Posts Tagged ‘clean up’

Eight reasons DNR is thankful for volunteers

November 28, 2013

Samish Overlook

Year-round, volunteers help keep DNR-managed rec sites clean, safe, and healthy. Photo by: DNR/Rick Foster

Each year, volunteers of all ages put in hundreds of thousands of hours helping DNR.

Their dedicated efforts and skills help us maintain and improve recreational sites, trails, natural areas, and other outdoor volunteer opportunities on the state trust lands we manage.

Some volunteers devote time every month; others pitch in a few hours here and there.

At DNR, we’re thankful to all of those who:

  1. Spent countless hours battling blackberries and scotch broom from overtaking trails and natural areas.
  2. Volunteered for the Forest Watch Program.
  3. Provided information and nature interpretation to school children and other forest visitors.
  4. Trekked out in the field to collect data or monitor plant species — providing valuable information to staff scientists.
  5. Helped us maintain and build recreational trails.
  6. Organized volunteer work parties.
  7. Provided clerical assistance.
  8. Helped DNR keep campgrounds open to the public by becoming a volunteer camp host.

Reiter

Rain or shine, DNR’s volunteers are always happy to show up and lend a hand. Photo by: DNR

…and the many other activities that relied on volunteer efforts in the past year.

To all of you, our sincere thanks! And a Happy Thanksgiving.

The gift that gives back
Did you know that volunteers can earn vouchers toward a complimentary Discover Pass for their service?

By putting in 24 hours of time working on eligible projects on recreation lands managed by DNR, Washington State Parks, or Washington Department of Fish and WildlifeGet details.

Check out our Volunteer Calendar to learn about opportunities for you to get involved.

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Puget SoundCorps crews tackle toxic debris in Kitsap County

November 21, 2013
Photo of someone using a chainsaw to cut up an old boat engine.

Puget SoundCorps crewmember cuts up a hunk of old boat engine that washed up years ago on Nick’s Lagoon. Photo: Toni Droscher / DNR

Neither rain, nor winds, nor high tides could dampen the enthusiasm of DNR’s Puget SoundCorps crew’s tackling a major cleanup of  large, derelict debris—about 15 tons of it—from the beach next to Nick’s Lagoon County Park. The crews started working on the project this week and will be spending the next few weeks at the park located in Seabeck.

Some of the debris appears to be the remnants of an old marine railway built of creosote-treated timbers, which continue to leach toxic chemicals into the environment years after their useful lifespan ends. Two of the structures are about 40-feet long by 12-feet wide by 5-feet high.

Other large debris includes an old, barely recognizable vessel with a rusted engine block, an old steel float, a concrete float (yes, concrete floats when it encapsulates foam), old tires, and other vestiges of timbers from a railroad bed.

“This is an exacting demolition job,” says Kristian Tollefson, DNR restoration specialist and project manager. “It will be a fairly technical disassembly. The crews will need to go slowly and be very meticulous about the work.”

(more…)

Restoration through perspiration: Hard-working Puget SoundCorps crews wrap up two-year creosote-debris removal project

August 29, 2013

Question: What weighs 240 tons, is covered in tar, and no longer threatens the health of more than a dozen beaches in Northern Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca?

Answer: Toxic creosote-treated wood debris removed from these beaches in the past two years.

Lopez Island Creosote Clean Up

Crews from WCC Puget Sound Corps carry creosote-treated wood debris to a site for helicopter removal November 2011. Photo: Lisa Kaufman/DNR

Thanks to the hard work of crews from the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) Puget SoundCorps Program and contractors, these beaches are now cleaner and healthier (with the toxic debris now safely stored in a special landfill in eastern Washington).

For the past two years, WCC Puget SoundCorps crews battled wind, rain, cold, heat, and challenging terrain to help restore beaches in five counties in northern Puget Sound. Before the start of nearly every  project,  trained crews canvass a beach to identify and mark the debris, which is often interspersed among non-toxic debris. Occasionally, an alert citizen will report treated-wood debris to us. (more…)

Fidalgo Bay needs your help; Volunteers wanted this Sunday for Puget SoundCorps beach cleanup

August 14, 2013
Fidalgo Bay

Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve in Skagit County. Photo: Ecology.

Looking for an opportunity to get some light exercise outdoors this weekend while doing a good deed for the health of Puget Sound? Join in a beach cleanup this Sunday, August 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve, near Anacortes.

We need volunteers to help remove old plastic bottles, food wrappers, and other trash from the beach and tidelands in Fidalgo Bay. Bring work gloves, water, snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, and sturdy work shoes — we’ll provide the garbage bags. Parking is available at the Fidalgo Bay Resort, 4701 Fidalgo Bay Road (here are the driving directions).

The event is organized by DNR, Puget SoundCorps, Friends of Skagit Beaches, Skagit Land Trust, and the Skagit County Marine Resources Committee.

The Puget SoundCorps is part of the broader Washington Conservation Corps administered by the Washington Department of Ecology to create jobs for youth and military veterans. Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve is one of the seven DNR-managed aquatic reserves in Washington State.

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Woodard Bay: Who knew sustainability could look so good? Check it out on March 15!

March 12, 2013

woodard_bay_mapThis Friday, March 15, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will reopen trails at Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA). The area was temporarily closed last October to conduct a restoration project.  The Loop Trail and Whitham Road Trail will reopen along with new viewing access to Woodard Bay (see map). The Overlook Trail will close on March 25 for the nesting season to protect herons and eagles.

Woodard Bay NRCA is nestled in South Puget Sound near Olympia and protects native shoreline habitat, much to the delight of bird watchers, nature conservationists, and others who enjoy the beauty and peace of minimally disturbed habitat.

However, beneath the serenity of Woodard Bay NRCA, environmental concerns lingered. Before the restoration, old creosote-treated logs and piers along with fill material choked the natural coastline.

Thanks to the 2012 Jobs Now Act funding, DNR was able to complete restoration projects that weren’t anticipated to be completed for many years.

What is the big deal with creosote?

An excavator works to restore native shoreline at Woodard Bay by removing fill. Photo: Michele Zukerberg, DNR.

An excavator works to restore native shoreline at Woodard Bay by removing fill. Photo: Michele Zukerberg, DNR.

Creosote contains more than 300 chemicals, many of which are toxic, and pose a threat to human and environmental health and safety. It was a big job pulling out creosote-treated logs and piers, removing hundreds of tons of fill and restoring the natural coastline, and developing long-term access for the public.

What’s the 2012 Jobs Now Act?
To boost the state’s economy, the 2012 Washington Legislature directed $505 million in the Jobs Now Act to quickly create thousands of jobs in the state. DNR received $37 million of this funding for a broad range of jobs that include removing invasive species, cleaning up beaches, replacing culverts to improve fish passage, restoring shorelines, protecting natural resources, improving recreation facilities, maintaining and enhancing urban forests, and increasing fire protection. Of the $37 million, $200,000 is to be used specifically for removing large debris.

Don’t forget your Discover Pass, your ticket to millions of acres of recreation opportunities on Washington state-managed recreation lands. The Discover Pass is now transferable between two vehicles.

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Thank you volunteers! Blanchard Forest has new horse mounting blocks

March 7, 2013
Volunteers at Blanchard Mountain install much-needed equestrian mounting blocks. Photo: Christ Thomsen, DNR.

Volunteers at Blanchard Forest install much needed equestrian mounting blocks. Photo: Christ Thomsen, DNR.

The Whatcom County Pony Club stepped up to make a difference at Blanchard Forest near Bellingham (map). 

Club members and Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff  realized there was a great need for mounting blocks at equestrian trailheads on state trust land in Whatcom and Skagit counties. Equestrian mounting blocks are safer for horse riders to use than trailer hubs, slippery rocks, logs, and other potentially unsafe substitutes.

Check out our photos!

The first two blocks were installed at Blanchard Forest in October 2012 with another seven mounting blocks scheduled to be installed soon.

Volunteers and Washington Conservation Corps crew members made the mounting blocks from lumber and gravel donated by the community.

DNR would like to thank volunteers from the local community, the Whatcom County Pony Club, WCC crews, and the Back Country Horsemen of Whatcom County for this revitalizing project.

Want to get involved? Check out our volunteer calendar for upcoming volunteer events or join us on March 9 at Samish Overlook on Blanchard Forest for a Spring clean-up.

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Puget SoundCorps-WCC, shellfish grower combine efforts to clean up Dabob Bay Natural Area

February 15, 2013
Puget SoundCorps/WCC crews worked with Rock Point Oyster Co. staff to clean up the DNR Natural Area at Dabob Bay recently. Photo: Deborah Nemens/DNR.

Puget SoundCorps/WCC crews worked with Rock Point Oyster Co. staff to clean up the DNR Natural Area at Dabob Bay recently. Photo: Deborah Nemens/DNR.

A one-day beach clean-up at Dabob Bay Natural Area Preserve in early February brought in a bounty (if that’s what you want to call it) of assorted trash. The effort was organized by a DNR Natural Areas Ecologist and carried out by a Puget SoundCorps/Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) crew, whose labors were paid by the State Jobs Bill, which was passed last year.

The crew picked up about 30 bags of trash, as well as many larger items including big chunks of Styrofoam and tires. About one-third of the items were aquaculture debris, mostly mussel disks and oyster harvest bags. Notable items included a Spiderman action figure, lots of shoes, and some gross things best left unmentioned. 

Assisting the Puget SoundCorp/WCC crew were staff volunteers from Rock Point Oyster Co., which leases state aquatic lands near the preserve. The company also hauled the collected trash away to an approved landfill.

The Dabob Bay Natural Area, located on the northwest shore of Hood Canal, includes 1,193 acres of shoreline, marsh and forestland. It protects rare examples of intact salt marsh and sand spit plant communities. The area is considered one of Washington’s best-functioning coastal spit and tidal wetland systems. About a half-dozen commercial shellfish operations operate nearby producing world-renowned oysters. And now it is a lot cleaner thanks to the Puget SoundCorp/WCC, state jobs bill funds, and the help of Rock Point Oyster Co.

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Maury Island reclamation effort continues; WCC and Puget SoundCorps crews are making progress

January 23, 2013
Maury Island Marine Park.

One of the several crews supervised by DNR in a cleanup of the Maury Island Marine Park. Photo: DNR/WCC

Here’s an update on the cleanup and reclamation effort at Maury Island Marine Park: Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) crews continue to remove noxious weeds and prepare for spring planting of native plants at the former gravel mining site. Several pickup truck loads of plastic foam debris and trash were removed from the shoreline in December (see photo).

The $2.2 million funding for the Maury Island Marine Park reclamation project is part of $10 million appropriated in last year’s Jobs Act for DNR-related Puget SoundCorps/Veterans Corps projects. In addition to removing noxious weeds, WCC and Puget SoundCorps crews are improving trails, planting and tending native plants and other tasks. The park features stunning views and the longest stretch of undeveloped Puget Sound shoreline in King County.

Check out the latest progress

Several pickup truck loads of plastic foam and other refuse were removed from beach at Maury Island. Photo: DNR/WCC.

Several pickup truck loads of plastic foam and other refuse were removed from beach at Maury Island. Photo: DNR/WCC.

DNR is helping King County Division of Parks and Natural Resources reclaim about 70 acres of the park’s more than 300 acres that were disturbed by mining operations. DNR’s role is to manage the project, which is providing jobs and experience to young adults, ages 18 to 25 years.

The Washington Department of Ecology administers the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC), which includes Puget SoundCorps.

 

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Got storm damage?

November 20, 2012
stormdamage

Don’t fret. DNR has the 411 on what to do with your storm damaged trees. Photo by DNR/Dena Scroggie

After facing the wettest day of the year and hurricane force winds, does your yard look a little like a battlefield? While we’ve been hiding out from the storm our trees have been taking on the elements. Here’s a quick recap of resources and past DNR blogs to help you care for your trees and know when to contact a certified arborist (see tips below)

Tips for dealing with tree service companies

  • DNR offers these additional tips to consumers seeking a tree service company to deal with downed or damaged trees from the aftermath of storms:
  • Hire a company that is licensed, bonded, insured and employs ISA Certified Arborists. Although Washington requires tree service companies to register with the state, they are not required to adhere to proper pruning standards or even demonstrate pruning knowledge in order to obtain a license.
  • Beware of ‘door-knockers’; their low prices could prove costly. Most reputable companies have business cards, truck signs, and even uniforms that represent a professional level of service.
  • Ask for references, and take time to select a reputable company. Avoid hiring anyone who will top a tree.
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Maury Island Marine Park reclamation puts young people to work through state Jobs Bill

October 11, 2012

Puget SoundCorps

A year-long reclamation project is putting two dozen Puget SoundCorps members to work removing noxious weeds and restoring native vegetation at King County’s Maury Island Marine Park–site of a former gravel mining operation.

Using funds appropriated by the 2012 Washington Legislature, DNR is helping King County Division of Parks and Natural Resources reclaim about 70 acres of the park’s more than 300 acres that were disturbed by the mining operations. DNR’s role is to manage the project, which is providing jobs and experience to young adults, ages 18 to 25 years.

The $2.2 million funding for the Maury Island Marine Park reclamation project is part of the $10 million appropriated in the Jobs Act for DNR-related Puget SoundCorps/Veterans Corps projects.In addition to removing noxious weeds, SoundCorps crews at the Maury Island park are improving trails, and planting and tending native plants. The park features stunning views and the longest stretch of undeveloped Puget Sound shoreline in King County.

Puget SoundCorps members Geoff Mayhew and Cassandra Williams survey the Maury Island shoreline for forage fish eggs. Photo: Bob Redling/DNR.

An additional Puget SoundCorps team–also funded by the Jobs Act– is conducting a DNR-lead beach sampling effort to assess forage fish habitat, remove creosote debris and do other restoration projects in the DNR-managed Maury Island Aquatic Reserve and other locations in the Sound.

The Washington Department of Ecology administers the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC), which includes Puget SoundCorps. The WCC works year-round to protect and enhance Washington’s natural resources. Corps members earn $9.04 an hour and receive a $5,550 AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of one year of service (1700 hours).

More about Puget SoundCorps and the 2012 state jobs bill: 

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