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.

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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.

Derelict vessels booted from state waterways

January 29, 2015
It wasn't a pretty site when the Murph, a 70-year-old derelict tug boat posing a navigation hazard in Quartermaster Harbor, was pulled to the surface last year. It took two days to retrieve the 100-foot-long vessel. Photo: DNR.

It wasn’t a pretty site when the Murph, a 70-year-old derelict tug boat posing a navigation hazard in Quartermaster Harbor, was pulled to the surface last year. It took two days to retrieve the 100-foot-long vessel. Photo: DNR.

Thanks to a $4.5 million infusion from the legislature for the 2013-15 biennium, DNR’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program was able to remove several larger vessels that were threatening navigation and the environment. These large, abandoned hulks included the Helena Star (costing $1,158,608 to remove); the Murph, ($622,000), and the Golden West ($588,650). Last year, the program, which is largely funded by a portion of boater registration fees, worked with local agencies to remove 40 vessels, including a special project that cleared seven abandoned boats and other marine debris from Snohomish County waterways last year.

More about the DNR Derelict Vessel Program

Take a look at other news in the DNR 2014 Annual Report.

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Volunteers are key players in DNR’s recreation programs

January 28, 2015
Tiger Mountain State Forest recreation trail maintenance

While not “fun” exactly, these volunteers had a good experience creating future fun times by helping DNR maintain recreational trails at Tiger Mountain State Forest near Issasquah. Photo DNR.

As the recently published DNR 2014 Annual Report explains, 2014 was a productive year for our recreation program. DNR installed 5 miles of new motorized off-road vehicle trails and challenge areas, built nearly 9 miles of non-motorized trails, completed the new 4.7 mile Mailbox Peak hiking trail, and opened 3 miles of new mountain bike trails in Tiger Mountain State Forest.

Volunteers were critical in 2014, both to DNR’s major recreation projects as well as to many smaller-but-still-important projects, such as litter removal and trail maintenance. During fiscal year 2014 (which ended June 30, 2014), DNR hosted about 65,000 hours of volunteer efforts and successfully competed for grants to provide more than 40 percent of its recreation funds. These efficiencies aid DNR in enabling more than 11 million diverse recreation visits across 3,400 square miles of state-managed lands, each year.

Got some time this winter? How about doing some good for the DNR-managed lands you love! Check the DNR Volunteer Calendar to find opportunities to give back. http://bit.ly/DNRvolunteer

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$265 million earned for public schools and other trust land beneficiaries

January 27, 2015
DNR 2014 Annual Report

DNR released its 2014 Annual Report, which describes the department’s activities, land management and fiscal results on behalf of state trust beneficiaries.

If you look at what DNR generated from timber harvests, product sales, leases and other activities on state trust lands during Fiscal Year 2014, you’ll find that we earned a tidy $265 million for beneficiaries, such as k-12 public schools. A description of these earnings and much more is in the department’s 2014 Annual Report, released Monday morning.

The amount includes $120 million from trust lands dedicated to funding construction at public schools statewide and $75 million generated from lands that DNR manages for the benefit of 21 ‘timber’ counties. Other trust land beneficiaries receiving funds from DNR’s management of 5.6 million acres of trust and aquatic lands last fiscal year included the University of Washington, Washington State University and other state universities.

Take a look at the DNR 2014 Annual Report.

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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

Like ‘hawks, homeowners need to focus on defense to stave off wildfires

January 25, 2015

As the world-champion Seattle Seahawks have proven, defense is often the best offense.

Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Michael Bennett were as good as it gets when it came to keeping a certain Wisconsin-based pro football team out of the end zone in the NFC Championship game last weekend.

But the ferocious Legion of Boom can’t defend your house from a wildfire. Clearing defensible space around your home helps improve the chance of keeping a wildfire away from your house.

As more and more people live in and around forests, grasslands, shrub lands, and other natural areas, the fire-related challenges of managing wildlands are on the increase. Defensible space not only helps protect your home from flames but also gives firefighters a safer location to defend your home from wildfire. Homeowners are responsible for creating defensible space around their homes.

Wildfires that threaten communities are growing more intense, and studies show that wildfire season is getting longer in western states. With wildfires becoming bigger and more frequent, they’re also more costly to suppress. That’s why it’s important each one of us takes care to protect ourselves and our community from wildfire.

Did you know that embers from a wildfire can travel more than a mile? Something to keep in mind if wildfires move toward your area.

Learn what you can do now to reduce your wildfire risks. Here are 12 steps to help you defend your home from wildfire. Also, you can watch this 2-minute video from Cal Fire on creating defensible space.

Keep in mind what’s around your home, and be prepared for any wildfire that could come through. Go to http://www.firewise.org/ to learn steps to protect your home and property from wildfire.

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Morning Star NRCA expansion hearing tonight in Everett

January 21, 2015
Morningstar NRCA

A visitor enjoys the Twin Falls Lake waterfall high in the hills of Morning Star NRCA. Photo: DNR

A public hearing tonight in Everett is your chance to learn more about a boundary expansion and proposed land exchange that will add to the Morning Star Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) in Snohomish County. This site’s attractions include steep and rugged terrain, numerous small alpine lakes, glaciers, and lush meadowlands. DNR proposes to eventually add 2,450 acres to the 33,000-plus acres now devoted to recreation, wildlife habitat and open spaces.

Details of Tonight’s Hearing

Time & Date: 6:30 p.m., January 21, 2015

Location: Snohomish County Courthouse
Public Meeting Room #1
3000 Rockefeller Avenue
Everett, WA 98201

You can comment in writing about the proposed exchange and expansion until February 7, 2015, by contacting: DNR, Morning Star Inter-Trust Exchange, Attn: Bob Winslow, PO Box 47014, Olympia, WA 98504-7014, or send an email to: Exchanges@dnr.wa.gov.

For more information about the proposal, call Project Manager Bob Winslow at 360-902-1622, or view the Morning Star Inter-Trust Exchange web page to see maps and more descriptions.

Find out more about DNR’s “Natural Areas Program.”

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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.

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Ocosta tsunami school hopes to be example for coastal communities

January 16, 2015
Ocosta students use golden clam guns to break ground on a new school that will double as a tsunami evacuation structure at Westport.

Ocosta students use golden clam guns to break ground on a new school that will double as a tsunami evacuation structure at Westport.

Students armed with golden clam guns broke ground on the nation’s first vertical evacuation structure at Westport Thursday, kicking off construction of a project emergency officials hope will be imitated along the Cascadia subduction zone.

The Ocosta School District is building a new elementary school in Westport that includes the tsunami refuge atop the gymnasium.

Westport lies just off the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 600-mile-long fault that runs from northern California to Vancouver Island, leaving it vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis.

When built, the tsunami refuge will be capable of holding more than 1,000 people atop the 30-foot building designed to withstand both a megathrust Cascadia earthquake and the pounding of tsunami waves.

“If a tsunami were to strike, there wouldn’t be much time to get to higher ground,” said Tim Walsh, chief hazards geologist for the Washington State Geologic Survey. “So we wanted to find a way to make higher ground closer to the coast.”

Construction is scheduled to finish in August.

Walsh was a part of the refuge’s design team, joined by Degenkolb Engineers and TCF Architecture, through the efforts of Project Safe Haven, which was launched by the Washington State Emergency Management Division in 2011.

Chief Hazards Geologist Tim Walsh of DNR, left, talks tsunamis with Ocosta School Superintendent Paula Akerlund, center, Ted Buehner, warning coordinator meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Chief Hazards Geologist Tim Walsh of DNR, left, talks tsunamis with Ocosta School Superintendent Paula Akerlund, center, Ted Buehner, warning coordinator meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Model tsunami scenarios were developed by University of Washington applied mathematics professors in consultation with Walsh.

Major General Bret Daugherty, Adjutant General of Washington Army and Air National Guard forces and director of the state’s Emergency Management division, said he hopes the tsunami refuge will be an “example for the rest of our coastal communities.”

Residents in Long Beach are already studying the feasibility of building a landscaped berm to replace existing bleachers on a playfield to hold about 800 people above the tsunami zone during an emergency.

As the official geologic survey of the state, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Division of Geology and Earth Sciences is responsible for monitoring, assessing, and researching geologic events and keeping the public, industry, and government informed about the nature of the land around us.


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