Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

January’s top blogs: Hiring firefighters, ‘12th man’ earthquake and other stories

February 4, 2014

Here are the blogs we posted in January that drew the most views by Ear to the Ground readers. That’s you! Thanks for reading Ear to the Ground.

20120920-press-briefing-kent-romney1-62 DNR to hire seasonal wildland firefighters
DNR, is recruiting forest firefighters for the 2014 summer season.
Subduction Zone Cascadia subduction zone ruptured 314 years ago; mega earthquake & tsunami hit on Jan. 26, 1700
It’s the 314th anniversary of the (estimated) magnitude 9.0 megathrust earthquake and tsunami that occurred on the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
Seahawk Earthquake DNR geologists cautious about predictions of possible ’12th man’ earthquake this Sunday
Some may wonder if the noise and shaking that Seattle fans generate during games could set off an actual earthquake.
Divers DNR divers remove derelict mooring buoys near Port Hadlock; lawnmower remains elusive
DNR’s dive team and Aquatic Resources staff spent a day removing old, derelict and abandoned mooring buoys, lines and “anchors” from the waters of South Port Townsend Bay.
Laminated Root Rot Groundbreaking research addresses innovative approaches to Douglas fir root diseases
Laminated root rot is becoming more of an issue in Washington State. Why?
Join the conversation about these topics and more on Facebook Facebook Fan

Teanaway Community Forest Advisory Committee

January 30, 2014

The Washington State departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish & Wildlife are now accepting applications through Feb. 14 for the citizen-based Teanaway Community Forest Advisory Committee.


Teanaway Community Forest Advisory Committee
This is a citizen-based committee that will advise the agencies as they work together to develop a management plan for the forest.

Apply Before February 14
Follow the web links below to apply for the advisory committee.

mouse graphicApply online
Download a printable application


Apply today to be a part of the Teanaway Community Forest Advisory Committee.

Advisory Committee Commitment
State lawmakers have directed the agencies to complete the management plan by June 30, 2015.

With that deadline in place, advisory committee members will be asked to make a significant time commitment to develop recommendations to the two agencies.

Meetings will begin later this winter and take place in Kittitas County area.

Other Ways To Contribute
In addition to the advisory committee, there are many ways to participate in developing the Teanaway Community Forest management plan.

These include:

DNR and WDFW will seek significant public input to help develop an inclusive and robust management plan.

The Teanaway Community Forest will be managed through a partnership between DNR and WDFW, with input from the local community and interested stakeholders.

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Notice of Web Outage

January 13, 2014

Notice of Outage: Working to get systems back online.

January 13
We are experiencing technical difficulties with DNR’s online systems.

Our information technology staff are working on the issue, but the DNR webpage may be unavailable until problems are resolved.

In the meantime, please stay connected on our “Ear to the Ground” blog and/or other social media tools.

DNR’s social media sites:
“Ear to the Ground” blog
Fire Twitter
Facebook Fan page

Contact DNR
If you need to contact DNR, please call or email the office responsible for the area you need information on.

Email Phone
Northeast (509)
Northwest (360)
Olympic (360)
Pacific Cascade (360)
South Puget Sound (360)
Southeast (509)


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DNR helped 19 fire districts obtain funds for equipment in 2013

January 13, 2014
Refurbished water truck

Refurbishing a government surplus truck chassis into a water truck saved this small Jefferson County fire district — and taxpayers — thousands of dollars.

Often, small fire districts are the first responders to wildfires. Helping them stay ready to go with good equipment helps keep property and lives safe in rural areas.

In 2013, DNR awarded $185,000 to 19 fire districts/departments to organize, train, and equip their employees for the purpose of preventing and suppressing fires in rural areas.

Federal grants help these small districts rebuild used federal equipment, such as trucks, and put them into service within a year. The local fire district must also agree to assist DNR in fighting wildfires in Washington.

Administered by DNR through funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Wildland Fire Assistance Grant Program provides a 50 percent match for the purchase of general equipment for wildland fire suppression. These grants are made available through the Federal Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act and are open to all Washington fire districts/fire departments who currently provide wildland fire response to private, state, or federal ownerships and serving communities less than 10,000 residents.

By relying on used equipment from various federal agencies and helping to pay for its conversion into wildland use, the DNR-run program reduces costs for taxpayers and improves local and state agencies’ response to wildfires. Small fire districts apply to the program each year and DNR selects from the applicants.

The program can help newly formed fire districts, districts annexing unprotected lands, or districts unexpectedly losing equipment. Most trucks acquired under this program can be converted in less than six months, and for much less than it would cost to buy a new fire engine.

For interested fire districts and departments, DNR posts information at DNR Fire District Assistance web page.

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DNR weekend reading: Pine beetles vs. slippery bark trees, and other stories

January 11, 2014
Canada lynx

Male Canada lynx recovers from tranquilizer and waits to be freed after being assessed, ear tagged and collared with a GPS monitor by biologists in eastern Washington State. Since 1996, DNR has implemented its Lynx Habitat Management Plan — one of the most comprehensive conservation plans for lynx in the United States. Photo: DNR.

Here are links to articles about recent research, discoveries and other news about forests, climate, energy and other science topics gathered by DNR for your weekend reading:

Science Daily: Minimizing Power Grid Disruptions from Wind Power
After finding that an increase in the use of wind power generation can make the power grid more fragile and susceptible to disruptions, researchers devised a technique to coordinate wind power generation and energy storage to minimize the potential for such power disruptions.

University of Colorado: Slippery bark protects trees from pine beetle attack
Trees with smoother bark are better at repelling attacks by mountain pine beetles, which have difficulty gripping the slippery surface, according to a new study that may help land managers make decisions about which trees to cull and which to keep in order to best protect forested properties against pine beetle infestation. – 

US Fish & Wildlife Service/NOAAStatus and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the Conterminous United States (PDF)
The U.S. is losing wetlands at a rate of 80,000 acres per year, in part because of intensifying coastal storms and sea level rise, according to a new government study. The decline in freshwater and saltwater wetlands is driven both by traditional factors, such as coastal development, as well as worsening storms and slowly rising seas, the study says. 

Environment 360Bringing Back the Night: A Fight Against Light Pollution
As evidence mounts that excessive use of light is harming wildlife and adversely affecting human health, new initiatives in are seeking to turn down the lights that flood an ever-growing part of the planet.

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Top stories of the year: DNR looks back at 2013

December 31, 2013

It was the Year of the Snake in the Chinese zodiac, a time for steady progress and attention to detail. For the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the top events of 2013 — judging by how many of you clicked to read postings on this blog — were:


Whidbey Island Coupeville Landslide

Early in the morning of March 27, 2013, residents along Driftwood Way in the Ledgewood Beach Community at Coupeville on Whidbey Island awoke to a noise that sounded like thunder or a sonic boom. It was a massive landslide — officially dubbed the Ledgewood-Bonair Landslide — that put more than a dozen homes at high risk and destroyed access roads but, fortunately, caused no injuries or deaths. DNR geologists were on the scene the next day to assess the situation.


Reiter 4X4

ORV trails open at Reiter Foothills Forest

After many months of planning, assessing community input and construction, several recently completed ORV trails for single-track, ATV and 4X4 enthusiasts reopened this summer at the popular Reiter Foothills near Gold Bar. The rehabilitated site has proven popular with outdoor recreationalists.


TigerMtnBike trail

New Tiger Mountain trail for mountain bikers

Lying so close to the populous Seattle-Tacoma Everett corridor, the DNR-managed Tiger Mountain State Forest is a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers. This past September saw the of the new East Tiger Summit Trail, 1.4 mile mountain bike trail that required nearly a year of construction and hundreds of hours of volunteer support.


Teanaway Community Forest

Teanaway Community Forest introduces new way of managing public forestlands

Not just the State’s largest land acquisition in almost a half century, the 50,272-acre Teanaway Community Forest is a new way of managing public forests in Washington State. Situated at the headwaters of the Yakima Basin watershed (map), the Teanaway Community Forest is collaboratively managed by DNR and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife with significant public input from a community-based advisory committee.


Capitol State Forest map

New Capitol State Forest map

Everyone loves a new, especially a free map, and especially if it is for Capitol State Forest. This update to our 2002 edition contains new road names, updated trail locations, more precise elevation data and detailed maps of popular destinations in and near the forest, such as the Middle Waddell, Margaret McKenny, and Mima Falls areas. Did we mention that the new Capitol State Forest Map is now geo-referenced, making it ideal to download onto your smartphone.

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DNR weekend reading: Sea star die-off, aquaculture safety, forest health and other topics

December 28, 2013
Clover Flats

This outhouse at Clover Flats Campground in the Ahtanum State Forest (Yakima County) was buried under several feet of snow last year. Check to see what’s open before you go, and don’t forget your Discover Pass. Photo: DNR.

Here are links to articles about recent research, discoveries and other news about forests, climate, energy and other science topics gathered by DNR for your weekend reading:

Scientific American: Clues Sought for Sea Star Die-Off
From California to Alaska, researchers are searching for the cause of a mysterious and unprecedented die-off of sea stars along North America’s Pacific shores.

University of Illinois at Chicago: Emerald ash borer may have met its match
Woodpeckers find emerald ash borers a handy food source and may slow the spread of this noxious pest, even ultimately controlling it, suggest researchers.

NOAA: Coastal ocean aquaculture can be environmentally sustainable
Specific types of fish farming can be accomplished with minimal or no harm to the coastal ocean environment as long as proper planning and safeguards are in place, concludes researchers at National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.

Michigan Tech: Why it Snows so Much in the Frozen North
Scientists have long puzzled over the seemingly ceaseless drizzle of snow drifting down from arctic clouds. Now they may have an explanation.

USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station: Study Shows Reforestation along Rivers and Streams in Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley Reduces Sediment Runoff
A modeling study shows that reforesting the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley can significantly reduce runoff from agricultural lands and the amount of sediment entering the area’s rivers and streams — and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.

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Little-known office at DNR aids landowners, local governments

December 26, 2013
1864 land survey of Puyallup

An 1864 land survey shows what is now central Puyallup. Image: DNR

A not-widely-known office at DNR is saving money and reducing hassles for local governments, landowners and businesses across Washington State. The Public Land Survey Office (formerly, the Bureau of Surveys and Maps), has been collecting land survey records since its inception in 1951. Our collection of these historic pieces of information gives landowners another place to turn when trying to define their property boundaries. In addition to helping people avoid costly additional surveys — sometimes, even court cases — the Office takes on the cost of preserving and storing these public records and making them available to the public.

Before 1951, when the legislation created the Bureau of Surveys and Maps, land surveyors filed a copy of their surveys with the county engineer or a local title company, but the maps and records were usually kept by the surveyor. This was common practice until 1973 when the Survey Recording Act required land surveys to be recorded at the county auditor’s office.

The Public Land Survey Office continues to collect pre-Survey Recording Act records from surveyors who are retired or from their family members. By accepting these records, the Office has found historical survey records from old project files dating back more than a century.

Search the Public Land Survey Office’s historical indexes, which date back to Washington statehood in 1889.

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The 12 ‘tips’ of Christmas (they can keep you and your family safe all year long)

December 23, 2013
Nisqually earthquake debris in Olympia

The 2001 Nisqually Earthquake caused building debris to fall into the streets of downtown Olympia. Make sure you’re prepared for the next natural disaster. Photo: Joe Dragovich/DNR.

Maybe you have heard all the carols and holiday music you care to hear for one year. Or, maybe you are still brimming with yuletide enthusiasm. Regardless, we bring you 12 tips that can keep you and your family safe throughout your lifetime. As you spend time with friends and family this holiday season, consider the possible emergencies that can occur and what you can do to keep everyone you love prepared. Here are a dozen tips for year-round preparedness…

1.       Prepare your trees for winter
Winter storms can do a number on your trees. Downed and damaged trees could fall on your home, your car, a powerline, or even a person. Follow these tips to keep your trees healthy and better able to resist storm damage this winter.

2.       Identify your hazards
Identify the potential hazards in your home and learn how to fix them. People are often injured or killed in earthquakes by unsecured objects such as bookshelves. Secure anything heavy enough to hurt you if it falls on you, or fragile enough to be a significant loss if it falls.

3.       Learn about your area’s natural hazards
Learn about the natural hazards that put your family at risk and what to do if they occur. Teach your kids what to do and practice your emergency action plan.

4.       Develop an Emergency Action Plan
Make an emergency plan with your family and practice it! Have different plans for different variables. What if your kids are at school or a sports practice? Make sure they know what to do if you can’t be there to help them.    


Eco-Friendly holiday tips

December 19, 2013

We want to help you get prepared for the holidays and do it sustainably.

12-19-2013 11-39-31 AM

Here are 12 tips for you to have an Eco-Friendly holiday:

  1. Shop responsibly
    Remember to take re-usable shopping bags on your gift finding excursions, they’re not just for grocery stores. Single-use bags are a waste of trees (paper) or fossil fuels (plastic). They contribute to water pollution during production and landfill overload at disposal. Re-usable cloth or paper bags reduce these problems.

  2. Keep your pets safe and in a festive mood
    Remember the year you had to rush the cats to the vet and vowed never to put tinsel on your tree again? Visit the Washington Department of Ecology to make sure you have a toxin-free holiday and view these special holiday safety tips for pets. Let’s keep everyone eco-friendly and healthy this holiday.
  3. Give a sustainable gift
    It’s easy to go overboard during the holidays and give gifts with a ‘use once and throw it away’ sentiment. Instead of panicking and giving a gift that will end up in storage (or worse- the trash) make your gift thoughtful and of benefit to the environment.

  4. Consider alternatives to traditional presents
    It really is the thought that counts with gift giving. Consider non-traditional gift ideas that are not only extremely thoughtful, but encourage the gift of time spent together with friends and family. For example, donations in the name of a friend of a gift certificate for your time (babysit or pet sit). Give the gift of classes or a special skill you have.
  5. Gift wrap
    This is an opportunity for you to really get creative. Decorate old paper bags using glitter and paint with your kids, use the funnies from the newspaper, or recycle some old fabric you have to make unique, recycled gift wrap. You can also release wrinkles from saved paper with a warm iron. Find more great green gift wrapping ideas here.
  6. Have a natural, germ-free holiday
    Use and give real soap as gifts this holiday season. Soap is safer than anti-bacterial products in the long run and germs can’t build up a resistance to it. Learn more about the benefits of real soap here.
  7. Give a monthly or yearly transit ticket
    This is about as eco-friendly a gift the average city-dweller can get! The American Public Transportation Association reports the American national average savings of using public transportation Is almost $10,000 a year! That’s a pretty substantial gift!
  8. Lights
    For some of us, the holidays just aren’t festive without the soft colorful twinkle of lights strung around the house, in every window, and all around the tree. Save yourself the electricity bill and save the environment some strife by switching to energy-efficient outdoor LED lights, which pull almost 90 percent less power and are several hundred times brighter than traditional lights.
  9. Build a rain garden
    Give the gift of beautiful summer gardens that hold our winter rains in the ground instead of allowing them to carry garden chemicals down the street into the gutter and on to a stream, river, or bay. Put in the work for a friend or family member’s rain garden this holiday and they will be ready for planting flowers come spring!
  10. Keep that natural holiday smell
    Learn how to keep your home smelling sweet naturally! Create a warm and festive atmosphere that won’t give your guests headaches or endanger the planet. Click here for some great natural air freshening tips.
  11. Redefine Boxing Day
    The day after Christmas is called Boxing Day, because it was the day when the lords and ladies of the manor took boxes of food or gave money to their servants. You can start a new Boxing Day tradition by using this day to box up unwanted or duplicate items and donate them to one of the many charities that accept used items.
  12. Discover Pass!
    Give the gift that encourages time outside and supports the agencies that protect and manage Washington’s natural resources. Give the Discover Pass. This tiny gift gives an entire year of vehicle access to DNR-managed state lands gives the opportunity to be enjoyed again and again all across the state.

 Have a fun and happy holiday from DNR!

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