Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Fast walking can help you survive a tsunami; DNR has maps to show you where to walk

April 15, 2015
Tsunami inundation areas of Washington State. Source: DNR

Tsunami inundation areas of Washington State. Source: DNR

As reported by the Seattle Times Tuesday, a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzed the risk people living on the Northwest coast face from tsunamis and found some 80 percent of us could escape the waves; more if we walk faster.

If and when the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 600-mile-long fault that runs from northern California to Vancouver Island, lets loose another megathrust earthquake, a tsunami surge is expected to slam the coast with 15 to 30 minutes.

The study, led by geographer Nathan Wood of the U.S. Geological Survey, found Aberdeen and Hoquiam had the highest concentration of people at risk from a Cascadia tsunami, with 20,000 people living in the area.

Good news, though, as the study also found 90 percent of those people would have enough time to find higher ground walking at an average rate. Sped up, even more would find refuge on the area’s high ground.

DNR has mapped the way

DNR’s Geology and Earth Resources Division, the state’s official geologic survey, is helping Washington communities identify how they are vulnerable to tsunamis to create innovative strategies for dealing with that threat.

We’ve mapped model tsunamis to show where waves would likely strike after a Cascadia quake, identified evacuation routes, and helped communities without the high ground that could provide refuge to Aberdeen residents, create higher ground of their own.

Find your best routes

Want to find the best evacuation routes for your community? Our Geologic Information Portal has a tsunami layer that shows tsunami hazard zones, evacuation routes, and assembly areas. Use the address locator tool to find evacuation routes and assembly areas near your home, school or workplace.

Using our interactive maps, you can create, save, and print custom maps, find more information about map features, and download map data for use in a geographic information system (GIS). In addition to a variety of geoscience layers that can be turned on and off, each interactive map has many base layers to choose from, so you can customize your map in any number of ways.

Here’s a 2-page fact sheet to help you get the most out of the Washington State Geologic Information Portal.

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Walk away those Monday blues

March 30, 2015
Klickitat Canyon RMCA

A view of the Klickitat river as seen from Klickitat Canyon Natural Resource Conservation Area in Yakima County. Photo: DNR

Are you feeling that 3 p.m. energy crash? Reenergize by viewing some flowers and breathing fresh air. Along with a sunny Monday, today is National Take a Walk in the Park Day. It’s the perfect chance to stretch those leg muscles, grab a buddy, and visit your favorite park.

Walking isn’t just good for the body. In fact, many people believe it provides therapeutic benefits. Leisurely walks outside offer low-impact exercise and give tired eyes a reprieve from florescent lights and back-lit screens, relieving the body and mind of tension. Even if it’s just for ten minutes, walking outside on a trail or near a stream can leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to face the rest of your day. DNR natural areas include some beautiful trails and walking grounds that are open to the public.

Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve 

Located in western Washington, the mysterious Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve (NAP) has roughly 637 acres of grassland and a diverse trail system including a paved, ADA-accessible loop and gravel paths branching out from paved loop. Visitors can schedule a group tour or explore the mounds on their own. A trip to the site’s interpretive center gives guests access to full color signs with information on geology, ecology, fire, and Native American use of the prairie.

Camas Mima Mounds

Blue camas growing at Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve. Photo: DNR

Visitors can also learn about different hypotheses regarding the formation of the mounds.

Protected features:

  • Roemer’s fescue
  • Mima Mounds topography
  • Garry oak woodland and savannah
  • Prairie dependent butterflies and birds
  • Douglas-fir forest

Klickitat Canyon Natural Resources Conservation Area 

For those interested in a more riparian atmosphere, consider heading to the Klickitat Canyon Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA), located near Yakima and Klickitat counties. This 1,516 acre conservation area, made up of a coniferous forest mixed with ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir, provides stunning views of the free-flowing Klickitat River. Take a walk along the river canyon or picnic on the shore while enjoying the view of Mount Adams rising in the distance.

Visitors can see a number of plant and animal species, including seven rare plant species and the endangered greater sandhill crane. The conservation area also houses black bears, bobcats, deer, and many species of bird including, occasionally, bald eagles.

For more information on these and other natural areas on DNR-managed land, visit our website. And remember, when visiting any site on state lands, it is important to bring your Discover Pass.

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DNR crews remove derelict, decimated barge from Eld Inlet

March 24, 2015

Crews working for DNR’s Aquatic Restoration program pulled the remains of an old barge from the muddy shoreline of Eld Inlet last week.

The barge, of unknown origin, washed ashore some 17 years ago and deteriorated to the point it was barely recognizable as a vessel. Weather and tide took its toll on the barge, spreading chunks of metal, treated wood and plastic across a 7,500-square-foot area of the inlet.

Under a contract with DNR, Puyallup-based Woodland Industries removed the barge last week. Woodland workers used excavators mounted on a barge to pick pieces of the old barge out of the Eld Inlet tidelands. The approximately $70,000 removal project was funded from a large debris removal fund created by the 2012 Jobs Now Act.

Removal of the barge’s remnants was aimed at restoring the shoreline as habitat. Forage fish have been found living north of the barge site and are expected to eventually use the former debris field for habitat.

Nearshore environments, which are the land between beach bluffs and deep water, are crucial for many species and vegetation. DNR has volumes of research on the complex ecosystem of nearshore environments.

DNR – guardian of Washington’s aquatic lands

DNR is steward of 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands—including the bedlands under Puget Sound and manages them as a public trust for the people of Washington State.

Through its Aquatic Restoration program, DNR is working to restore, enhance and protect healthy ecological conditions in freshwater, saltwater and estuarine aquatic systems throughout Washington.

If you know of a site with restoration potential, please contact us. DNR Aquatics has three districts across the state. Each has an Aquatics Restoration Manager designated to the Program who can assist you.

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Take your new “quad” map out for a hike

March 15, 2015
View of Mount Baker from the Lyman Radio Site on DNR-managed trust land northeast of Sedro-Woolley. Photo: Tom Mahon/DNR.

View of Mount Baker from the Lyman Radio Site on DNR-managed trust land northeast of Sedro-Woolley. Photo: Tom Mahon/DNR.

Interested in outdoor recreation? Want to find new places to go (or just figure out where you’ve been)? DNR Public Lands Quadrangle maps are a great asset to anyone who wants to explore Washington state’s great outdoors.

“Quad” maps are full-color printed maps that show important details (including boundaries) about parcels of public land down to 10 acres in size. The maps also show highways, roads, trails, water features, recreation sites, and other key features. Each of these 1:100,000 scale maps covers an area of about 1,600 square miles, with one inch being the equivalent of approximately 1.6 miles.

In addition to recreation enthusiasts, the series of 50 maps published by DNR are popular with hunters, backcountry hikers, and emergency responders. DNR Public Lands Quadrangle Maps are a great to locate lands managed by DNR, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), State Parks and Recreation Commission, and other public agencies.

The three most recently updated maps illustrate the areas around Chewelah, Mount Baker, and Mount Adams.

Maps can be purchased online or in person from the Washington State Department of Printing between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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Lessons remain vital four years after deadly Japan earthquake, tsunami

March 11, 2015

On March 11 four years ago, the earth reminded us of its destructive and unstoppable power when a magnitude 9 earthquake in northern Japan touched off a tsunami and caused tens of thousands of deaths and devastated much of the nation’s infrastructure.

Waves from the tsunami reached the coast of Washington and other western states, where they damaged California coastal communities and washed some of the estimated 1.5 million tons of tsunami debris onto our shores.

Not only is the anniversary a time to remember those lost in Japan, but it should also serve as a reminder that Washington needs to be prepared for a similar geologic hazard threat.

An earthquake fault with similar potential lies just off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Geologists say it is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ the Cascadia fault off our coast unleashes another mega quake. To get a picture of what we may need to do in the recovery, DNR and other members of the Washington State Seismic Safety Committee produced the ‘Resilient Washington State’ report.

DNR’s Geology and Earth Resources Division, the state’s official geologic survey, is helping Washington communities identify how they are vulnerable to similar tsunami events and how they can craft innovative strategies for dealing with those threats.


Following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the Tsunami Warning and Education Act of 2006 was put in place. The act allowed NOAA to formalize and expand the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, a partnership with Pacific states to protect the West Coast from tsunamis.

Hazards geologists with the Department of Natural Resources Division of Geology and Earth Resources, the National Center for Tsunami Research at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, and scientists with the University of Washington model tsunami inundation in population centers both along the Washington coast and within the Puget Sound.

To do this complex math, the geologists use software (Clawpack), developed by the Applied Mathematics Department of UW or the MOST model, developed by NOAA.

A recently published inundation map for the city of Everett models how a tsunami would likely impact the Everett area.

The Geology Division is now focusing similar efforts on the San Juan Islands

DNR has charted evacuation routes for those in communities that might be impacted by tsunamis on our interactive geologic map. The Division also documents tsunami-related news in our bi-monthly newsletter, TsuInfo.

To see how a tsunami may impact you and your community, take our tsunami awareness quiz.

For more on tsunamis, visit DNR’s Geology Division web page.

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Need wildland fire equipment? Applications open today to small fire districts and departments

March 10, 2015

Charley Burns, a Wildfire Unit Forester for DNR, demonstrates an emergency fire shelter. DNR’s grant funding helps eligible rural fire districts buy new fire and safety equipment like these wildfire shelters. PHOTO DNR


The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Forest Service are offering grant funding to eligible fire districts and departments through the Volunteer Fire Assistance Phase I Grant Program that is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

DNR administers the grant program, which is open to all fire districts and fire departments serving communities of less than 10,000 residents. Fire districts and departments serving communities with more than 10,000 residents may qualify, providing their service area includes a rural area or rural community with a population of less than 10,000. The application deadline is April 24, 2015.

Eligible districts apply online using the Phase I Order Form, and submit the order per directions on the form. This grant funding helps eligible rural fire districts across Washington State buy new fire and safety equipment.

The application period opens today, March 10, 2015, and closes April 24, 2015. Interested districts can find more information on DNR’s Fire District Assistance Program webpage.

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Use that extra hour to start your wildfire defense

March 6, 2015
All you need to start defending your home from wildfire

All you need to start defending your home from wildfire

We gain an hour of evening daylight this weekend, as Daylight Savings Time comes into effect. Why not use that extra hour of unseasonable sunshine to protect your home, family and community?

How does your yard look right now? Has your grass grown? Do you notice all the green foliage around your property? All of that green undergrowth will dry out in the hot summer months, turning into fuel that can put your property at risk of wildfire.

Today, we’re starting with the simple basics. What can you do this weekend to protect your home in only one hour? Pick just one of these chores to get started.

If you only have one hour:

  • Clean up the brush: Reducing brush appears to be the most important factor for success. You want to have a zone with at least 30 feet of space immediately around your home that is free from ignition hazards presented by vegetation and combustible construction. This not only helps protect your home, but also gives firefighters a safer place to fight the fire.
  • Rake the leaves: Leaf accumulation provides fuel for wildland fires.
  • Mow the lawn: The grass around the house can tend to grow tall and unruly during the wet winter months. These grasses dry out and provide a path for the fire that can lead directly to your house.
  • Clean the gutters and the roof: Make sure you remove all dead leaves and pine needles from your gutters, roof, and from around your home. This debris left from the winter weather is highly combustible and is like a fire starter for your home.
  • Clean under the deck: Keep the surface and area beneath decks and porches free of debris and leaves.
  • Stack firewood away from the house: Many people make the mistake of keeping firewood stacked close to the house for easy access. If a spark lands in your wood pile it could ignite your house. Make sure you stack wood at least 30 feet away from structures to help protect them from wildfire.
  • Trim trees and brush back from structures: Remove all dead or overhanging branches. During the windy conditions that exist during a wildland fire, flames, sparks, and firebrands could travel from your trees to the roof of your home.
  • Limb trees up to 10 feet from the ground: Limbing your trees up will help 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.
  • Dispose of cuttings and debris properly: Dispose of your yard waste properly, and make sure you don’t leave it piled near the house in the back yard. That defeats the purpose of all the work you did.

Making the effort to reduce your home’s vulnerability to wildfire today could really pay off if a wildfire comes through your area.

For additional tips on how to reduce the risk of wildfire to your community, home and family, log on to

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Anniversary of Nisqually quake reminds us of importance of preparation

February 28, 2015
Nisqually earthquake debris in Olympia

The 2001 Nisqually Earthquake caused a building debris to fall into the street of downtown Olympia. Make sure you’re prepared for a natural disaster. Photo: Joe Dragovich/DNR.

Fourteen years ago today, an earthquake from deep under Anderson Island shook much of western Washington at 10:54 a.m.

Measuring a magnitude of 6.8, the Nisqually quake stemmed from the Benioff zone, meaning it came from deep underground (more than 32 miles underground.) The epicenter, next to the Nisqually River delta, was the same location as a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that struck April 29, 1945.

While the depth of the epicenter meant much of its force was buffered by layers of earth, the 2001 quake still injured 400 people and caused roughly $2 billion in damages.

Led to preparedness

On a brighter side, the Nisqaully quake touched off a wave of increased attention in earthquake science and emergency preparedness.

In the last 14 years, the number of seismic monitors has more than tripled across the northwest ; GPS units have been deployed for faster earthquake detection; mapping efforts have been boosted by the use of LiDAR, which has led to the detection of new faults in the Puget Sound area.


DNR worked with the Washington Emergency Managment Division and federal agencies to publish estimates of the potential losses from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on the Nisqually fault zone. The fault runs beneath Pierce and Thurston counties but 15 other counties would feel this impact, including King County, which would suffer significant damage along with Pierce and Thurston counties.

Download the report, “Modeling a Magnitude 7.2 Earthquake on the Nisqually Fault Zone near Olympia.” We hope you’ll come away with a strong resolve to be prepared for a disaster after reading the report.

Since the Federal Emergency Management ranks Washington state behind only California for risk of economic losses from earthquakes, it’s important to make those extra efforts to be prepared.

When an earthquake happens, there will not be time to Google what you are supposed to do (Drop! Cover! Hold On!). After the earthquake, the internet might not work at all.

The Washington Emergency Managment Division has a number of excellent resources available, including preparedness brochures and what to pack in a 72-hour kit. You can also work with your neighbors to draw up plans to make your community for disaster-ready.

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Washington Geological Survey celebrates 125th birthday

February 25, 2015
Geologists have been chipping away at the mountain of geologic history that has formed Washington for the past 125 years. DNR photo

Geologists have been chipping away at the mountain of geologic history that has formed Washington for the past 125 years. DNR photo

Since Feb. 25, 1890, geologists have been documenting what makes Washington. And, though it’s not even a blip on the geologic clock, Washington has found out quite a bit about its foundation in the subsequent 125 years.

Observations those geologists have gleaned from walking over rocks, crawling through mines and reading map after map after map have given us insights into the age-old forces that made our state the geologic marvel it is.

George Bethune was appointed Washington’s first geologist. His initial annual report “The Mines and Minerals of Washington” provided Governor Charles E. Laughton and the legislature an assessment of the state’s mining industry and mineral deposits. (more…)

Is it cherry season yet?

February 16, 2015

No, these little green things aren’t grapes. They are actually maturing Chelan cherries, a dark-sweet cherry variety that will eventually turn dark red once they are fully ripe.

February brings with it a certain aroma. A sweet, pink-tinged scent that glides through the streets, floating    around heads and pulling back, a tickle at the edge of our nostrils. This strange and exhilarating phenomenon is the phantom manifestation of the promise for cherries. That’s right, February is National Cherry Month! Despite Valentine’s Day stealing the weekend spotlight, pink and red foiled chocolate hearts have some competition for favored treat this season against the sweet, succulent, slowly ripening Washington cherries.

Many farmers grow and harvest cherry orchards on DNR–managed lands throughout the state. Currently, DNR has 17 leases with cherry orchards in various counties throughout Washington spanning across 1,014 acres of state trust lands. These orchards produce about 7,228 tons of harvested cherries each year.

Even though National Cherry Month is celebrated in February, cherries aren’t actually harvested on state trust land orchards until June or July. Farmers harvest two types of cherries in summer: tart or sour cherries, and sweet cherries. Washington state is one of the largest producers of sweet cherries in the nation.

Washington sweet cherry varieties
Dark-sweet cherries – These cherries are usually dark red, mahogany, or near black in color outside, and purple or deep red inside. These round or heart shaped berries are firm and slightly crunchy, releasing plenty of juice when bitten into or crushed. Dark-sweet cherries can be eaten fresh, frozen, baked in desserts, or mixed in salads. Popular varieties are: Brooks, Chelan, Garnet, Sequoia, Bing, Lapins, Skeena, Sweetheart, and Staccato cherries

Rainier cherries – The colorful kid sister of dark-sweet cherries, Rainier cherries are a vibrant yellow-orange color with hints of red blush and occasional light brown “sugar spots” on the skin. These cherries are larger than dark-sweet cherries and have a near translucent interior. Rainier cherries are best when eaten fresh or used as garnish for salads and drinks.

Royal Anne cherries – Similar to Rainier cherries, Royal Anne, or Queen Anne cherries are bright yellow and red in appearance. With a light and honeyed flavor, they can be eaten fresh much like Rainier cherries. Royal Anne cherries, however, are widely known for their use in making maraschino cherries. They are also great for canning and baking desserts.

There is no question that cherry orchards on state trust lands produce some of the most delectable cherries in the country, and these cherries generate approximately $435,845 in revenue and $96,583 in cash rents. Learn more about farming state trust lands. Sign up for DNR’s The Dirt e-newsletter here.

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