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

Tami Miketa, manager of the Small Forest Landowner Office, and dog Riley, enjoying the beach in Newport, Oregon.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources and its partners offer a broad array of technical and financial assistance programs for small forest landowners – from grants for fish passage and forest road projects, to help understanding regulations and filing permits, to advice on wildfire preparedness. We often hear from landowners who want to take advantage of our programs, but aren’t sure where to look for information.

As I’ve referenced in past newsletter articles, DNR has created an Integrated Small Forest Landowner Service Program which integrates existing landowner assistance programs to more efficiently and effectively reach the diversity of small forest landowners by:

  • identifying and removing barriers for technical assistance, funding, and forest health management planning;
  • increasing education and outreach to small forest landowners; and
  • distributing funding effectively to move high wildland fire risk areas to lower risk.

This comprehensive program integrates duties, responsibilities, and services of the Forest Stewardship Program, Landowner Assistance Program (Cost Share Program), and the Small Forest Landowner Office (SFLO) to effectively meet the needs of small, non-industrial private forest landowners through technical and financial assistance to help meet their objectives for their lands, which may vary from enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, reducing fuels, increasing recreation opportunities, improving forest health, or producing revenue.

Services provided by the integrated program will include:

  • response to general forestry inquiries,
  • education of landowners on forest health issues (insect and disease consultations, etc.),
  • education of landowners on overall forest land management,
  • supporting partner educational activities and events,
  • determination of forest resource conditions,
  • conducting risk consultations (fire and forest health),
  • guidance on development of land management objectives,
  • assistance and guidance writing forest management plans,
  • guidance on determining appropriate treatment implementation,
  • determination of financial assistance eligibility,
  • identifying triggers for forest practice applications,
  • assistance in developing complex forest practices applications,
  • assistance in evaluating forest roads and stream crossings for compliance with regulatory requirements,
  • assistance for accessing applicable landowner financial assistance programs, and
  • referral to specialized services and subject matter experts.

The larger effort of the Integrated Small Forest Landowner Assistance Program includes an expansion of the Service Forestry Program to Western Washington, an increase in staffing on assistance programs, and cross-training to help our foresters better serve landowners across the state.

The Small Forest Landowner Office Is Still Growing

That’s right, as of last year, the SFLO maintained a staffing level of six staff. Today, we have grown to 17.  This is due, in large part, to the expansion of the Regulation Assistance Program, which now has a position in all west side DNR regions and maintains an eastside regulation assistance forester. Our newest regulation assistance forester is Hollis Crapo, who covers the northwest area of the state. We also added a new position of a fish and wildlife biologist, Brent Haverkamp, who works statewide. Additionally, with the retirement of our longtime Family Forest Fish Passage Program manager, we recently hired a new manager, Chris Dwight. Learn more about, Chris, Hollis and Brent in this edition of the Small Forest Landowner News.

This year’s state supplemental budget was very good to the Forestry Riparian Easement Program providing an additional $5 million. With this increase in the FREP budget we’re hiring three additional staff to process easements. Up to now, the FREP waiting list was so long that some landowners had to wait years to be compensated. This large increase in funding should allow the Program to compensate all of the small forest landowners on the waiting list in a much shorter period of time.