Weather rules; Ear to the Ground readers vote (one mouse click at a time)

DNR's Webster Forest Nursery
Christmas tree ornaments? No, these conifer seedlings were coated with ice on purpose to prevent serious damage from cold weather at DNR's Webster Forest Nursery last month. Photo: John Trobaugh/DNR

Weather rules, it appears, on blogs like this as well as on the local evening news. Although December has a couple more days to go, a look at the most popular blog postings of the month on Ear to the Ground show that you are interested in weather. Speaking of which, the National Weather Service in Seattle, and in Spokane issued winter weather advisories Monday and continue to update them. Bad weather looks likely on both sides of the state through mid-week at least.

Evidence of your thirst for weather-related news includes our most popular blog of the month: the success of the DNR Webster Forest Nursery’s effort to save millions of tree seedlings from a deep freeze in late November. Their strategy of spraying water in the sub-freezing weather to coat the delicate seedlings with a protective layer ice worked, recently completed lab tests of the seedlings confirmed. The DNR staff at the nursery who monitored the spraying-icing operation over a 36-hour stretch have good replies when you ask, “How cold was it?” (but none can be used in the blog).

DNR raises millions seedlings to plant each year as part of our commitment to regenerate harvested forestland. We also sell many seedlings to private foresters who look the nursery as an affordable source of quality seedlings in bulk.

More popular postings on Ear to the Ground…

Also getting lots of clicks on Ear to the Ground this month have been our postings about landslides following the December 11-12 storm in Western Washington. Our geologists’ map of the reported landslides was a popular link.

Speaking of maps, the latest draft map of the Reiter Foothills Motorized Trail System drew many views. The area has been temporarily closed for rehabilitation, repairs and planning since November 2009. An extensive redesign of the area’s motorized trail system is currently going through the State Environmental Policy Act process. Here’s a detailed look at the environmental policy documents for the proposed trail system and other changes in the area — the public comment period is open until January 31, 2011.

More views of ‘ice-sculpture’ at DNR’s Webster Forest Nursery on our Flickr page.

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