New commercial geoduck harvest period starts April 1

March 31, 2014

The next harvest period for DNR-managed commercial wild stock geoducks begins tomorrow.

Photo of a geoduck harvest boat.

Commercial geoduck harvest dive boat. Photo: DNR

From April 1 through June 5, harvests will take place in select “tracts” in the Puget Sound harvest region. If you are on or near the water in these tract areas, you may wonder what’s up. Here’s the scoop:

What tracts are open this harvest period?

How are wild stock geoducks harvested? Divers use hand-operated water jets to loosen the sediment around a geoduck and remove them by hand from state-owned aquatic lands. Harvests take place in sub-tidal areas between minus 18 and minus 70 feet. Read the rest of this entry »

SR-530 Landslide:

March 27, 2014

530 Slide UPDATE: April 3, 2014 — Wall Street Journal:  Washington Mudslide Was Caused By Rains, Geologist Says

530 Slide UPDATE: March 28, 2014 — State Forester says landslide area was under protections put in place in 1997. More here.

King 5

King 5 News Video: State considered area slide-prone as far back as 1997

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT LANDSLIDES AND GEOLOGY Read the rest of this entry »

DNR weekend reading: Are golfers fire hazards? … and other interesting news from recent scientific research

March 22, 2014
elk in the Cowlitz River

An elk drinks from the Cowlitz River in eastern Lewis County near Packwood, Washington. PHOTO: Scott Hilgenberg/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:

University of California, Irvine: Titanium clubs can cause golf course fires, study finds
Titanium alloy golf clubs can cause dangerous wildfires, according to UC Irvine scientists. When a club coated with the lightweight metal alloy is swung and strikes a rock, it creates sparks that can heat to more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit for long enough to ignite dry foliage, according to findings published Fire and Materials (includes video).

Manchester University: Linking storms to climate change a ‘distraction’, say experts
Connecting extreme weather to climate change distracts from the need to protect society from high-impact weather events which will continue to happen irrespective of human-induced climate change, say University of Manchester researchers.

University of Cincinnati: A ‘Back to the Future’ Approach to Taking Action on Climate Change
Through an interdisciplinary research technique for approaching climate change vulnerability called Multi-scale, Interactive Scenario-Building, researchers are examining ways to begin dealing with the disastrous consequences of extreme climate changes before they occur.

Duke University: Lessons Offered by Emerging Carbon Trading Markets
Although markets for trading carbon emission credits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have stalled in United States federal policy-making, carbon markets are emerging at the state level within the U.S. and around the world, teaching us more about what does and doesn’t work.

Science Daily: Animals losing migratory routes? Devastating consequences of scarcity of ‘knowledgeable elders’
Small changes in a population may lead to dramatic consequences, like the disappearance of the migratory route of a species. Scientists have created a model of the behavior of a group of individuals on the move (like a school of fish or a flock of birds) that reproduces the collective behavior patterns observed in the wild.

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DNR-run cost share program helps reduce wildfire risks, improve forest health

March 20, 2014
Forest before and after thinning.

Removing the smaller, weaker trees from this Eastern Washington forest (left) produced a more natural and healthier stand (right) that will be more resilient to wildfire and insect infestations. Photos: Glenn Kohler/DNR.

The ‘official’ start of the 2014 fire season in Washington State is in April, but DNR is already helping private landowners to reduce wildfire risks. One effort likely to pay off starting this year is our drive to improve forest health conditions, a big problem in many of the state’s drier eastside forests.

A federally funded cost-share program, administered by DNR in Washington State, pays for up to half of a landowner’s cost to thin and prune trees and remove forest slash. The program is available to forestland owners in portions of Ferry, Klickitat, Okanogan, and Yakima counties where a Forest Health Hazard Warning was declared last fall by DNR and the U.S. Forest Service, which is funding the program.

Getting the word out

Last year, DNR mailed more than 10,500 informational notices to landowners in the designated forest health hazard warning areas describing how to assess forest conditions and reduce disease, insect, and wildfire risks. DNR also established a toll-free telephone number, launched a web page, conducted extensive media outreach, and held 16 workshops to spread the word about DNR’s various assistance programs.

During 2013, DNR foresters responded to technical assistance requests from more than 500 landowners who manage over 97,000 acres. The federal funding for sharing forest thinning and slash disposal costs with landowners aims to improve forest conditions and dramatically reduce wildfire risks by protecting healthier trees through the removal of small, weak trees and disposing of the resulting limbs and brush.

This year, DNR continues to focus on forest health concerns. Thinning today’s overgrown forests can encourage the growth of more ponderosa pine and western larch —trees better adapted to the area’s historic pattern of smaller, but more frequent, naturally caused fires.

Forest landowners may apply for cost-share funding online.

To learn more about the Forest Health Hazard Warning, visit http://www.dnr.wa.gov/foresthealth

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Join the 9th Annual Great Gravel Pack-In

March 18, 2014
Great Gravel Pack-In

Great Gravel Pack-In volunteers are happy to help, rain or shine!
Photo by: Diana Lofflin/DNR

Join DNR staff and volunteers from a variety of recreation interests for the 9th Annual Great Gravel Pack-In, March 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m..

The Great Gravel Pack-In has become an annual tradition that showcases and celebrates the value of volunteers and importance of cooperative efforts. See photos from past events on the DNR Flickr page.

This Year’s Activities
Volunteers will help spread gravel and repair damaged sections of trails in Capitol State Forest. Some may also help clear storm debris and make basic improvements to Middle Waddell and Margaret McKenney campgrounds.

Join the Event

What 9th Annual Great Gravel Pack-In
When March 29, 2014
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where Capitol State Forest
Tacoma Trail Cruisers’ Property

 

 

Ron Downing at the 8th Annual Great Gravel Pack-In. Photo: Diana Lofflin, DNR.

Ron Downing at the 8th Annual Great Gravel Pack-In. Photo: Diana Lofflin, DNR.

Learn more about the Great Gravel Pack-In and other volunteer events on the DNR Volunteer Calendar.

Invite your friends on Facebook. Come volunteer and be a hero for a day!

What to Expect
Volunteers should bring work gloves, water, and rain gear to this event. A barbeque lunch will be provided by the Tacoma Trail Cruisers.

We ask that children under the age of 18 are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Also, for the safety of horses and pack stock, please do not bring dogs.

Event Partners
A special thanks to the following groups for partnering with DNR on this event:

Discover Pass logoVolunteers can get rewards
Did you know that volunteers can earn vouchers toward a complimentary Discover Pass for their service?

Get details.

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Already, we’re talking about Washington’s fire season

March 17, 2014
Every year, DNR trains firefighters before wildfire season heats up.

Every year, DNR trains firefighters before wildfire season heats up.

DNR firefighting manager Andrew Stenbeck talks about the preview of fire season and what to expect as we get closer into spring and summer.

It’s never too early to talk about wildfire season.

Firefighters are needed; apply before April 1.

Are you willing and capable of performing strenuous, outdoor work safely and productively? Washington State’s largest on-call fire department, DNR, is recruiting forest firefighters for the 2014 summer season.

This is an excellent opportunity for motivated individuals and students. Consider applying if you desire a career in natural resource management or want to gain fundamental forestry experience through fire crew employment.

The duration of these positions is generally three to four months, starting approximately mid-June and ending mid-September. The experience and training can build the foundation for a successful career in forestry and other natural resource professions. DNR will provide safety clothing needed for the job and housing for those who live outside the area they are assigned.

Visit the DNR Jobs Page, where you can sign up for weekly emails of new job announcements. Also, you can follow updated information during Washington’s 2014 fire season on DNR’s Fire Twitter feed.

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DNR weekend reading: Use more wood, not less, for a cleaner environment

March 16, 2014
Blanchard Forest recreation area

A rare sunny day in March at the Blanchard Forest recreation area, which is managed by DNR. Photo: Hyden McKown/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:

Yale University: Increasing Wood Usage: An Environmental Win-Win
Contrary to popular belief, the best way to use wood is not simply to leave the vast majority of it alone. A paper co-authored by faculty from the University of Washington and a Yale University graduate student suggests that the ideal course is more active: harvesting a much higher percentage of new growth either for raw building materials or for burning as a source of fuel.

University of Missouri: Small Biomass Power Plants Could Help Rural Economies, Stabilize National Power Grid, MU Study Finds
University of Missouri researchers have found that creating a bioenergy grid with power plants small enough to fit on a farm could benefit people in rural areas of the country as well as provide relief to an overworked national power grid.

University of California-San Diego: Number of Days Without Rain to Dramatically Increase in Some World Regions
By the end of the 21st century, some parts of the world can expect as many as 30 more days a year without precipitation, according to a new study by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego researchers.

Linköping University (Finland): Wastewater becomes biogas
Wastewater from pulp and paper mills contains large volumes of organic material that can be converted into biogas, according to findings by researchers from Water and Environmental Studies (WES) at Linköping University, who are conducting several pilot trails.

Umea University (Sweden): Not even freezing cold stops alien species in high altitudes
Harsh and cold climates don´t seem to stop alien plants from establishing themselves in high altitudes, where they now successfully penetrate the alpine vegetation,

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Make your voice heard. How can the DNR website serve you better?

March 14, 2014

We need your help! DNR is working to improve our website to create a more user-friendly experience.

We are seeking feedback from each of our user groups. DNR wants your opinion — your view is important to us.

mouse graphicPlease take this 3 – 5 minute online survey to let us know ways the website can better meet your needs. 

Our primary goal is to make sure you can find the information you need and accomplish tasks quickly and easily.

Hurry, the survey ends March 21.

State trust land

Think back to the last time you used the DNR website

  • Did you come in from the homepage?
  • Did you feel the need to bookmark important pages?
  • Was it easy to find what you were looking for?
  • Did you go to another source instead?

Help us reach others. Please share with your friends and make an even bigger impact.

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Puget SoundCorps crew beautifies the City of Puyallup, rain AND shine!

March 13, 2014
Greg Dunbar and Kasey Lambert shovel mulch for young trees in Puyallup to reduce competition from weeds. PHOTO: Janet Pearce/DNR

Greg Dunbar and Kasey Lambert shovel mulch for young trees in Puyallup to reduce competition from weeds.
PHOTO: Janet Pearce/DNR

All month long, Puget SoundCorps members are caring for trees in Puyallup’s urban forest in collaboration with DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

Based out of Olympia, the crew assists city staff to care for trees through structural pruning to keep trees strong and sound and mulching to reduce competition from weeds.

Crew Supervisor Geoff Baran and Assistant Crew Supervisor Greg Dunbar oversee the hard work of Meg Brennan, Travis Johnsey, and Kasey Lambert. Crewmembers have been trained in proper pruning techniques and correct tree installation and care as part of their Puget SoundCorps training.

Pruning Puyallup’s street trees will pay off in the long run: trees with good structure are stronger and better able to weather the winter storms that pass through our area each year. Providing good care to young trees also reduces future maintenance costs.

Recently, these crewmembers received thanks and accolades from Governor Jay Inslee for their hard work removing invasive species from natural forested areas on the Washington State Capitol Campus. Their work will help boost the benefits of a healthy forest habitat surrounding campus.

Travis Johnsey scatters mulch around tree trunks. PHOTO: Janet Pearce/DNR

Travis Johnsey scatters mulch around tree trunks.
PHOTO: Janet Pearce/DNR

DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program works with communities throughout Washington State to help them grow a bounty of healthy, beautiful trees that make our cities and towns wonderful places to live, work and play. Funding for this Puget SoundCorps crews comes from the 2012 Jobs Now Act.

About the Puget Sound Corps

The Puget SoundCorps Program creates jobs while cleaning up state-owned aquatic lands and uplands across the 12-county area that makes up the Puget Sound basin.

SoundCorps members are young adults (18 to 25 years old) and military veterans who are serving a year of service as AmeriCorps members. Age restrictions may be waived for military veterans.

Puget SoundCorps is part of the broader Washington Conservation Corps program administered by Washington Department of Ecology in partnership with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. The Washington Conservation Corps is supported through grant funding and Education Awards provided by AmeriCorps.

For more information about the Puget SoundCorps Program, visit: www.ecy.wa.gov/wcc/psc.html

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DNR wants to hear from the public on proposed rules for selling older, longer vessels

March 11, 2014
cactus_dvrp

The Cactus was a 180-ft steel-hulled former US Coast Guard buoy tender that DNR took custody of after it spent several years illegally moored off Maury Island. Eventually, the vessel was deconstructed in Jan. 2013. Photo: DNR

Last year, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill to strengthen the state’s ability to deal with derelict and abandoned vessels. Part of the legislation proposes rules that will require owners of older, longer vessels to obtain a marine survey of their vessel prior to selling it.

The public is invited to provide input to DNR on these rules.

Q. Who does the rule affect?
A. Owners of vessels greater than 65 feet in length and more than 40 years old who wish to sell their vessel will need to obtain an inspection from a qualified marine surveyor prior to transferring ownership. The vessel inspection may be prepared for either the owner, lienholder, buyer/transferee, vessel broker, or associated financial and insurance providers for the vessel. Current U.S. Coast Guard certificates of inspection are acceptable.

Q. What kinds of information will be required in the inspection?
Read the rest of this entry »


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