Wildfire contractors needed

January 27, 2016
The Wolverine Fire, Lake Chelan, WA, Okanogan-Wenatchee NF, 2015 Photo Kari Greer

The Wolverine Fire, Lake Chelan, WA, Okanogan-Wenatchee NF, 2015 Photo Kari Greer

Want to help fight fires and protect communities across Washington?

In advance of fire season, DNR and the U.S. Forest Service are reaching out to local communities to help people understand how to provide fire suppression resources to wildland firefighting efforts.

If you are interested in joining the qualified, trained, and available vendors who help DNR during wildfire season, check out our web page for information on how to become a ‘Call When Needed’ vendor. Needed resources can include items such as water tenders and engines, heavy equipment and operators, chippers, fallers, refrigerated trailers, and more.

Are you new to providing wildfire suppression equipment?

For people who want to learn how to provide resources for wildland fire suppression and what all it entails, there are a few free open houses happening in Eastern Washington. The first one starts tonight in Colville; the others are in Wenatchee on Feb. 1 and Pateros on Feb. 23.

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Cascadia last quaked 316 years ago; how do you prepare for the next one?

January 26, 2016

It was a dark and stormy night when the earth last served Northwesterners a catastrophic reminder that it is always in motion.

The Cascadia subduction zone 316 years ago tonight produced a Magnitude 9 megathrust earthquake that ripped a 1,000 km tear just off the North American coast, shaking and flooding land from British Columbia to California.

Oral traditions from the Quileute and Hoh tribes described the night the Thunderbird and Whale fought, shaking mountains, uprooting trees and covering the land with ocean water.

Geologists say the event was the result of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate pushing under the larger North American plate. The violent subduction resulted in the quake that dropped the coast as much as 6 feet and produced a tsunami that reached almost 1,000 feet inland.

But it was the Cascadia quake’s impacts some 4,700 miles across the Pacific Ocean that allowed scientists to properly date and time the geologic event to around 9 p.m. Jan. 26, 1700. Read the rest of this entry »

Can you help us to plan recreation from Baker to Bellingham?

January 25, 2016
Our first Baker to Bellingham Recreation Plan open house in Bellingham. Photo/ DNR.

Our first Baker to Bellingham Recreation Plan open house in Bellingham. Photo/ DNR.

Do you enjoy working with a team of others with a passion for enjoying Washington’s great outdoors? Do you have ideas for recreation on state lands in Whatcom County? Can you attend 12 to 14 meetings in the Whatcom County area during the next two years?

You may be what we’re looking for in our volunteer-based recreation planning committee for our future Baker to Bellingham Recreation Plan.

Committee members will be creating draft recreation management recommendations and providing information and insight to DNR staff as they develop a plan to guide area recreation on DNR-managed lands for the next 10 to 15 years. For more information, view our committee charter. To apply, complete our PDF or Word document form. We’re accepting applications through Jan. 29.

Recreationists share their vision for recreation on DNR-managed lands in Whatcom County. Photo/ DNR.

Future recreationists share their vision for outdoor opportunities during one of two recent open houses. Photo/ DNR.

We kicked off our Baker to Bellingham Recreation Plan process last week with our first open houses. Thank you to more than 300 people in Bellingham and nearly 150 in Lynden who came out to share their thoughts.

DNR staff were available to speak one-on-one at five different stations, which included accessing the forests, recreating in the forest, partnerships and opportunities, other topics for consideration, and our recreation planning committee.

For more information about our Baker to Bellingham Recreation Plan, visit our website or email us. Look for recaps of our open house presentations and comment summaries soon. To hear more about the planning process and stay informed as additional input opportunities progress, subscribe to our Baker to Bellingham E-news.

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Small and family-owned forests in the spotlight

January 23, 2016

At the Washington State Capitol Thursday (Jan. 21), Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark helped kick off a celebration marking the 75 years since the first certified tree farm (managed forest) was established near Montesano in Grays Harbor County. In the 75 years since, numerous small, family owned forest lands in Washington state and elsewhere have been recognized by the American Tree Farm System.

“I congratulate the small forest landowners who own almost half of the private working forestlands in Washington,” Goldmark said. “You are an integral part of our state’s great timber heritage.”

The event, which also included the reading of a congratulatory proclamation from Gov. Jay Inslee and remarks by Sen. Kirk Pearson, 39th Legislative District, and Rep. Brian Blake, 19th Legislative District, was hosted by the Washington Tree Farm Program, the Washington Farm Forestry Association, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

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2015 Spokane Windstorm: aftermath and next steps

January 21, 2016
A downed ponderosa pine in Spokane results in power outage and street closure. Photo by Jim Flott

A downed ponderosa pine in Spokane results in power outage and street closure. Photo by Jim Flott

The windstorm that impacted Spokane and the surrounding region on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, will go down in the record books. Winds gusted up to 71 miles per hour in Spokane according to AccuWeather.com. The Greater Spokane Department of Emergency Management issued a “Shelter in Place” bulletin around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Two people in Spokane were killed in separate incidents involving trees being thrown in the wind.  Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency the next day.

The wind was responsible for about 70 percent of Avista (the largest regional electrical utility) customers losing power at some point during the storm. Avista officials said this was the largest outage in company history surpassing the ice storm of 1996. Parts of Spokane looked like a war zone with trees lying in the roads and on buildings. The damage was severe enough to keep some schools and businesses closed until after Thanksgiving.

Angel Spell, Spokane Urban Forester, reported to the Spokane Tree Committee that an estimated 1,900 trees managed by the City were lost, 500 of those were in parks, the rest were on rights-of-way and other city owned property. The appraised value for these trees was approximately $22 million.

At a time like this, a tree professional’s thoughts first go to removing any risk associated with trees as a result of the windstorm and cleaning up the mess. Then, a true professional will try to convince people that healthy, structurally sound trees should not be removed as a knee jerk reaction to the storm.

Jim Flott, local consulting arborist said “Wind speed was the only quantifiable variable.” He observed that soil failures were responsible for a majority of downed trees. He is encouraging people not to overreact and to have their trees assessed by a qualified ISA Arborist with tree risk assessment experience. Flott also promotes a positive message about trees going forward, referring to the fact that only a very small fraction of the tree population failed and that vast majority of the tree population withstood the test of the storm.

A Wind Storm Workshop is planned for March 11 at the Spokane Conservation District.  Representatives from Avista, the City of Spokane, commercial arborists, Washington DNR, and consulting arborists will summarize impacts from the storm and discuss best practices moving forward.  You can register for the event at www.spokaneconservation.org.

For additional information about this storm, be sure to check out this article published by the Spokesman-Review on December 25, 2015.

This article written and submitted by Garth Davis, Forestry Program Manager, Spokane Conservation District.

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Funding opportunity for restoring forest landscapes; deadline February 29

January 19, 2016
Keep urban forests in your community healthy

Keep urban forests in your community healthy. Photo: Guy Kramer

DNR is looking for projects that will help protect and restore forests across the diverse landscapes of Washington.

Working together with the U.S. Forest Service, DNR is seeking forestland restoration grant proposals for a program called Landscape Scale Restoration Competitive Grant Process (LSR). Forestland restoration projects can include rural, wildland, and urban areas.

LSR projects cross boundaries to affect any combination of federal, state, tribal, county, municipal, or private lands. For example, a riparian habitat restoration project might affect the entire length of a waterway that passes through lands which are owned and managed by different agencies, organizations, or individuals.

Eastern Washington forest

An overstocked forest in eastern Washington. Photo: DNR

Because of the funding competition, DNR wants to submit the best and most important projects that benefit the bigger goal of healthy forests.

We ask that potential partners submit letters of interest to DNR and collaborate with us to develop Landscape Scale Restoration Competitive Grant proposals that meet the national priorities.

Here is the Request for Proposal for LSR projects.

Letters of interest are due by February 29 at 4:30 p.m. (PST) and need to be submitted to:

Jonathan Guzzo
WA State Dept. of Natural Resources
1111 Washington Street SE
MS 47037
Olympia, WA  98504-7037

Funding for these projects comes from the U.S. Forest Service State and Private Forestry branch to address forest conservation, protection, and enhancement needs in priority areas identified within Washington’s Forest Action Plan.

The benefits of our forests are vast. Not only are they home to countless wildlife species, they keep our drinking water clean, control flooding, purify our air, and enhance community livability.

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Finding faults — and the potential dangers they pose

January 18, 2016
This scenario of a magnitude 7.2 quake on the Seattle Fault shows the schools that might suffer damage for use in community planning.

This scenario of a magnitude 7.2 quake on the Seattle Fault shows the schools that might suffer damage for use in community planning.

Living in Washington means living with the danger of geologic hazards. The best way to handle that is to know what your work, house and neighborhood face.

As seen in the hubbub around last summer’s New Yorker article about the dangers of a Cascadia quake and in this month’s Kitsap Sun piece about the Seattle Fault, communities around Washington are thinking more and more about how to best be prepared to respond when earthquakes hit.

That’s where DNR comes in.

Read the rest of this entry »

Those 12th-Man flags are everywhere

January 17, 2016
Toutle Ridge-Weyehaeuser 12th man

The distinctive 12th-Man flag favored by Seattle Seahawk fandom flutters throughout the Pacific Northwest, even atop this cable yarding logging system on Toutle Ridge in southwest Washington. Photo: Danielle Munzing/DNR.

Remember Martin Luther King Jr. by giving back at McLane Creek

January 16, 2016
McLane Creek

McLane Creek is a popular day-use site in the Capitol State Forest. Photo/ DNR.

On Monday, Jan. 18 the Native Plant Salvage Foundation will be joining with DNR in an effort to dig out invasive species at our 1.5-mile McLane Creek Nature Trail in Capitol State Forest. Based in Olympia, the Native Plant Salvage Foundation works to promote the use, preservation, knowledge, and appreciation of native plants through hands-on education. That’s why they’re willing to spend this holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and giving back to support DNR-managed lands.

Join DNR and the Native Plant Salvage Foundation from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 18. Please contact Native Plant Salvage Foundation by email or by phone at (360) 867-2167 to register for the event.

Directions
Start 4 miles west of Olympia at Mud Bay exit of US-Hwy 101. Go south on Delphi Road for 3.3 miles. Turn right for .4 miles to site. Map it.

January is stocked full of volunteer events, and there’s still time to get involved. Visit our calendar to find an event near you. For more information about volunteering with DNR, visit our website.

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Hazard or habitat?

January 13, 2016
Over time, this snag creates habitat for many animals as long as it's not a danger to public safety. Photo WA State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Over time, this snag creates habitat for many animals as long as it’s not a danger to public safety. Photo WA State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

If your tree has yellowing foliage, canopy dieback, broken or cracked branches, decay cavities, mushrooms growing on it or other defects, then you may be concerned about the health and safety of the tree.

Unless of course you’re a small woodland mammal. Or a songbird. Or an insect. Or a mushroom!

Trees that might appear risky to a human may be a cozy condo, a lunch buffet or a Home Depot of nest-building materials for countless other species. Some people have even compared ancient trees and forests to coral reefs based on the abundance and diversity of life that each supports.

Even city trees contribute to wildlife habitat, however, our obligations to protect public safety demand that we pay close attention to trees and tree defects that may be problematic. Although, a little birdie recently told us that new ideas in professional tree risk assessment and tree preservation may spare a few sparrows and other critters from needlessly losing their homes.

Attitudes, practices and technologies are evolving and some professionals are treating older trees and other trees with defects differently than they once did. Less-than-perfect trees still hold high value for wildlife habitat and other ecosystem services, so progressive tree managers are seeking opportunities to preserve such trees in cases when doing so will not jeopardize public safety.

This budding trend may lead to better management of mature tree canopy and increased wildlife habitat in urban areas, but time will tell.

Terms like “conservation arboriculture” and “ecological arboriculture” are gaining prominence in the tree industry. Today, these terms describe new ideas, but tomorrow they may be the norm for how we manage trees in the thriving urban ecosystems that we all—including wildlife—call home.

Here are a few resources to learn more about this shift in how we view our elder trees:

This article was first published in the January 2015 Tree Link Newsletter.

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