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1/22/2024 Media Advisory: Forest Management Commission to meet tomorrow
Agenda includes presentations from conservation groups, public testimony
STATE HOUSE – The House commission working to help the state determine the best action for improving forest management will meet tomorrow for presentations from representatives of conservation agencies and organizations and to accept public testimony.

The Special Legislative Commission to Evaluate and Provide Recommendations on Proper Forest Management for Fire Prevention is scheduled to meet Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 2 p.m. in Room 135 on the first floor of the State House. The meeting will include presentations from Audubon Society of Rhode Island Director of Advocacy Phoenix Wheeler; Sue Anderbois, director of climate and government relations at The Nature Conservancy; National Resources Conservation Service Resource Conservationist Christopher Modisette; and National Resources Conservation Service State Biologist Melissa Hayden.

Public testimony will be accepted at this meeting, in person or in writing. Written testimony may be submitted to Derrik Trombley at, preferably in .pdf format. It will be distributed to commission members and posted on the General Assembly website, and may be accessible through internet search engines. Written testimony received 24 hours in advance of the meeting will be distributed to commission members at the meeting.

The meeting will be televised on Capitol Television on Cox Communications channel 61; on i3 Broadband (formerly Full Channel) on channel 15; and on Verizon, channel 34. It will also be live streamed at

Rep. Megan L. Cotter (D-Dist. 39, Exeter, Richmond, Hopkinton) leads the commission, which was created by a resolution she introduced shortly after the mid-April wildfire that scorched hundreds of acres at the Queen’s River Preserve in Exeter, the largest forest fire in Rhode Island since 1942.

The 12-member special legislation commission is evaluating and will provide recommendations on proper forest management for fire prevention in Rhode Island.

In addition to chairwoman Cotter, the commission includes House Minority Leader Michael W. Chippendale (R-Dist. 40, Foster, Glocester, Coventry), Department of Environmental Management Deputy Chief of Agriculture and Forest Environment Tee Jay Boudreau, Marc R. Pappas of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, Armand Niquette of the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters, Chief Scott Kettelle of the Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs, Scott Millar of the Forest Conservation Commission, Kate Sayles of the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, William Fortune of the Forest Conservators Organization, former Rhode Island Chief of Forestry Catherine Sparks, Dick Went of the Rhode Island Association of Conservation Districts and John Torgan of The Nature Conservancy.

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923