Archive for the ‘Conservation & Natural Areas’ Category

Q & A: What’s that smoke near Capitol State Forest? (UPDATE)

July 24, 2013
DNR and Nature Conservancy fire crews supervise a controlled burn to help restore prairie habitat at Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve near Olympia. Photo: DNR

DNR and Nature Conservancy fire crews supervise a controlled burn to help restore prairie habitat at Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve near Olympia. Photo: DNR

UPDATE (July 24, 2013): Tomorrow’s planned controlled burn has been cancelled due to changing fire conditions.

On Thursday July 25, if wind and weather conditions are favorable, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will conduct a controlled burn on 5 acres in Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve (NAP).

During the controlled burn, Mima Mounds will remain open but some trails will be closed to ensure public safety.

Why burn? (more…)

National Trails Day® is June 1; Find an event near you

May 29, 2013
National Trails Day event

Popular trails get worn and become more susceptible to erosion. Volunteers like these at a National Trails Day event help DNR stretch its scarce maintenance dollars. Photo: DNR

There is no shortage of interesting and beautiful places that need your help on National Trails Day® this Saturday, June 1. Shake off that cabin fever and get out on some of Washington’s most beautiful trails this weekend by volunteering to help clean up and improve one of our many popular recreation trails. A few hours of effort can make a big difference.

There are many National Trails Day projects on DNR-managed state trust lands statewide this weekend. Find a project near you.

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Native Plant Appreciation Week continues through May 4

April 29, 2013
Red columbine

Red columbine (Aquilegia formosa). Photo: DNR

Red columbine (Aquilegia formosa) is one of the many plants we celebrate during Native Plant Appreciation Week in Washington state, April 28 – May 4, 2013. Find out about Native Plant Appreciation Week events on the Washington Native Plant Society website or visit DNR DNR on Facebook.

DNR conservation and restoration efforts, include the Natural Heritage Program and the Natural Areas Program.

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Take a hike…a nature hike that is! Celebrate Native Plant Appreciation Week with DNR

April 26, 2013
Photo of wildflowers at Lacamas Prairie. Photo: Carlo Abbruzzese, DNR.

Photo of wildflowers at Lacamas Prairie. Photo: Carlo Abbruzzese, DNR.

Today kicks off Native Plant Appreciation Week in Washington, and as spring brings the landscape to life around us, it’s a great time to celebrate Washington’s diverse ecosystem. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be hosting events across the state.

 April 27 — A native plant walk at the Lacamas Prairie Natural Area Preserve (near Camas) is scheduled for anyone interested in an informative tour of some of Washington’s native flora.

April 27 — Celebrate native plants with a nature hike at West Tiger Mountain (near Issaquah)

May 4 — Wildflower Hike at Columbia Hills State Park. Join DNR staff and State Park staff for a hike around Columbia Hills State Park.

Find out more about Native Plant Appreciation Week (more…)

2013 Salmon Recovery Conference

April 19, 2013
2013 Salmon Recovery Conference

Today is the final day to get early-bird rates for the 2013 Salmon Recovery Conference in Vancouver, WA.

State hosts salmon recovery conference
About 600 people who live and breathe salmon recovery are expected to descend on Vancouver May 14 and 15 for a two-day salmon recovery conference. Hosted by the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the conference includes 12 different educational tracks on all things salmon recovery. Lean more about the 2013 Salmon Recovery Conference and register today. (Student volunteers are needed.)

Conference focus

  • Building better salmon recovery projects and sharing lessons learned.
  • Celebrate what is working in salmon recovery
  • Examine what could work better
  • Share experiences and lessons from the field
  • Assess and reflect on over ten years of salmon recovery work
  • Learn ways to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of projects

Who should attend: You, and others like you who are engaged in salmon recovery—project managers, land trust staff, conservation district personnel, tribal members, city and county staff, planners, landowners, fishery enhancement groups, hatchery workers, fishing professionals, sport fishers, state and federal agency staff, fish scientists, restoration ecologists, wetland biologists, and others involved with salmon recovery in Washington, Oregon, and along the Pacific Coast.


Trout Lake Natural Area Preserve gets a little larger, and a lot better

April 3, 2013
Trout Lake Natural Area Preserve

Mount Adams towers over the Trout Lake Natural Area Preserve, which is managed by DNR. Photo: DNR

Action yesterday by the state Board of Natural Resources cleared the way for a 153-acre addition to Trout Lake Natural Area Preserve (NAP) in Klickitat County. The parcel of state trust land transferred into the 1,733-acre preserve in the  northwest corner of the county includes uplands forested with trees between 90 and 100 years old. The addition of that watershed and surround oak woodlands will help protect one of the prime features of Trout Lake: its wetlands. The site is home to one of only four remaining populations of the Oregon spotted frog in Washington, plus lots of other wildlife.

The Seattle Audubon Society website has a detailed description of the breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife that can be viewed at Trout Lake NAP. To get there from the town of White Salmon, travel north on WA-141  for about 20 miles. It’s that easy.

When you go, don’t forget your Discover Pass – your ticket to Washington’s great outdoors.

Let us know if Trout Lake is a favorite spot of yours, or if you have another scenic outdoor destination to share on DNR’s Facebook page.

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Washington’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board recognizes DNR’s Craig Partridge for his service

March 18, 2013
Partridge RCO

Craig Partridge was honored for his service by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board last week. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

What were you doing in September of 1981?

That was the month the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hired Craig Partridge under the administration of Brian Boyle. Since then, he has worked for four Commissioners of Public Lands. After thirty-one years – and a variety of job titles, assignments, major projects, and teams – Craig happily announced his retirement from state service early last month:

“I want to express my appreciation to Commissioner Goldmark for giving me an opportunity to serve in his administration at DNR.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the work I’ve been involved in.  When I started at DNR so long ago, I had no idea I’d eventually be an agency historian, but at this point I’m pleased at having had that among a number of rewarding roles.”

DNR will be sad to say goodbye to Partridge, the agency’s Policy and Governmental Relations Director, when he retires from state service on April 30, 2013.

“For more than three decades Craig Partridge has helped guide DNR policy to the benefit of the citizens of Washington and the long term sustainability of our state trust lands,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to Craig for his years of dedicated service to the DNR and the people of Washington State.” (more…)

DNR has history to celebrate this President’s Day

February 18, 2013

DNR Forester Jesse Steele with old growth Douglas-fir estimated to be 250-300 years old. Photo by: DNR

This Douglas-fir has seen a lot in its lifetime. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducted an old growth assessment on it and concluded it was between 250 – 300 years old.

We celebrate our country’s history of presidents today on the birthday of our first leader; United States President George Washington. When George Washington was born 281 years ago, this tree may have been already standing in the forests we see today.

Can you imagine what changes have taken place since this tree was a seedling over 250 years ago?

250 years ago - When this tree was young, Benjamin Franklin was conducting his kite experiment to uncover the complexities of lightning and electricity.

224 years ago - By the time George Washington was elected president in 1789, this tree was already as old as most of the ones you see in our forests today.

202 – 206 years ago – When Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809, Washington State was already rapidly undergoing many of the changes that would shape it into the community we know today. Just four years before Lincoln’s birth the Lewis and Clark Expedition entered the area that is now Washington State. Two years after Lincoln was born David Thompson sailed down and completing the first formal mapping of the Columbia River.

163 years ago – Just 11 years before Lincoln was elected president in 1861, the area that is now Washington State had its first census conducted counting a population of 1,201. The population increase 865.4% in the next ten years.

124 years ago – The State of Washington was admitted to the Union on November 11, 1889. That year the U.S. government endowed the state with 3.2 million acres of trust land.

56 years ago – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources was established in 1957; just over 150 years after our first president began his term in office; by combining seven agencies and boards, including the Commissioner of Public Lands who administers the state trust lands, and the Division of Forestry, and the State Forester.

Over the next years, DNR was very busy transitioning the management of Washington’s resources.

48 years ago - The first formal DNR recreation sites were created in 1965.

42 – 43 years ago – In 1971, Washington State legislature stopped the sales of state tidelands and shorelands, and the State Environmental Policy Act was established. The next year, DNR was selected to manage our Natural Area Preserves and the first Natural Resource Conservation Areas were established.

Florian doug fir

DNR Forester Florian Deisenhofer with an old growth Douglas-fir estimated to be over 400 years old. Photo by DNR/Dan Friesz

Today, DNR manages 5.6 million acres of land. That’s over 3 million acres of state trust lands, 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands, and 145,000 acres of natural areas. We maintain 54 Natural Area Preserves, 30 Natural Resource Conservation Areas, and 143 recreation sites. DNR also protects 12.7 million acres of forest from wildfire.

Washington State has come a long way since the days of those first presidents. We can celebrate history and the accomplishments of our country and state today while remembering these majestic old growth trees that have seen it all.

Happy President’s Day!

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Lacamas Prairie Natural Area Preserve protects remnant of wet prairie ecosystem

February 11, 2013
White breasted nuthatch

White breasted nuthatch. Photo: DNR.

DNR Natural Areas Program has added a new natural area preserve (NAP) to the statewide system. Lacamas Prairie, located northeast of Vancouver, in the Puget Trough/Willamette Valley ecoregion, represents the best and only known remnant of the Willamette Valley wet prairie ecosystem in Washington. It’s one of only 20 remaining sites and the largest of four known populations of Bradshaw’s lomatium, a globally rare and federally-listed endangered plant species.

This prairie remnant occurs in a native valley landscape mosaic with Oregon white oak woodland and Oregon ash wetland forest. Lacamas Prairie protects six other plant species rare in Washington and habitat for the slender billed white-breasted nuthatch, a bird becoming increasingly rare in our region. Waterfowl winter in the wetland, and there have been recent sightings of Western Gray squirrel within the oak forest.

The addition of the Lacamas Prairie site brings the total number of natural areas managed by DNR’s Natural Areas Program to 90. These areas include 55 natural area preserves and 37 natural resources conservation areas on more than 150,000 acres.

Many of these sites provide excellent opportunities for low-impact activities such as bird watching and other wildlife viewing, hiking, kayaking and other low impact public uses.

Read about other DNR-managed Natural Area Preserves

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Loads of progress on Woodard Bay NRCA restoration

December 14, 2012
Contractors prepare to pull one of last segments of train trestle across Woodard bay in earlier phase of project in 2010. This location is where large volume of fill currently is being removed to restore natural shoreline. DNR Photo: Lisa Kaufman

Contractors prepare to pull one of last segments of train trestle across Woodard Bay in an earlier phase of the project in 2010. This location is where large volume of fill currently is being removed to restore natural shoreline. DNR Photo: Lisa Kaufman

Part closed, part open during big job
Treasured by naturalists and walkers, Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area is enjoyed throughout the year.

And we know that it’s disappointing to have most of this special place closed until spring, but it will be well worth it! It’s a big job removing hundreds of tons of fill and restoring the natural coastline, pulling out more creosote logs and piers, and developing long-term access for the public.


The Overlook Trail on the south side of Woodard Bay is open during daylight hours, and Whitham Road and the Loop Trail on the north side are closed for restoration and construction.

With state ‘jobs funding’ available, we are taking advantage of the opportunity to contract out for projects that wedidn’t think we’d be able to complete for many years. We’re moving quickly to make as much progress as possible during the winter ‘fish window’ when species such as salmon are not moving through the area waters.

Project progress highlighted in The Olympian

View the changes
Even though the large north side of the conservation area is closed to the public for safety, the southern ridgeline trail is still open, with parking available in the adjacent lot at the northern terminus of the Chehalis Western Trail.

As you walk the southern trail, you will be able to see part of the big project’s progress—the removal of fill where the trestle once stood, and restoration of the Woodard Bay Shoreline.

We look forward to sharing with the public the improvements at the site…as soon as we can.

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