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission
  • Document 3 - Response from the AMPC on the roads clarifying question (this is Document 2 from the June 2024 meeting)
  • Document 4 - Literature review approaches overview
  • Document 5 - RFPs and other models overview
  • Document 6 - AMPC's Eastern Oregon steep slopes research questions package (sent to IRST on July 11, 2024)
    • Document 6a - Forest Practices Administrative Rules and the Oregon Forest Practices Act 2024

Meeting Notes

Meeting Materials

  • Document 1 - Agenda
  • Document 2 - AMPC responses to IRST clarifying questions and comments on road package
  • Document 3 - Forest Roads Inventory and Assessment (FRIA) Overview (PDF of presentation from IRST March 2024 meeting)
  • Document 4 - Notes from IRST May 7th meeting refining roads research questions
  • Document 5 - Presentation: Literature search strategy introduction (PDF) from 3 May 2024 IRST meeting
  • Document 6 - Revised "Research and Monitoring in Adaptive Management" presentation (PDF)

Meeting Notes

Meeting Materials

  • Document 1 - Agenda
  • Document 2 - DRAFT IRST application form v2 (starting on page 5)
  • Document 3 - Best Available Science presentation (draft) from 23 April 2023 meeting
  • Document 4 - AMPC responses to first half of IRST clarifying questions
  • Document 5 - Presentation: Draft literature review questions for consideration
  • Document 6 - Presentation: Literature search strategy introduction (PDF)

 

Meeting Notes

Meeting Materials

  • Document 1 - Agenda
  • Document 2 - Draft IRST nomination process and application form template
  • Document 3 - Standards for BAS: Amendment Information - research and monitoring, and researchable questions (these documents are from the Feb 2024 IRST meeting)
  • Document 4  -  AMPC’s Roads Research Questions Package (final) -- this document is from the Feb 2024 IRST meeting

Meeting Notes

Meeting Materials

Supplemental Reading (not required)

Dubé, K., A. Shelly, J. Black, and K. Kuzis. 2010. Washington road sub-basin scale effectiveness monitoring first sampling event (2006-2008) report. Cooperative Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Report CMER 08-801. Washington Department of Natural Resources. Olympia, Washington. https://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/fp_cmer_08_801.pdf

Martin, D. 2009. Forest road runoff disconnection survey for private timberlands in Washington. Olympia, WA: Washington Forest Protection Association. https://www.forestsandfish.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2018/12/Road_Mgmt_Survey.pdf

 

Meeting Materials

Video Recording

Documents Approved

  • IRST. 2024. Charter. Independent Research and Science Team. Adaptive Management Program, Oregon Board of Forestry. Approved 19 January 2024.

  • IRST. 2024. Standards for Best Available Science: A Guidance Document. Independent Research and Science Team. Adaptive Management Program, Oregon Board of Forestry. Approved 19 January 2024.

Agenda - this is an online meeting only 

Meeting Materials

Additional Materials

Video Recordings

  • Part 1: Morning presentations, IRST Charter
  • Part 2: IRST Charter, best available science, research topics

Agenda

Meeting Materials

Video Recordings 

  • Part 1: IRST member presentations, highlights of IRST member intake questionnaire responses, Department of Justice presentation; IRST Charter discussion
  • Part 2: IRST Charter discussion (continued), closing remarks,

IRST Members

IRST Members

IRST members were nominated and selected by the Adaptive Management Program Committee (AMPC), with final approval of the IRST candidates being made by the Oregon Board of Forestry. Members are serving for a four year term beginning in October 2023. A member’s term may be renewed upon a two-thirds vote of the rest of the IRST and then ratification by the Board. A two-thirds vote of the other IRST members, or a majority vote of the board, may remove an IRST member before the end of their term.

Ellen Bishop holds both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Geology from Oregon State University (1977, 1983). Her research interests include the petrology and tectonic history of the older rocks (terranes) of Northeast Oregon’s Blue Mountains and the process of accretion of these terranes to North America. This work led her to explore regional forests, mountains, and canyons, pursuing a life-long interest in ecosystems, forest processes, compositions and health issues. She taught geology and environmental studies at the University of Arkansas, Sul Ross State University (Alpine, Texas) and Whitman College.

In 1987 she turned her interests toward engaging the public with science. This included hands-on involvement with eastern Oregon’s landscape when she married David Bishop and worked with him, managing ranches and forests in Union, Baker, Wheeler, and Jefferson Counties. She also worked for the Pacific Rivers Council in restoring salmonid habitat, providing outreach to Union, Baker and Wallowa County communities, and serving as conservation representative and initial co-chair of Oregon’s first watershed collaborative (Grande Ronde Model Watershed.)

She continued in public engagement with science, publishing In Search of Ancient Oregon: A Geologic and Ecologic History in 2006. The book won the Oregon Book Award for non-fiction. In 2015 Oregon State University Press published her book “Living with Thunder: The Past, Present and Future of Pacific Northwest Geology and Ecosystems.” This volume included recognition of Indigenous stories and understanding of regional landscape histories.

Bishop has served as reporter, photographer and editor of the Wallowa County Chieftain, winning Oregon Newspaper Assoc. and Society of Professional Journalists awards for photojournalism, feature reporting, editorials and best Oregon small newspaper. She is presently continuing her work in public outreach on the Eastern Oregon Climate Change Coalition board. She lives on and manages forest and grassland near Halfway, Oregon.

Dr. Burnett holds a Ph.D. degree in Fisheries Science from Oregon State University and has over 35 years of experience in conducting collaborative policy-relevant studies and communicating findings to decision makers. She has authored numerous refereed peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and reports addressing how stream habitats are distributed and used by fish, how watershed processes and human uses influence aquatic ecosystems, and how complex systems can be best characterized to plan for and evaluate the effects of land management. Dr. Burnett was a member of the Forest Ecosystem Management and Assessment Team and continued in the role of science liaison to help translate the FEMAT Report through the NEPA process that resulted in the Northwest Forest Plan. She served as the acting National Fish and Aquatic Program Leader (USDA Forest Service, Washington Office Research and Development) and was awarded the National Rise to the Future Award by the Chief of the US Forest Service for professional excellence in research. Before and since retiring as a Research Fish Biologist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, Dr. Burnett regularly consulted on regional and national issues, including stream habitat restoration, climate change vulnerability, and systematic review techniques for natural resources. Most recently, she provided science support in the development of, and subsequent processes related to, Oregon's Private Forest Accord. Dr. Burnett is a trained mediator (University of Oregon School of Law), on the graduate faculty at Oregon State University, and is a certified yoga teacher.

 

Dr. Rebecca Flitcroft is a Research Fish Biologist with the United States Forest Service at the Pacific Northwest Research Station, Oregon, USA. She completed a B.S. at Willamette University double majoring in Environmental Science and Economics and at Oregon State University, completed an M.S. in Natural Resource Geography, and Ph.D. in Fisheries Science. She has worked with the USFS since completing her doctorate in 2008.

Rebecca has always loved water and is fascinated by the creatures that live within it. Her family has always lived near water, and she grew up paddling her toes in the Singapore Straight, as well as the North Atlantic, and the Pacific Oceans. As a fish research biologist, Rebecca seeks to better understand how people, forests, and riverscapes can better be understood in order to support the diverse and imperiled freshwater fishes and other biota that occupy them. As part of her work, she is interested in facilitating the development of science, and translation of science, into information that supports applied conservation, protection, and understanding of freshwater habitats.

Dr. Jessica Homyack is the Director of Environmental Research and Operational Support for Weyerhaeuser. In this role, she serves as the scientific advisor and environmental research program lead for more than ten million acres of managed forest lands in the United States. She values an inclusive and collaborative approach to science that effectively engages stakeholders throughout the process. Dr. Homyack is an accomplished researcher who has published more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters. Her expertise covers the intersection of forest management, sustainability, and conservation of aquatic and terrestrial species. Dr. Homyack received her Ph.D. from Virginia Tech, a M.S. from the University of Maine, and a B.S. from West Virginia University. She is an alumnus of the National Conservation Leadership Institute and was selected as a Fellow of The Wildlife Society in 2023.

Jeff Light is a biologist with more than 30 years of experience in salmonid ecology and watershed science. He has a B.S. in biology from the University of Colorado and a M.S. in Fisheries from the University of Washington. His primary focus has been salmonid ecology and related sciences that describe watershed structure and function and the ways land management, principally commercial forestry, can affect fish habitat and water quality.

For more than 12 years, as part of Washington state’s Timber, Fish and Wildlife agreement, he worked with technical experts, resource managers, and policy representatives from the timber industry, Native American Tribes, environmental groups, and state natural resource agencies to develop a watershed analysis method of evaluating, anticipating, and avoiding potential cumulative effects of forest management. In Oregon, Jeff has collaborated with researchers and administrators from Oregon State University, state and federal agencies, and industry scientists to study the effectiveness of forest practices on fish and water quality (e.g., the Watersheds Research Cooperative, OSU’s Fish and Wildlife in Working Forests research program, the Institute for Working Forests, and the timber industry’s National Council of Air and Stream Improvement’s Forested Watershed Science Task Group). Beyond his professional life, Jeff has worked collaboratively with individuals in his community to complete numerous successful downtown improvement projects as president of the Philomath Downtown Association.

At the IRST's 5 January 2024 meeting, each IRST member was asked to give a short presentation about the breadth and depth of their expertise, their employment history, their involvement in the PFA process to-date or similar processes related to adaptive management and/or science teams, and information about themselves outside of work (e.g., show a photo of the outdoors and what it means to them; tell about one of their hobbies, etc.). See their presentations in the video recording.

IRST Products

IRST Products

IRST. 2024. Independent Research and Science Team Member Nomination and Application Process. Independent Research and Science Team. Adaptive Management Program, Oregon Board of Forestry. 3 May 2024. Note: This process is not open for applications.

IRST. 2024. 45-day Scoping Time Frame Letter to the AMPC for the Roads Question Package. Independent Research and Science Team. Adaptive Management Program, Oregon Board of Forestry. 21 March 2024.

IRST. 2024. Standards for Best Available Science: A Guidance Document. Independent Research and Science Team. Adaptive Management Program, Oregon Board of Forestry. Approved 19 January 2024.

IRST. 2024. Charter. Independent Research and Science Team. Adaptive Management Program, Oregon Board of Forestry. Approved 19 January 2024.

IRST Resources

IRST Resources

Documents

 

Adaptive Management Program

Adaptive Management Program rules: Department of Forestry, Chapter 629, Division 603 ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

ODF Adaptive Management Program Committee website

 

Oregon Forest Practices Act

Forest Practices Act (FPA) website

 

Private Forest Accord

ODF Private Forest Accord website

Oregon Forest Resources Institute website