Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hard rain can trigger landslides. What’s your community’s risk?

February 6, 2015

CaptureHeavy rains often cause localized flooding and higher river levels, but prolonged, intense rain like that which swept western Washington last night and this morning increases the chances of landslides.

In any given year, Washington can see hundreds, if not thousands of landslides.

Rainwater can infiltrate the ground, causing western Washington’s porous, sandier topsoil to weaken and slide off a base of firmer, impermeable clay. The steepness of eastern Washington slopes are also vulnerable to landslides. (Timothy Walsh, DNR Chief Hazards Geologist, explains in this video.)

In an effort to give communities a rating of how rainfall may increase the threat of landslides, Washington State Department of Natural Resources has teamed up with the National Weather Service to provide a map showing the risk of shallow landslides.

Updated every morning, the Shallow Landslide Hazard Map uses rainfall data from the previous 48 hours along with the Weather Service’s forecast rainfall for the next 24 hours to determine how high the hazard might be.

The map does not predict landslides at any particular time or location, but is intended to raise awareness of shallow landslide hazards caused by periods of prolonged rainfall. Landslides may occur in counties that have a low hazard rating and may not occur in all or any areas at high hazard

It is still in beta mode, so timely delivery of data is not guaranteed.

Warning signs of an impending landslide

If you live on or near a steep slope, here are some warning signs of potential slope instability:

  • Cracks forming in your yard, driveway, sidewalk, foundation or in other structures.
  • Trees on slopes, especially evergreens, start tilting.
  • Doors and windows suddenly become more difficult to open or close.
  • Water begins seeping from hillsides, even during dry weather.

If you see any of these early signs of a potential landslide, immediately contact your city or county.

Useful links

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter

Winning the battle one wetland at a time

February 2, 2015
Huff Lake fen, Pend Oreille County

Huff Lake fen, located in Pend Oreille County, has mineral rich alkaline waters that support a wide range of animals and plants. Photo: Joe Rocchio/DNR.

Today is World Wetlands Day, and we are recognizing and celebrating these enormously varied and important ecosystems.

Many used to be called ‘swamps’, and got a bad rap – despite the fact that they help prevent flooding by acting like sponges during storm events, filter out toxins, and help provide water to aquifers for  drinking and other use during dry months, and so much more.

By the 1980s, the lower 48 states had lost more than half (53%) of wetlands that existed in the late 1700s. The wetlands have been drained, filled or otherwise altered and converted to some other use and function.

Established in 1977, DNR’s Natural Heritage Program began identifying the best quality wetlands in lowland western Washington. As a result, more than 20 of the DNR-managed natural areas (both Natural Area Preserves and Natural Resources Conservation Areas) were identified as conservation priorities due to wetlands values. Many other natural areas also have significant wetland values, even though wetlands were not the main feature driving conservation of those sites.

Wetlands are definitely a conservation concern in Washington, and one of the main priorities for the Natural Heritage Program. We have a tremendous variety of wetlands, and they support many of our state’s rarest plant species.

Wetlands are important for conservation and providing critical functions in the landscape, like acting as natural kidneys to remove pollutants and toxins from the environment, like sponges to absorb and slowly release storm water to support summer stream flows, lessen flooding risk and recharge aquifers. They also provide important habitat for a whole host of wildlife – waterfowl, migratory birds, amphibians, small mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, and more – and support a number of rare plant species.

DNR’s Natural Areas Program has a number of sites identified as important for protection by the Natural Heritage Program with wetlands of statewide significance including Snoqualmie Bog, Kings Lake Bog, Schumacher Creek, Clear Water Bogs, Carlisle Bog, North Bay, Trout Lake,  Inkblot and Dailey Prairie NAPs. All of these sites were selected for protection primarily because of their wetland ecosystems that are healthy and high functioning.

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter Join in the DNR Forum

The birds and the freeze: National Bird Feeder Month

February 2, 2015

Bird watchingThe term “Seattle Freeze” takes on a new meaning for our feathered friends here in the Pacific Northwest. With colder temperatures resulting in less insects flying around, February can be a challenging time for wild birds to find food. Fortunately for birds and bird enthusiasts alike, February also means a chance to participate in National Bird Feeder Month. National Bird Feeder Month spreads awareness of the struggles faced by wild birds in winter and encourages people to participate in the hobby of bird feeding. Whether you are a seasoned feeder or just starting out, there are countless ways to get involved this February.

Tips to get started:

  • Know your birds – Different birds are native to different regions. Therefore, becoming familiar with the birds that frequent nearby areas can aid in using the right type of feed and feeder to attract them.
  • Types of Food – Black-oil sunflower seed has the widest preference range among feeder bird species, including chickadees, cardinals, finches, jays, and woodpeckers. Other versatile birdfeed include white millet to attract ground-feeding species such as blackbirds and sparrows, and safflower for titmice, nuthatches, and cardinals.
  • Feeders – Creating a bird feeder can be as easy as coating a bare toilet paper roll with peanut butter and rolling it in birdfeed. This craft is simple, cost effective, and a great way to get kids involved in National Bird Feeder month. For those that prefer sturdier feeders, however, there are a variety of models to choose from including models to attract specific birds and models designed to repel squirrels and other outdoor critters.
  • Location – Once you’ve determined the kind of feeder and feed to use, place it in an area that can easily be viewed from a window or bench. A quiet area away from traffic and other loud noises is ideal. The area should be high enough to prevent other animals, such as household pets, from reaching the food. Keep the feeder clean and store the feed in a secure area overnight so it does not start attracting rodents or other unwanted visitors.

Not into bird feeding but still want to get involved? No problem! Head into the great outdoors. There are ample opportunities for bird watching and other recreational activities on DNR-managed state trust lands. State parks are also great for viewing many different bird species that can’t be seen in your back yard. Find the DNR-managed trust lands closest to your area.

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter Join in the DNR Forum

Take your 12th man pride outside with 12 recreation opportunities on DNR-managed land

January 30, 2015

Looking forward to the big game? Blow off some steam before Sunday’s Super bowl game by taking your 12th man pride outside! DNR-managed lands are the perfect place to represent the Seattle Seahawks!

To celebrate, we’ve put together a list of 12 recreation opportunities on DNR-managed lands sure to be a winning adventure!

Mount Baker seen from Blanchard Forest

A view of Mount Baker from the upper reaches of Blanchard Forest. Photo: DNR.

Lizard Lake, Blanchard Forest Block near Bellingham
Hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers who ascend in Blanchard Forest to Lizard Lake will find views of a lake in a pristine forest setting and views of the San Juan Islands across Samish Bay.

Lizard Lake has three camp sites near the lake to provide for a peaceful and secluded camping stay.

Three Corner Rock Trailhead, Yacolt Burn State Forest near Vancouver
Three Corner Rock Trailhead, in Yacolt Burn State Forest, takes hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers up a 9-mile trail and 2,650 foot elevation gain to a lovely view.

At this vista, visitors gain a bird’s eye view into Stebbins Creek Valley, Washougal River, as well as remarkable views of Mount Hood, Adams, Rainier, and St. Helens. This trail accesses the Pacific Crest Trail.

Walker Valley DNR

Walker Valley provides a variety of riding experiences and trail mileage for all ORV user types.

Walker Valley Trailhead, near Mount Vernon
Walker Valley Trailhead, located in Skagit County east of Mount Vernon, is a popular ORV destination with 36 miles of trails.

The Walker Valley Trail system has single track trails for motorcycles and mountain bikes, double track trails for ATVs and even six miles of 4×4 trails.  Walker Valley Trailhead also has camping available.

Dougan Falls Picnic Area, Yacolt Burn State Forest near Vancouver
The large boulders, forested edges, and cascading water of Dougan Falls are a treat for picnickers and campers who visit Yacolt Burn State Forest.

The picturesque 100-foot falls are the last waterfalls along the Washougal River and empty into a pool.

Yahoo Lake Campground, Olympic Peninsula
At 2,400 feet, Yahoo Lake campground is an incredibly remote campground on the Olympic Peninsula.

It offers visitors four camping units and lovely views of Yahoo Lake. Camping units are a short hike from the trailhead. The lake is great for fishing too!

Hoh Valley

State trust lands in the Hoh Valley are part of the Olympic Experimental State Forest managed by DNR on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Hoh Oxbow, Olympic Peninsula
Located on the Hoh River near the edge of the Olympic National Park, Hoh Oxbow campground offers visitors the perfect place to take in the Olympic Peninsula environment.

The wooded campground offers pristine camping among a dese, mossy forest of hemlock and fir. The campground has several sites with river-front views.

BeverlyDunes

Enjoy the end of summer with a romp and roar in the sand at Beverly Sand Dunes ORV park. Photo by: Clay Graham/ Eastern Washington Adventures

Beverly Dunes, near Beverly
Beverly Dunes offers ORV riders of all ages a healthy dose of excitement with dunes near the town of Beverly on Lower Crab Creek.

Mima Mounds Natural Area, Capitol State Forest near Olympia
Mima Mounds Natural Area consists of 624 acres of prairie and lies just east of Capitol State Forest near the town of Littlerock.

The National Park Service designated the area as a Natural Landmark in 1968.

TigerMt

Poo Poo Point offers incredible views and a spectacular picnic show watching paragliders soar off the mountain. Photo by: DNR

Poo-Poo Point
This wide trail, lined with old forests and wildflowers, opens up into a grassy mountainside where hang gliders and paragliders can launch throughout the summer.

Visitors can enjoy views of Issaquah Valley, Lake Sammamish, Bellevue, and on clear days, Mount Baker from the picnic area.

Grey Rock Trailhead
In the Ahtanum State Forest in DNR’s Southeast Region, the Grey Rock Trail is a multiple-use trail that meanders through a variety of forest types, including ponderosa pine forests, dense Douglas-fir-dominated stands and subalpine fir and spruce forests.

The southernmost point of the trail begins at Tree Phones Campground. The northern end is the 613 jeep trail, which runs along Divide Ridge on the northwest boundary of the area.

Ashland Lakes Trailhead
Ashland Lakes Trail is a beautiful 3.7-mile trail map in the Morning Star Natural Resources Conservation Area that passes through old-growth trees, bogs and pristine alpine lakes, including Beaver Plant Lake, Upper Ashland Lake, and Lower Ashland Lake.

The Buck Creek Trail System is nestled in the forests above the Columbia River Gorge near White Salmon, WA.  This non-motorized trail systems winds through working forests. One advantage of working forests is the undergrowth foliage is beautiful in the fall. It  lights up the hillside in this photo. Photo: Donn Rasmusson, DNR.

The Buck Creek Trail System is nestled in the forests above the Columbia River Gorge near White Salmon, WA. This non-motorized trail systems winds through working forests. One advantage of working forests is the undergrowth foliage is beautiful in the fall. It lights up the hillside in this photo. Photo: Donn Rasmusson, DNR.

Buck Creek Loop Trailhead
The Buck Creek Trail System is nestled in the forests above the Columbia River Gorge near White Salmon, WA. This non-motorized trail system winds through a working forest.

The trail system is a popular outdoor destination for equestrians, mountain bike riders, and hikers. The loop non-motorized trail system provides visitors views of Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.

Your 12th man pride won’t stop after Sunday’s big game, and trips to DNR-managed land shouldn’t either! Remember to purchase a Discover Pass, your ticket to Washington’s Great Outdoors, and subscribe to DNR recreation e-newsletter.

January 26, 1700 Cascadia earthquake anniversary

January 26, 2015

Originally posted on Washington State Geology News:

We are at the mercy of the Juan de Fuca plate, a major player in our geologic future. We are at the mercy of the Juan de Fuca plate, a major player in our geologic past, present, and future.

I am so glad I wasn’t alive 315 years ago today. Not only were there no espresso or Netflix, two items I deem necessary for survival, that day in particular was probably spectacular in terms of its awfulness. At around 9:00 pm, a 1,000 km rupture along the Cascadia subduction zone offshore of Washington, Oregon, and California produced a Magnitude 9 megathrust earthquake. The quake generated a tsunami that reached the coast of Japan about 4,700 miles away. Scientists like Brian Atwater with the U.S. Geological Survey have spent much of their careers pulling tidbits of information out of stumps that were submerged during that event.

American Museum of Natural History—Reading the Geologic Record: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz9ioAIaJVA&feature=youtu.be

It’s completely safe to assume that this will happen again in our lifetimes. Are we prepared for this? I’m not, although I…

View original 115 more words

CenturyLink sensors can predict next big play, if not next big shake

January 17, 2015
earthquake faults near CenturlyLink Field

The two horizontal blue dotted lines show earthquake faults near CenturyLink Field (Qwest Field on this older map). Image: DNR

Want to be the first to know how the Seattle Seahawks are faring in their NFC conference championship game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday? The ground below can let you know.

Seismologists with the University of Washington will again be monitoring seismic activity beneath CenturyLink Field in Seattle to see if the noise and shaking in the world’s (okay, second) loudest stadium can set off an actual earthquake.

An actual fan-caused quake is not likely, but the seismometers placed under and around the “Clink” do return readings to the UW crew three seconds after fans in the stadium react – a head start over the 10-second delay of network broadcasts.

Fan reaction to strong safety Kam Chancellor’s interception return touchdown in last weekend’s playoff win over the Carolina Panthers was surpassed in seismic activity only by Marshawn Lynch’s “Beast-Quake” run in the 2011 playoffs.

But it still wasn’t enough to set off an actual earthquake, which is good news given the number of faults that lie beneath the stadium.

Sitting off the continental margin where the North American and the Juan de Fuca tectonic plates form as the Cascadia subduction zone, Washington state is home to numerous earthquake fault zones.

The Seattle fault runs directly beneath the city, and the Southern Whidbey Island and Tacoma faults are nearby.

DNR geologists map fault zones around Washington so those hazards can be identified, if not predicted.

Small earthquakes, like those infamous Hawk-quakes, often stand as precursors to earthquakes, as do water levels in wells, radon and helium in ground water, changes in natural electromagnetic radiation, and animal behavior.

And, as much as scientists have studied these precursors for potential use in predicting earthquakes, they have never turned out to be consistent predictors. That makes it even more important that DNR geologists study fault lines and other geologic formations for emergency planning.

You can keep an eye on the ground under CenturyLink with the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. Their seismic sensors may not be able to predict earthquakes just yet, but they can help you predict the ‘hawks next big play.

View maps of known earthquake faults and other known hazards in Washington State and their potential impacts (such as a 7.2 magnitude earthquake on the Seattle Fault) using the maps on the Washington State Interactive Geologic Portal.

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter

Ocosta School District to break ground on groundbreaking tsunami structure

January 14, 2015

School_designThe Ocosta School District kicks off construction of a new elementary school that will double as the nation’s first tsunami refuge with a groundbreaking ceremony in Westport Thursday.

Thanks to a voter-approved construction bond measure, the coastal school district will build its new school with a 30-foot tall gymnasium that will be able to withstand both a megathrust earthquake from the Cascadia Subduction Zone just off shore and the pounding of tsunami waves.

A groundbreaking ceremony will start at 1 p.m. at the Ocosta Elementary School, 2580 S. Montesano St., Westport. A reception will follow in the community gym.

When built, more than 1,000 people will be able to gather atop the gymnasium for refuge from tsunami waves. (more…)

A look back: Official DNR Recreation stats from 2014

January 11, 2015

Were you one of almost 11 million people who visited DNR-managed recreation land in 2014? This past year DNR recreation was hard at work creating new recreation opportunities for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.

Now’s the time to look back at some of DNR’s biggest recreation accomplishments in 2014. We’ve got the official stats just for you.

Off-the-Grid Trail in Tiger Mountain State Forest.

Mountain biker enjoying the new Off-the-Grid Trail in Tiger Mountain State Forest. Photo: Robin Fay.

With a new 4.7-mile trail to the top of Mailbox Peak in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area and a new 3-mile mountain bike trail in the Tiger Mountain State Forest, some of DNR’s most popular recreation opportunities got a big facelift this year. In total, DNR installed 5 miles of new ORV trails and nearly 9 miles of non-motorized trails throughout the state!

YacoltBurnSF

View of Mount Hood from the beautiful Yacolt Burn State Forest. Photo by DNR.

In the Yacolt Burn State Forest DNR completed 2.3 miles of new motorized trails, which include 1.5 miles of 4×4, ATV and single trails and .8 miles of ATV/single track trail. DNR staff continues to work on motorized trails there.

Oyster Dome view

View from Oyster Dome on Blanchard Mountain

 

 

Helping to preserve DNR’s pristine camping opportunities, DNR staff rerouted 1,000 feet of Blanchard Forest trail, which provides access to an enhanced backcountry campsite, Lizard Lake.

Willoughby Creek and Upper Clearwater campgrounds in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, as well as the Ahtanum Meadows campground in Ahtanum State Forest near Yakima, also received improvements.

In the Elbe Hills Nicholson Horse Trail system, popular among horseback riders, DNR completed 1 mile of re-routed trail.

volunteers building trails

Volunteers help keep DNR-managed recreation sites clean, safe, and healthy. Photo: DNR.

All of DNR’s biggest recreation accomplishment couldn’t be made possible without the dedicated support of our partner organizations and volunteers. In fact, in the 2013 – 2014 fiscal year volunteers donated about 65,000 hours to help maintain recreation opportunities they enjoy.

If you’re interested in being a part of your favorite recreation areas on DNR-managed land, visit DNR’s volunteer calendar today.

As you continue to have safe and fun adventures on DNR-managed recreation lands, we encourage you to stay connected by signing up for our Recreation e-newsletter.

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter Join in the DNR Forum

New Year’s Resolutions for community tree advocates

January 9, 2015
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.

The dawning of a new year compels many of us to take a hard look our habits and behaviors, and then to set new goals to pursue what we believe will make us better people in the year ahead.

Resolutions are most often personal: lose weight, eat healthy, stay in better contact with friends and loved ones, or try a new hobby. These are all worthy pursuits, but how about investing energy in New Year’s resolutions that make a difference to trees in your community (and which might help you too).

Suggested resolutions for 2015:

  • Write articles, blogs, or letters that champion the importance of trees in your community, and encourage others to become active tree stewards where you live.
  • Take a child to a local park, forest or natural area and explore the environment with him or her. Unsure where to start? Search for a nearby nature center, natural area, or state, county, or city park that offers interpretive signage or guided activities.
  • Attend at least one public meeting to better understand how your community operates. It’s a good way to learn what others believe are issues of local importance, and it can help you strategize how trees might be included in community projects and activities.
  • Arrange a friendly chat, perhaps over coffee or lunch, with a local developer, business owner, HOA president, or other stakeholder in community forestry. Learn which issues, struggles, opinions, or feelings about trees are important to them. Ask how you can help them to incorporate trees successfully in their work in 2015 and beyond.
  • Donate to, become a member of, or volunteer for an organization that supports healthy community trees and forests. To get you started in Washington State, consider organizations such as:
    • Conservation Districts (statewide), Friends of Trees (Vancouver), Earthcorps (Seattle), Forterra’s Green Cities Partnerships (Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Kirkland, Redmond, Kent, and Puyallup), The Lands Council (Spokane), the Mid-Columbia Forestry Council (Tri-Cities), the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust (I-90 corridor), Plant Amnesty (Seattle), Washington State Extension Master Gardeners (statewide), or the Yakima Area Arboretum (Yakima).

Or simply…

  • Plant a new tree every month! Or, twelve trees sometime during 2015. By volunteering at community planting events, you’ll not only meet, but likely exceed that goal.

Together, let’s resolve to make 2015 a banner year for community trees.

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter Join in the DNR Forum

Petroglyph preserved thanks to fisherman’s keen eye

December 11, 2014
Fisherman Erik Wasankari of Gig Harbor, left, tells Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark about finding a centuries-old petroglyph while fishing along the Calawah River outside Forks. DNR Photo

Fisherman Erik Wasankari of Gig Harbor, left, tells Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark about finding a centuries-old petroglyph while fishing along the Calawah River outside Forks. DNR Photo

Father-and-son anglers Erik and Reid Wasankari had just sat down to have lunch while fishing on the Calawah River last December, when they noticed a large rock with unusual grooves and shapes.

“I knew it was something special. I knew it had to belong to the tribe,” Erik Wasankari said after a ceremony held by the tribe to recover the petroglyph Wednesday on the banks of the Calawah River.

What they saw, as has since been reported, was what officials with the Quileute Tribe believe to be the most important relic linking present-day members to an age-old legend of a battle between K’wati, a transformative figure in Quileute mythology, and a monstrous Red Lizard.

After spotting the petroglyph, Wasnankari took pictures and contacted the Quileute Tribe who called Washington Department of Natural Resources archaeologists to inspect and authenticate the petroglyph.

Also at Wednesday’s ceremony was Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark who hailed Wasankari for having that instinct.

“A lot of people, if they found a rock like that, might not have had that thought. This could have ended up in somebody’s front yard,” Commissioner Goldmark said.

Cultural resources – artifacts, remains of settlements, etc. – are an important part of the history and heritage of our state and tribal territories. Identifying and preserving them are important part of what DNR does for our shared lands.

If you believe you have discovered a cultural resource, avoid disturbing it and contact Forest Practices staff in the DNR region office where you saw the cultural resource.

To learn about the types of “cultural resources” found in the forest, this video presentation provides a useful overview. The presentation was made available by the Timber/Fish/Wildlife Cultural Resources Roundtable.

DNR’s Tribal Relations Manager coordinates these efforts for the agency.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 246 other followers