Posts Tagged ‘DNR’

DNR weekend reading: Frequency and size of wildfires in western US growing

April 19, 2014
Trees in this patch of old-growth forest in southwest Washington State survived the Yacolt Burn of 1902.

Trees in this patch of old-growth forest in southwest Washington State survived the Yacolt Burn of 1902. Timber harvests are restricted in this area because it is habitat for the northern spotted owl, a federally listed species. 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:

American Geophysical Union: More, bigger wildfires burning western U.S., study shows
Wildfires across the western United States have been getting bigger and more frequent over the last 30 years – a trend that could continue as climate change causes temperatures to rise and drought to become more severe in the coming decades, according to new research.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA): Nutrient-rich forests absorb more carbon
The ability of forests to sequester carbon from the atmosphere depends on nutrients available in the forest soils, shows new research from an international team of researchers. “This paper produces the first evidence that to really understand the carbon cycle, you have to look into issues of nutrient cycling within the soil,” said one of the researchers.

University of Utah: Warm U.S. West, Cold East: A 4,000-Year Pattern: Global Warming May Bring More Curvy Jet Streams during Winter
Last winter’s curvy jet stream pattern that brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, and may become more extreme as Earth’s climate warms. By examining oxygen isotope ratios in lake and cave sediments, University of Utah researchers were able to determine several thousand years of past jet stream patterns.

Environment360: UN Panel Looks to Renewables as the Key to Stabilizing Climate
In its latest report, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes a strong case for a sharp increase in low-carbon energy production, especially solar and wind, and provides hope that this transformation can occur in time to hold off the worst impacts of global warming.

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DNR Adventure: Your outdoor gym: mountain biking

April 18, 2014

As spring gets rolling, so can you, on your mountain bike. There are many DNR trails that accommodate mountain bikes. Read on for some trip ideas to inspire you to pump up your tires and dig out the riding gear.

Abandon your stationary bike and take to the trails for some serious cardio action. Photo courtesy of Friends of Capitol Forest

Abandon your stationary bike and take to the trails for some serious cardio action. Photo courtesy of Friends of Capitol Forest

Grab your Discover Pass, strap the bike rack on your car, and enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of your bike seat.

Capital Forest—Mima Falls
The Mima Falls trail is a great ride for all ages and skill levels. The trail is a 7 mile loop so you can decide if you want to roll through and take in the views or try a different line on each time around.

Take an afternoon and ride Capitol State Forest's outdoor gym. Photo by: DNR

Take an afternoon and ride Capitol State Forest’s outdoor gym. Photo by: DNR

This trail is not too technical, allowing you to relax and enjoy the scenery. Make sure you stop to take in the views when you pass by the breathtaking Mima Falls waterfall. Bring a lunch - the falls create musical natural soundtrack to accompany your picnic.

Get there: From I-5 South
Take exit 95 and make a slight left onto Maytown Road SW. Continue onto 128th Avenue. Turn left onto Mima Road SW and continue 1.3 miles, then turn right onto Bordeaux Road SW. Turn right onto Marksman Street SW. Keep left to stay on Marksman Street SW, then make a slight left to stay on Marksman St SW. The trailhead will be on your left.

Tiger Mountain Trail- Fully Rigid, Joy Ride, Silent Swamp
These new trails are now open to the public for hiking and mountain biking. You can be one of the firsts to take tread to the trail and enjoy the climb to a lovely picnic area set at the top. Whether you are looking for a short quick uphill route (Fully Rigid), a more pleasant flatter slower route (Silent Swamp), or something in between (Joy Ride) these three new trails have something for everyone.

Mountain Bike Rider on East Tiger Mountain

Enjoy the natural and rugged terrain at East Tiger Mountain this summer. Photo: Sam Jarrett, DNR

No matter what trail you choose going up, they all share the same hilltop destination. Go ahead out and be the first of your friends to conquer these new tails and try all the different combinations.

Get there: From I-90
Take exit 25 and drive south on State Route 18 to the Tiger Mountain summit. At the summit, turn right (west) into the large parking lot. Drive through the first lot, and turn left onto a gravel road. Continue about 0.25 mile to a second, larger parking lot on the right. The road is gated just past this lot.

Before you go:
As fun as mountain biking can be, make sure you take the following precautions to play safely:

  • Always wear a helmet and personal protective gear.
  • Never recreate alone on DNR-managed lands. Taking a buddy not only makes the ride more fun, but it also provides someone to help you if you get into trouble.
  • Know the trails, and check to see if they’re open.
  • Practice proper trail etiquette.
  • Read tips for safe and sustainable mountain biking.

So take your spin class outdoors and get some fresh air in your lungs as you enjoy great trails and great scenery.

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Are you ready? Wildfire season starts April 15

April 15, 2014
Taylor Bridge Fire

The Taylor Bridge Fire, which started August 13, 2012, destroyed 61 residences and burned 23,500 acres between Cle Elum and Ellensburg. Photo: DNR.

Regardless of what the thermometer or rain gauge say, wildfire season officially begins on April 15 in Washington State.

The risk of wildfires can change rapidly during the spring when spells of warmer, drier weather occur with increasing frequency. Wildfires can damage natural resources, destroy homes, and threaten the safety of the public and the firefighters who protect forests and communities.

In fact, there have already been more than 20 forest fires reported this year on lands protected by DNR. Last year, 764 fires burned approximately 126,219 acres on DNR-protected lands– about 70 percent of those were human-caused.

Now is a good time to consider fire-resistant landscaping techniques that can help keep your home safe, especially if you live close to the forest or other open lands. Fire-resistant landscaping can be both functional and beautiful. Try these tips to help keep your home safe from wildfire this year:

  • 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 beauty 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.

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, visit www.firewise.org.

Learn more about wildfire rules that start this summer.

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Help celebrate Earth Day by cleaning up the beach at Point Robinson, Maury Island

April 10, 2014
ps corps team on Piner Point

Puget SoundCorps doing some clean-up

Maury Island Beach clean-up

Are you tired of seeing bottles, food wrappers and so much other trash floating around on what could be beautiful beaches and tidelands? Celebrate Earth Day with Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Puget SoundCorps to help clean up the beach at Point Robinson, Maury Island.

The cleanup is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 22. Parking is available at the upper lot of the Point Robinson Lighthouse.

Directions:

 - Coming on the ferry from Tacoma take Vashon Hwy SW.

 - Take a right onto SW Quartermaster Dr.

 - Follow SW Quartermaster Dr until you take another right onto Dockton Rd SW.

 - Continue straight onto SW Point Robinson Rd; this will take you all the way into the park.

What to bring and what is provided?

Please bring your work gloves, water, and appropriate work wear and come help DNR and Puget SoundCorps make a difference this Earth Day.

DNR will provide garbage bags and light refreshments. Volunteers can also take guided tours of the Point Robinson Lighthouse.

For further information, contact Kirsten Miller, DNR Puget SoundCorps crewmember or visit the event page on Facebook.

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) or 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 DNR. 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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Rec Alerts: Harvest activities & road work might affect your visit to NW Washington

April 1, 2014

Timber harvests and road work are familiar hazards to DNR recreationists.

This blog will help keep you aware of forest activity on DNR land in Northwest Washington over the next month.

A truck loaded down with timber is driving down a forest road

Be aware of logging trucks and pull off to the side in a designated pull out if you see one coming your way. Photo by: DNR

Read more to find out about recreation alerts in the following areas:

  • Harry Osborne State Forest
    Read more to learn updates on the Wrangler Connection Trail and Mac Johnson Trail closures.
  • Stewart Mountain
    Heavy truck traffic will begin the week of April 7 on the Olsen Creek Road System.
  • Van Zandt Road System
    Van Zandt scheduled to be closed April 3rd through April 11.
  • North Fork Road System
    This road system will close for the month of April.

Check back frequently, as we will post updates here as they become available. (more…)

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. (more…)

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 (more…)

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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