Communities: Deadline fast approaching for Urban Forestry Restoration Project

June 13, 2014
Travis Johnsey scatters mulch around tree trunks. PHOTO: Janet Pearce/DNR

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

Is your city located in the Puget Sound Basin? Could you use a hand maintaining public trees, green spaces, and natural areas that make up your urban forest? If you answered yes to both of those questions, read on:

The Urban Forestry Restoration Project (UFRP) provides Puget SoundCorps crews to assist communities with urban forestry maintenance and restoration tasks. The UFRP and its crews who do the hard work are back for another year of invasive plant removal, structural tree pruning, mulching, and planting. These crews have made big impacts to urban forestry maintenance in Puget Basin cities such as Burien, Covington, Edgewood, Kent, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Puyallup, Redmond, and Renton—the list goes on! You can’t afford not to take advantage of this sweet opportunity. While DNR is working to secure funding for future years of UFRP assistance, there are no guarantees that the program will continue beyond 2015.

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

Your applications and participation in the program help to demonstrate the demand for these much-needed services, which provide not only meaningful work experiences for crew members, but also on-the-job training that directly impacts transitions to full-time employment. Crew members learn valuable skills while working hard to improve the health, vibrancy, and sustainability of our urban forests in the greater Puget Sound region. One-third of crew members from last year’s crews have entered tree-related careers, ranging from climbing arborist to production nursery work to studying for an urban forestry degree. Five crew members will be sitting for their Certified Arborist examination this fall during the 2014 Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture Annual Training Conference.

Local project proposals for the 2014-2015 year will be accepted through June 30, 2014. Learn more about the UFRP. Look online to find application forms and other materials about UFRP.

 

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Come see aquatic critters and celebrate our shoreline

June 12, 2014
Maury Island beach and Pt. Robinson

Maury Island beach and Pt. Robinson Lighthouse


June 14 at the Low Tide Celebration at Maury Island State Aquatic Reserve

It’s family fun that’s free, local, educational and 100% natural! Come fete Puget Sound at the ninth annual Vashon-Maury Island Low Tide Celebration.

Saturday, June 14, 2014
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Point Robinson on Maury Island

Explore, discover and appreciate the panorama of marine life on our shoreline. The summer low tide of minus 3.3 feet exposes beach and tide pools we rarely see—and you can ask Vashon Beach Naturalists about all that is revealed.

Welcome Skipper Mike Evans and the Blue Heron Canoe Family with a traditional Salish welcoming song as they paddle their way to the Point to honor the celebration. Learn about traditional native uses of shoreline resources from Odin Lonning, Tlingit artist and cultural educator. Tour the Point Robinson Lighthouse and hear its history from Captain Joe Wubbold, the Head Keeper. The beautiful Maury Island Aquatic Reserve and learn the many ways you can help protect this valuable natural resource.

A shuttle bus will run along Point Robinson Road to transport people between their parked cars and the festivities. Refreshments, native crafts and Low Tide t-shirts also will be available for sale on site.

Broad community support

The Vashon-Maury Island Low Tide Celebration is sponsored by: Vashon Beach Naturalists, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Washington Scuba Alliance, Vashon Park District, Vashon-Maury Island Audubon Society, King County, Vashon College, Keepers of Point Robinson, Washington Environmental Council, and Vashon Watersports.

State aquatic reserve

For the people of Washington, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is steward of more than 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands—the lands under Puget Sound and the coast, navigable lakes and rivers, and many tideland beaches—including those at Maury Island Aquatic Reserve, where the Low Tide Celebration is being held. State aquatic lands are home to fish and wildlife, and support commerce and navigation, and access for all the people of the state.

 

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DNR & WSU Extension to present forestry education for small land owners this summer

June 12, 2014
Forest & Range Owners Field Days

Forest & Range Owners Field Days give participants hands-on, ‘in-the-field’ education presented by experts in forest and land management. Photo: DNR

Got a little “home in the woods”? Manage several acres of forestland? Or, do you hope to have a little woodland of your own someday? If that’s you, then this summer’s Forest and Range Owners Field Days presented by DNR and WSU Extension on June 21 and August 9 are just the ticket.

Meet top forestry experts and learn how to reduce risks, protect your financial investment, and accomplish your forestland management objectives at one of these events:

An additional event–the North Puget Sound Forest Owners Field Day–is planned for July 26 in Arlington.

These low-fee educational events are co-sponsored by DNR and Washington State University Extension. Each Field Day features classes and hands-on workshops led by experts in forest and range health, wildlife habitat, grazing, soils, fire protection, forestry skills, and timber and non-timber forest products.

Keep informed about these and other educational, landowner assistance events, courses and workshops in DNR’s Small Forest Landowner News, a bi-monthly e-newsletter that’s free and chock full of information articles for anyone who owns forestland or, really, any land.

Subscribe to DNR’s Small Forest Landowner News

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Recreation Alert: Woodard Bay NRCA to close temporarily for construction

June 10, 2014

Starting in July, DNR will close a large portion of Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) through December 2014.

Woodard Bay NRCA will be closed July through December 2014 for construction efforts. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

Woodard Bay NRCA will be closed July through December 2014 for construction. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

The access point from Whitham Road, and the trails leading from this area, will be closed to protect public safety during construction of public access facilities and interpretive sites in the NRCA.

Once completed, the updated interpretative design will highlight both the ecological values and rich cultural history of Woodard Bay.

Will I be able to visit Woodard Bay NRCA this summer?
Partially. The entire NRCA will be closed for the month of July. However, the Woodard Bay Upper Overlook Trail—currently closed to protect nesting herons—will re-open in August, providing public access to views of the bay. The Overlook Trail will be accessible from the parking lot at the north end of the Chehalis Western Trail.

What’s happening at Woodard Bay NRCA?

Woodard Bay NRCA concept drawings

This concept drawing shows one possible final look for Woodard Bay NRCA once construction is complete later this year. Click this image to see a larger version. Drawing by: DNR

This temporary closure marks the next phase of a larger project to restore and improve Woodard Bay NRCA.

The restoration phase was completed in March 2013, allowing DNR to develop improved educational and low-impact recreation opportunities.

In addition to the natural beauty of Woodard Bay NRCA, the area holds valuable cultural, historical, recreational, and conservation qualities.

Project details
The development project includes four major features:

  • A new environmental and cultural learning shelter.
  • An expanded parking lot with a new bike shelter to accommodate bike parking, since bicycle use is not allowed in the NRCA.
  • Relocation of the current “boom foreman’s” office and bathroom away from the shoreline.
  • Installation of several educational areas and signs.

Where can I go instead?
We encourage you to visit nearby parks and the Chehalis Western Trail during this closure. Nearby parks include:

This site shows the future home of new public access facilities and interpretive sites in the NRCA. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

This site is the future home of new public access facilities and interpretive sites in the Woodard Bay NRCA. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

Learn more about Woodard Bay NRCA on the DNR website: http://bit.ly/WoodardBayNRCA.

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Climate change and the Northwest’s trees

June 9, 2014

Can we predict how future climatic changes will affect the growth of important Northwest tree species?

Parts of a Douglas fir

Photo: Nancy Charbonneau/DNR

Mathematical models developed by area researchers show great promise in predicting how future climate changes will affect the timing of the budding and flowering of coniferous trees here. That’s important knowledge because conifers, such as Douglas fir, are important to Washington State’s economy and environment.

DNR’s Meridian Seed Orchard, southeast of Olympia, is a major source of tree seeds for state forestlands and small family forestland owners. Owned and operated by DNR, the orchard produces seed for western red cedar, noble fir, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, western larch, western white pine, and other coniferous tree species used to replant after timber harvests around the state.

Meridian Seed Orchard also is an efficient and reliable resource for collecting data to develop climate models because the seeds it gathers and grows come from many different areas and elevations in Washington. DNR’s self-funded Webster Forest Nursery uses seed from Meridian to produce between 8 million and 10 million seedlings annually to plant after timber harvests on state trust lands and small, privately-owned woodlands. The secret to successful planting is matching tree seedlings to meet the many different weather and soil zones around the state.    Read the rest of this entry »

Yard Talk – Puget Sound is our front yard

June 5, 2014
Maury Island homes across Quartermaster Harbor

Maury Island homes across Quartermaster Harbor

Puget Sound—such an important asset for Washington— looks pristine as we gaze out at our watery ‘front yard.’ And we love to see the wildlife and eat fish, shellfish, and other tasty delights from the bay.

For decades we have progressed significantly on restoring habitat and cleaning up messes. And yet, beneath the surface are junk and chemicals ‘flushed’ into the Sound through storm drains.

Stormwater outfall

Stormwater outfall

Take a look at YouTube: Puget Sound is Our Front Yard, King County TV’s Yard Talk program that sheds some light on why and how we can be great stewards of the Sound AND create solutions that benefit our home and personal lives, too.

Many of the underwater and beach shots were taken at Maury Island Aquatic Reserve, managed by DNR to protect this aquatic ecosystem and provide research and educational opportunities for scientists, students and the public.

Rain garden along a Seattle street

Rain garden along a Seattle street

Most of the reserve is healthy, but even here, cleanup and restoration are necessary to undo damage of the past 150 years—and sustain the long-term health of the ecosystem.

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Squilchuck Valley community chosen winner for wildfire prevention efforts

June 5, 2014
Do you think 'Firewise' principles don't defend your home against wildfires? Think again!

Do you think ‘Firewise’ principles don’t defend your home against wildfires? Think again!

There are 1068 Firewise Communities across the country, and one of the best is right here in Washington! The Forest Ridge Wildfire Coalition in Chelan County was selected as one of the five most effective communities in the country in its efforts to reduce the risk of wildfire.

This community took steps to combat the threat of wildfire. They have played an integral role in reducing their neighborhood’s wildfire risk, plus they have encouraged more residents to take action in their own areas.

After being nominated by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and selected by the National Fire Protection Association, the coalition received a $5,000 award to help ongoing efforts to remove and chip brush and make sure homes in the development next to Squilchuck State Park are prepared for fire.

The coalition covers about 100 homes in the subdivision and many more in the upper Squilchuck Valley.

Communities were selected based on development of an action plan and participation by local residents. Other winners of this year’s award are in Arkansas, California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

How ‘Firewise’ are you and your family? Learn how to design for wildfire disaster at Firewise Communities/USA® Program.

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Eastern Washington wildfire danger is increasing

June 4, 2014
Red Flag Warning for portions of Chelan and Douglas counties.

Red Flag Warning for portions of Chelan and Douglas counties. (CLICK map to enlarge image.)

The current dry weather has increased the fire danger in Eastern Washington; a red flag warning has been issued for portions of Chelan and Douglas counties this afternoon. This means there is a higher potential for wildfires.

Low humidity and gusty winds have fire officials on high alert. DNR has already responded to two wildfires of more than 300 acres in the past two days.

Wildfires are often started by lightning, but most fires are caused by people. Some of the most destructive fire threats to our state’s wildlands and homes in rural areas can be traced to one of three sources: recreational activities, escaped debris burning, and lightning. It’s time to recognize the wildfire threat and promote action.

As summer approaches and fire conditions worsen, a burn ban will be issued for all DNR-protected lands. This applies to all forestlands in Washington under DNR fire protection; the burn ban does not apply to federal lands.

The ban will apply to all outdoor burning on DNR-protected forestlands, with the following exceptions:

  • Recreational fires in approved fire pits in designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds;
  • DNR-approved prescribed fires, which are used to enhance or restore fire-dependent ecosystems and forest health (but only in cases where it’s necessary for the prescribed fire to occur between July 1 and September 30); and
  • Gas and propane, self-contained stoves and barbeque grills.

DNR has a Wildfire Prevention Tip Card that explains how you can prevent wildfires and keep your home and community safe.

Get information about major wildfires and fire conditions in Washington State by following DNR’s Fire Twitter news feed.

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Governor Inslee, Commissioner Goldmark complete annual firefighter safety test

June 4, 2014

Governor Jay Inslee and Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter GoldToday, Governor Jay Inslee and Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark successfully completed the wildland firefighter safety test. By doing so, they will be able to more safely travel to firelines in the unfortunate event of a large or hazardous wildfire. Their efforts highlight the need to be safe and prepared in the face of wildfire throughout the state.

The Work Capacity Test is known informally as the ‘pack test.’ The pack test measures a firefighter’s muscular strength and aerobic endurance, and includes a timed walk and successful deployment of a fire shelter.

The risk of wildfire can change rapidly during the spring when warmer, dryer weather occurs more often. Wildfires can damage natural resources, destroy homes, and threaten the safety of the public, as well as the firefighters who protect forests and communities.Governor Jay Inslee and Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Gold

Last year, DNR had 764 wildfires on 126,108 acres on land that it protects. Of those, 533 were human-caused, about 70%.

Be safe and stay connected during wildfire season

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Fire Council earns recognition for decade-long wildfire prevention

May 28, 2014
Pictured are (from left to right): Christine Jensen, Jane Potter, Lindy Friedlander, Jeff Madden, Barbara Powrie, Matt Rourke, and John Taylor

Pictured are (from left to right): Christine Jensen, Jane Potter, Lindy Friedlander, Jeff Madden, Barbara Powrie, Matt Rourke, and John Taylor

A wildfire that threatened a Carnation-area neighborhood more than a decade ago has had a positive and long-lasting effect on several forested King County communities.

Formed in the aftermath of a close call with a wildfire in 2003, the Tolt Triangle Fire Council recently received special recognition for maintaining its Firewise Communities/USA recognition status over the past 10 years.

Jane Potter, the Firewise Communities Coordinator for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, South Puget Sound Region, presented the award at a special ceremony during Wildfire Awareness Month that included the King County Rural Forest Commission and a representative from King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert’s office.

The Fire Council hired a forester to thin dangerously overcrowded forest stands. They also developed phone and email lists and created evacuation guidelines in order to protect some 500 homes across a 5,800-acre expanse of forested foothills in western Washington.

With help from a King County forester and Eastside Fire and Rescue, the group completed a wildfire risk assessment and the first state-approved Community Wildfire Protection Plan west of the Cascades.

The Tolt Triangle Firewise Community encompasses the communities of Tolt River Highlands, Lake Joy, North Lake Joy Estates, and The Reserve at Lake Joy. Barbara Powrie, Lindy Friedlander, and Jeff Madden received the award on behalf of the Tolt Triangle Fire Council.

The King County Forestry Program offers free assistance to residents of rural forested areas to assess their risk from wildfire and develop and implement community wildfire safety plans. Modeled after the national Firewise program, such plans prevent the loss of lives, property, and resources to wildfire while encouraging forest stewardship among landowners. Contact the Forestry Program at 206-477-4842.

Remember, if you don’t clear for defensible space and a fire comes through, you could lose everything!

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