Message from Tami Miketa, Manager of the Small Forest Landowner Office

Tami Miketa
Tami Miketa, manager, Small Forest Landowner Office

In this edition of our SFL News, we want to highlight a special landowner. His name is Dave New, and he is the 2018 Washington Tree Farm Program’s Tree Farmer of the Year. Dave recently told me such an interesting story about the history of his family’s property, how they came into ownership, the struggles and challenges faced, and the true successes achieved so far. His story highlights the contributions made by a number of organizations helping him be a successful forest landowner.

All of these organizations have a similar mission – to keep small forest landowners in forests.

Dave’s story is a great example of cooperation and collaboration between organizations to help achieve the New family goals, and it really highlights the reasons why our organizations exist, especially the Small Forest Landowner Office.

When Dave’s family took over the ownership of their property, it was planned for subdivision into about 60 single-family lots. Luckily, through various circumstances, the property was saved from development. Through the help of a number of organizations (including ours), the New family has learned how tree farms benefit the environment and society in general, and the types of assistance that are available to private forest landowners to help them keep their land in forests.

After hearing his story, I asked him to write it down so we can share it with you, in the hopes that you are encouraged by Dave’s experiences to reach out to organizations, like us, that are available to assist you in the management of your forestland.

New Small Forest Landowner Demographic and Road Survey

The 1999 Salmon Recovery Act required all forest roads be brought up to new forest road standards, as outlined in the 1999 Forests and Fish Report, and established in the Forest Practices Rules.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in consultation with the Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) and the Department of Ecology (DOE), is required to monitor the extent, effectiveness, and status of small forest landowner roads. Also, as the agency responsible for carrying out provisions of the federal Clean Water Act in Washington State, the DOE monitors water quality to determine whether activities meet the state’s water quality standards.

DNR, in consultation with the Small Forest Landowner Office Advisory Committee, is required to develop a plan for evaluating the status of small forest landowner roads. DNR, DOE, and the Washington Farm Forestry Association (WFFA) developed an online road assessment survey in order to gain sufficient data to determine the status of forest roads on the properties of small forest landowners. Your information in this survey will help DNRs legislative request for increased funding for the Small Forest Landowner Office and will help to show that small forest landowner roads are well maintained and are not contributing significant sediment to our streams.

Please take 15 minutes to complete this confidential/non-regulatory survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/landownersurvey

Thank you for supporting the Small Forest Landowner Office! 

DNR Small Forest Landowner Office Programs

The DNR Small Forest Landowner Office was established in 1999 to promote the viability of small forest landowners in Washington state. The SFLO manages several assistance programs for landowners, including:

  • Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP)— A cost-share program that provides small landowners with 75 percent to 100 percent of the cost to remove fish barriers from their property. Enrolled landowners are not required to replace a barrier until the state determines that the barrier is a funding priority. Since 2003, the FFFPP has eliminated 401 fish passage barriers, opening up 924 miles of habitat for fish.
  • Forestry Riparian Easement Program (FREP)— Provides financial compensation to qualifying small landowners who are required to leave commercial timber in riparian buffers during timber harvests. Since 2001, The FREP has purchased 367 easements covering 5,868 of riparian forests. 
  • Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program (RHOSP)— Formerly known as the Riparian Open Space Program, RHOSP purchases conservation easements from landowners with forested land that is located in a channel-migration zone and is critical habitat for state-listed threatened or endangered species. Since 2001, 18 conservation easements have been purchased protecting channel migration zones and critical habitat for state threatened or endangered species.
  • Forest Stewardship and Technical Assistance— Provides services and direct one-on-one assistance to forest landowners across Washington state. DNR Stewardship & Technical Assistance Foresters and Wildlife Biologist offer no-cost, non-regulatory, on-site visits to help landowners improve forests for timber production, forest health, wildlife and fish habitat, special forest products, aesthetics, and fire safety. Advice is customized to meet the landowner’s specific objectives. They also assist small landowners with forest practices-related questions and with the state’s Forest Practices Application process.