Cost-share available to improve your forest’s health and reduce wildfire risks

March 10, 2014
Thinning and pruning trees helps to create a healthier forest and reduce wildfire risks. PHOTO: DNR.

Thinning and pruning trees helps to create a healthier forest and reduce wildfire risks. PHOTO: DNR.

If you have forestland in Chelan, Kittitas, Klickitat or Yakima counties, you may be eligible to receive federal help for some of the costs to reduce wildfire risks on your properties.

The cost-share program, administered by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), pays for up to half of a landowner’s cost to thin and prune trees and remove forest slash.

Many forest stands in the four-county area have grown too dense, producing weaker trees that are more susceptible to damage from pine bark beetles, western spruce budworm, and other harmful insects and diseases. Dense, overcrowded forest stands also pose wildfire risks.

Forest landowners may apply for cost-share funding online at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/dnrcostshare.

DNR foresters are available to meet with interested landowners, assess the health of their forests, and recommend forest management options. Landowners interested in discussing the cost-share program with a forester should contact:

Chuck Wytko
Southeast Region Landowner Assistance District Manager
Washington State Department of Natural Resources
509-925-0963
Charles.Wytko@dnr.wa.gov

Federally funded by the U.S. Forest Service, this program is available to forestland owners in portions of Chelan, Kittitas, Klickitat and Yakima counties where DNR has declared a Forest Health Hazard Warning. To learn more, visit: www.dnr.wa.gov/foresthealth.

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DNR weekend reading: Magnetic fields guide salmon home

March 9, 2014
State trust land

Fog and below-freezing temperatures combine to give the illusion of recent snowfall on a tract of DNR-managed state trust land in Pend Oreille County. Photo: James Hartley/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:

Oregon State UniversityStudy confirms link between salmon migration and magnetic field
The Earth’s magnetic field may explain how fish can navigate across thousands of miles of water to find their river of origin, say scientists following experiments at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center in the Alsea River basin.

Cornell UniversityDeer proliferation disrupts a forest’s natural growth
Cornell researchers have discovered that a burgeoning deer population forever alters the progression of a forest’s natural future by creating environmental havoc in the soil and disrupting the soil’s natural seed banks.

Science DailyWhat has happened to the tsunami debris from Japan?
The driftage generated by the tragic 2011 tsunami in Japan gave scientists a unique chance to learn more about the effects of the ocean and wind on floating materials as they move across the North Pacific Ocean.

Harvard UniversityInfrared: A new renewable energy source?
Physicists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences envision using current technologies to create a device that would harvest energy from Earth’s infrared emissions into outer space.

DNR Website Maintenance

March 8, 2014

March 8

Staff will be upgrading some of DNR’s online systems March 8.

The website and web based programs may not be available for use. In the meantime, please stay connected on our “Ear to the Ground” blog and/or other social media tools.

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DNR’s social media sites:
“Ear to the Ground” blog
Twitter
Fire Twitter
Flickr
Facebook Fan page
YouTube
 
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Plan your weekend adventure with DNR

March 7, 2014

Looking for something to do this weekend? Plan an outdoor adventure on DNR-managed lands.

Try Something New
Don’t let cool weather hold you back. This time of year you can go hiking, mountain biking, trail running, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, off-road vehicle riding, camping, bird watching, free flying (hang gliding and paragliding), and many other activities.

Ahtanum

The 67 miles of groomed snow trails at Ahtanum Winter Recreation Area are waiting to be explored. Click to learn more. Photo: Ken Dean/DNR

If you can dream up a fun outdoor activity, you can probably find a group doing it on state-trust lands.

Plan Ahead
The key to a good trip out into nature is to make sure you’re prepared. Here are some things to consider before striking out into the great outdoors:

Explore some DNR recreation photos on our Flickr site to get inspired for your next outdoor adventure.

Most importantly, have fun on your trip.

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Is there a link between tree health and human health?

March 6, 2014
This red oak tree helps cool and freshen the air, mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce stress and anxiety, increase property values, and so much more.

This red oak tree helps cool and freshen the air, mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce stress and anxiety, increase property values, and so much more.

A new study from the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station is suggesting yet another compelling link between the presence of trees and human health. Could this link be so strong that a poorly-treed community might actually suffer higher rates of cardiovascular disease and death among people? The author of the study, Geoffrey Donovan, believes this may be true.

While Donovan’s results imply higher rates of cardiovascular disease and death in communities where the tree canopy has been decimated by Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), Donovan is careful to emphasize that his results are not causational, but they are highly correlated.

A summary of this study, as written by Marie Oliver, can be found here.

Humans intuitively understand the value of trees to their physical and mental health. Trees make our cities and towns much more livable. They cool and freshen the air, mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce stress and anxiety, increase property values, and so much more.

Other benefits of trees are often not obvious. Trees turn sunlight into food sources for insects, wildlife and people; they supply wood for fuel, furniture and homes; and they provide beauty for all of us.

DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is raising awareness about the benefits of trees in communities. Join local efforts so your city can benefit from the healthy quality of life that trees can offer.

Still in doubt? Pick a tree in your neighborhood, measure the diameter, and find out exactly what benefits it provides. You’ll be happily surprised!

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Rec Alert: Murdock Beach access road open after brief closure for soil testing

March 6, 2014

Ruby Beach, located on the Washington Coast. Photo: Jane Chavey/ DNR

All work has been completed and the Murdock Beach access forest road is once again open to the public.

Thank you for your patience!

Original article posted February 27, 2014:

Rec Alert: Murdock Beach access road to close for soil testing
The forest road that accesses Murdock Beach will be closed Tuesday, March 4 and Wednesday, March 5 for soil testing.

Murdock Beach, located on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, will not be accessible during this time.

The temporary closure will be at the junction of US Highway 112 and forest road PA-S-2500. This will block access to the PA-S-2510 beach access road and the PA-S-2600 forest access road.

Why will the road be closed?
The DNR Timber Sales program will be taking core samples of the forest road to determine soil suitability. This is a step in preparing for a fish barrier culvert removal.

Murdock Beach access road closure

The forest road that accesses Murdock Beach will be closed March 4 – 5. Click image to enlarge.

For updates on the closure, please visit DNR’s recreation updates page. Closure updates will also be posted on DNR’s Facebook and Twitter sites.

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Spring ahead to protect your home from wildfire

March 6, 2014
Defensible space is important, especially if you live in wildfire country. PHOTO: Jessica Payne

Defensible space is important, especially if you live in wildfire country.
PHOTO: Jessica Payne/DNR

The month of March always seems to bring us interesting weather. But soon you’ll be hearing the sounds of lawn mowers, trimmers, and leaf blowers. Yard work is inevitable and a sure sign that spring has arrived.

With the arrival of spring, wildfire season is just around the corner – April 15, to be exact. Now is the time to consider fire-resistant landscaping techniques that can help to keep your home safe, especially if you live close to the forest.

Fire-resistant landscaping can be both functional and beautiful. Regardless of whether you’re in the design phase or just doing yard maintenance, remember, fire prevention is really a matter of the right plant in the right place. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Use plants with high moisture content (deciduous) nearest the home;
  • Trim tree branches away from the home;
  • Keep vegetation, including the lawn, around the home low and green;
  • Limb trees at least six feet above the ground to reduce the chances that a fire on the ground will spread into tree tops – this is especially important if your property has lots of trees;
  • Keep decorative ground covers, such as tree bark away from direct contact with your home – bark and wood chip ground covers can smolder; and
  • Trim back trees and shrubbery around structures so that fire crews and their vehicles will have safe access in an emergency.

Defensible space
Trees, shrubs, grasses and other vegetation provide fuel for fires. Reducing or even eliminating vegetation close to structures is a way to create defensible space against a wildfire.

If you’re designing or updating your home’s landscaping, think of ways to incorporate firebreaks (things that don’t burn) into your landscape design. A defensible space doesn’t have to be an eyesore. Some examples of firebreaks are: concrete, brick or gravel walkways, concrete flower box borders or planters, and water features, such as a pond. Even the backyard swimming pool can serve as a firebreak.

Get Firewise
In Washington, numerous communities have received national recognition for their fire prevention efforts through the Firewise Communities USA® Program. Many other neighborhoods have completed a wildfire protection plan that can help save lives and property.

In Washington, 85 percent of our wildfires are human-caused. We can all do our part to help prevent the spread of these wildfires. For additional tips on how to reduce the risk of wildfire to your community, home and family, log on to www.firewise.org.

With Washington’s population growing, especially in the forest on the outskirts of our urban areas, it’s important for homeowners to understand how to protect homes and property before a wildfire breaks out. The better prepared that you and your community are for a wildfire, the better chance we all have for preventing a catastrophe.

DNR Volunteer Heroes are at it again! Annual Great Gravel Pack-In

March 4, 2014

Great Gravel Pack-In

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

At DNR, we could not do the work we do without the help of our volunteers statewide. 

The Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark presents an annual Volunteer Hero Award to honor extraordinary volunteers who demonstrate leadership and commitment in their service to the DNR Volunteer Program.

The time of year has come where our Volunteer Heroes are at it again. They just can’t help leading volunteer efforts and they are looking for people who are willing to strap on their work gloves and join in the work. Read the rest of this entry »

DNR weekend reading: Earthquake lights, tallest trees, and more

March 1, 2014
hoarfrost

Hoarfrost in Capitol State Forest near Fall Creek campground. Photo: Bryan Hamlin/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:

Nature: Earthquake lights linked to rift zones
A new catalogue of earthquake lights — mysterious glows sometimes reported before or during seismic shaking — finds that they happen most often in geological rift environments, where the ground is pulling apart. The work is the latest to tackle the enigmatic lights, which have been described by eyewitnesses for centuries but are yet to be fully explained by scientists.

Science Daily: Temperature Most Significant Driver of World’s Tallest Trees
The tallest specimens of the world’s nine tallest tree species grow in climates with an unusually small seasonal temperature variation. Understanding the role of temperature in driving tree height, may help scientists forecast how forests adapt to climate change.

University of California-BerkeleySuburban Sprawl Cancels Carbon Footprint Savings of Dense Urban Cores
According to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, population-dense cities contribute less greenhouse gas emissions per person than other areas of the country, but these cities’ extensive suburbs essentially wipe out the climate benefits.

University of California-Santa Barbara: Cities Support More Native Biodiversity Than Previously Thought
Rapid conversion of natural lands to cement-dominated urban centers is causing great losses in biodiversity. Yet, according to a new study involving 147 cities worldwide, surprisingly high numbers of plant and animal species persist and even flourish in urban environment.

environment360: Urban Nature: How to Foster Biodiversity in World’s Cities
As the world becomes more urbanized, researchers and city managers from Baltimore to Britain are recognizing the importance of providing urban habitat that can support biodiversity.

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Easy steps to becoming a Tree City USA®

February 28, 2014

Tree City USA recognizes cities and towns that go the extra mile to manage and care for healthy urban forests.

Find out if your city is involved, and if not, learn how easy it is to become a Tree City.

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