Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

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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.

‘Red Lizard’s Lair’ recovered by Quileute Tribe; authenticated by DNR

December 10, 2014

DNR archaeologist Maurice Major inspects the Calawah rock in October. DNR Photo.

A red cranky lizard once guarded the shortest path between the Sol Duc and Calawah rivers until K’Wati, the legendary figure who transformed the Quileute Tribe of Indians from wolves, vanquished the lizard and allowed safe passage on the path.

Quileute officials Wednesday recovered a newly-discovered petroglyph, hand-carved prior to contact with Europeans, that depicts that battle.

Elders and tribal leaders say the rock is the only known petroglyph depicting a Quileute legend on the tribe’s traditional territory.

“This is one of the most important finds in the history of our tribe,” Quileute Council Chairman Chaz Woodruff said.

Nearly all of the tribe’s art from pre-contact days was lost in an 1889 fire that destroyed its village at La Push. To prevent this important relic from being stolen or vandalized, the tribe relocated it to the Quileute reservation.

Last December, a fisherman who had grown up in the area noticed the rock while fishing for winter steelhead in the state-owned shorelands along the Calawah River. Calawah (pronounced Ka’ law wah) means “middle river” in Quileute.

He took pictures and contacted the Quileute Tribe who called Washington Department of Natural Resources archaeologists to inspect the petroglyph.

(more…)

Is a natural tree or an artificial tree more eco-friendly?

December 9, 2014
Christmas tree farm

WSU Extension agent Jim Freed (left) and a Christmas tree grower examine a noble fir. Photo: WSU Extension .

Every holiday season, there are debates about which is the more environmentally conscious choice: a real Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree. Let’s attempt to dispel some common myths about real trees.

Myth 1: Real trees are cut down from forests. Yes, the US Forest Service issues a small number of permits to cut wild trees but most of the Christmas and other types of holiday trees you purchase are grown on farms just like any other agricultural crop.

Myth 2: You save forests by using a fake tree. Because real Christmas trees are usually grown as a crop – they even call them ‘Christmas tree farms’ – you are buying a harvested product grown for this purpose.

Myth 3: Real trees aggravate allergies. Pine tree allergy is relatively uncommon, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Myth 4: Fake trees are better because you can re-use them. At some point, a fake tree wears out and ends up in a landfill where it is not biodegradable.

    (more…)

Geology map app adds more of what’s under your feet

December 5, 2014
The composition of the Miocene-era rock under Spokane's Riverfront Park is one of the detailed reports you can get with a mouse click thanks to new updates to the Washington Geologic Information Portal. Photo/DNR

The composition of the Miocene-era rock under Spokane’s Riverfront Park is one of the detailed reports you can get with a mouse click thanks to new updates to the Washington Geologic Information Portal. Photo/DNR

Sure, the skating rink, garbage-eating goat and big red wagon are obvious attractions. But what’s under Spokane’s Riverfront Park?

Thanks to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Division of Geology and Earth Sciences, you can take an online look at the Miocene lava deposits under Charles I. D. Looff’s 105-year-old carousel in the park.

The Washington Geologic Information Portal now contains thousands of new reports that can be easily viewed on an interactive map. What’s in the ground and what’s under it can all be viewed in greater detail than ever before.

Data from published literature have been compiled over the past several years to provide the public an easy way to learn about the geology around them.

New additions include:

  • Geologic mapping at 1:24,000 scale
  • Compiled reports on the chemical composition of rocks
  • Over 5,000 radiometric age estimates of rocks and deposits
  • Location, water chemistry, temperature, and imagery of thermal and mineral springs
  • Improved and expanded subsurface database with the locations, lithologic information, and reports for thousands of geotechnical boreholes
  • Revised and expanded geothermal information including resource potential and favorability, geothermal well data, and locations of open- and closed-loop geothermal systems.

For more information about the Geologic Information Portal, go to: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/ger_fs2_portal.pdf

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DNR, landowners: Easing traffic jams for Washington fish

November 29, 2014
Before (left) and after photos show how a culvert replacement in Thurston County opened up this Black River tributary to more fish. Photo: DNR/DFW/RCO/Project Sponsors

Before (left) and after photos show how a culvert replacement in Thurston County opened up this Black River tributary to more fish. Photo: DNR/DFW/RCO/Project Sponsors

Think that holiday traffic is bad? Imagine trying to squeeze the family sedan through a crumpled circle of metal.

That’s the struggle many trout, salmon and other species of fish face as they make their way up Washington’s streams and rivers.

Since 2003, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been working to clear aging structures that impede fish passage on private land with the Family Forest Fish Passage Program. Since its inception, the program, also known as FFFPP, has helped some 200 landowners replace more than 244 barriers that have opened up more than 524 miles of habitat to fish.

Blocked passages are replaced by bridges and bottomless culverts that provide fish an expressway through streams under roads on their way in and out of spawning grounds.

Because removing those blocked passages and building new, wider structures can be expensive, DNR is able to help small forest landowners foot the bill. A legislative appropriation for the FFFPP pays nearly all the costs of the replacement.

Watch our video about the Family Forest Fish Passage Program and learn how just applying to the program can help small forest landowners deal with regulatory burdens around the culvert removal requirements.
The program is administered by DNR’s Small Forest Landowner Office.

If you have a culvert on your property that may be impeding fish passage, you can apply online for funding help. By signing up for Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP) a landowner can have their culvert or other in-stream structure evaluated for eligibility.

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GIS Day: Experts meeting today at State Capitol to show off high-tech mapping

November 19, 2014
GIS layers

Geospatial information systems (GIS) technologies compile multiple layers of information about a specific area on a map. GIS can be used to map crime, show land use, track wildfires, and more. Image: NOAA

Today (November 19) is GIS Day, an opportunity to salute the many dedicated technicians who use geographic information systems (GIS) technology to help us see the world around us in new ways.

Dozens of GIS users and experts from DNR, Ecology, Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington Military Department, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. and several other agencies are gathered today in the John L. O’Brien Building on the Sate Capitol Campus to share their uses of GIS in the public’s interest. DNR, for example, uses GIS to reveal geologic formations and hazards as well as map forest roads, streams, trails and other features. The technology also can be used to track the spread of invasive species, map marine vegetation, or plan land uses.

To see a real-world application of GIS data, visit DNR’s Washington Geological Information Portal where you can toggle multi-layered maps to find locations of major earthquake faults, lahar and tsunami evacuation zones, underground geologic formations, and more.

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State trust lands: 125 years of building public schools for you

November 18, 2014
Ellensburg High School

Opened in 2005, the new Ellensburg High School was built partly with funds produced from state trust lands.

Last Tuesday, November 11, was the 125th anniversary of Washington statehood. Part of the legacy of gaining recognition as a state in 1889 is the three million acres of trust lands that the federal government transferred to Washington state. It’s a gift that continues to give back to Washington residents every day.

Providing gifts of land to support institutions dates to the Middle Ages in Europe. In the United States, as far back as 1785, Section 16 of each township was reserved as a “school section” to provide funding and a central location for schools, so no child would have to travel too far to school. (In the U.S. Public Land Survey System, survey townships are one-mile square; 36 sections equal one township.)

As new states joined the union, Congress provided land grants to each. The federal Enabling Act of 1889 granted Washington state lands in Section 16 and 36 of most townships. (more…)

The future of biomass revealed?

October 24, 2014
Commissioner Peter Goldmark sees demo of woody debris conversion into usable energy.

Commissioner Peter Goldmark sees demo of woody debris conversion into usable energy.

This week, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark stopped by the Willis chip plant in Cle Elum to see a demonstration of how wood chips, bark, and twigs are converted into usable energy. Goldmark joined a group of landowners, foresters, and WSU students to view a demonstration of what is called ‘mobile pyrolysis.’ This emerging technology offers important potential to generate energy from woody debris often left on the forest floor.

Basically, pyrolysis is a thermochemical process where organic material, such as wood, is heated in the absence of oxygen, causing the material to thermally decompose into combustible gases and charcoal products, such as bio-oil, bio-char, and syngas. Bio-oil can be used for heating or can be upgraded to transportation fuel. Bio-char can be used to make charcoal briquettes and increase the water- and nutrient-holding capacity of soil. Syngas can be used to produce thermal energy or electricity.

Several large research projects are underway in the United States and overseas to create biofuels from woody biomass and, in the process, generate clean energy from materials that would otherwise be discarded. The goal is to help keep both forests and the forest industry around here more resilient while contributing to local economies.

Mobile pyrolysis unit demonstrates the transformation of woody debris into gas, char and oil. Photo Janet Pearce/DNR

Mobile pyrolysis unit demonstrates the transformation of woody debris into gas, char and oil. Photo Janet Pearce/DNR

In 2013, approximately 23 percent of all renewable energy consumed was from wood – more than wind and solar combined – and second only to hydroelectric energy, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The U.S. Forest Service works with partners to support the development of wood energy projects that promote sound forest management, expand regional economies and create new rural jobs. The Washington Department of Natural Resources recently obtained a grant from the Forest Service to support the development of small to mid-scale wood energy systems in Washington state. The Cle Elum demonstration was one of 40 events in 24 states and Canada held by the U.S. Forest Service, state agencies, timber companies, and the biomass industry to raise awareness about bioenergy.

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Storms are here. How to protect your trees

October 22, 2014
Wind with drenching rains can damage or topple some trees. Photo: DNR

Wind with drenching rains can damage or topple some trees. Photo: DNR

The storm that moved into western Washington last night is bringing plenty of moisture and wind. The combination of soggy ground and strong winds can spell bad news for some trees–weak branches can snap, dead limbs may fall and, in extreme cases, shallow-rooted trees can topple, but let’s not panic. The good news is that most trees are well-adapted to the conditions and will weather this storm.

Proper pruning–we recommend arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)–in advance of storms increases the resilience of your trees but what can you do after the storm?  Check out our tree tips   (more…)


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