Get to Know a Forester: Todd Olson

We recently sat down with Todd Olson, the new regulation assistance forester within the Small Forest Landowner Office. The lifelong Northwesterner has worked with DNR for more than a quarter-century, and may bleed purple if you took an increment borer to him.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and gained a strong interest in forestlands and our diverse landscape throughout the state. Starting as a wildfire engine crew member in 1994, my interest was sparked to pursue a career with the DNR. Following studies at Green River Community College, I transferred to the University of Washington and graduated with a B.S. degree in Forest Management. I’ve been fortunate to be with the DNR as a permanent employee since 1998. My career spans from State Lands in the Boulder Unit (Monroe), to a Forest Practices Forester, Compliance Monitoring Field Coordinator, and now with Small Forest Landowner Office. I am grateful to the mentors I‘ve had along the way.

In my free time I enjoy traveling with my son, Zack; Husky sports; community involvement; fishing; biking; reading; long moonlit strolls on the beach; and, of course, humor.

What do you emphasize when talking to small landowners?

Listening.

Many times, small forest landowners want to be heard. The value of good communication allows the landowner to express their values and their goals. Then I can offer suggestions and prepare the landowner or landowners to meet their objectives within the complicated structure of Forest Practices Rules. I do this while keeping in mind that this may be the only forest practices activity that the landowner may conduct on their property for their generation.

Describe your job.

I am the statewide Small Forest Landowner Regulation Assistance Forester.

I am available to help small forest landowners with questions and site visits relating to understanding and applying Forest Practices Rules and Board Manual guidance. This role involves providing information so that our small forest landowners are equipped to submit a Forest Practices application that achieves their goals and meets Forest Practices standards. Some of the tools available to landowners include alternate plans, long-term applications, 20-acre-exempt harvest activities, harvest regime options/regulations, road construction/maintenance options, management strategies and Forest Practices activities, rule requirements, and water typing/riparian management zone issues. I can help with all of these.

Many common questions can be handled by local DNR regional offices or Forest Practices staff. Check our website for phone numbers and locations of DNR regional offices. For Example: how to fill out an FPA basic answers like legal descriptions, riparian management zone codes, how to label units/stream segments, activity map inclusions, (or other topics that can be easily handled with the instructions), complete application standards, field marking requirements, classes of Forest Practices, forestland to non-forestland conversion activities, and other non-forestland issues (such as trees near permanent structures frequented by humans).

Basically, my role is to help our small forest landowners navigate the sometimes-complex world of Forest Practices rules.

Why do you think our work is important? 

Our work is important towards maintaining forests for multiple purposes and ultimately to keep lands from being converted to non-forestland, especially on the west side of the Cascades. This includes helping landowners across the state to meet their goals while maintaining working forests for recreation, wildlife habitat, timber production, water quality, resiliency to potential climate changes, forest health, and aesthetics. Assisting with effective management can improve forest health, which is especially beneficial east of the Cascades in reducing catastrophic fire potential. Yes, I believe in these concepts for small forest landowners across the landscape; they’re not just words or phrases. To me, it’s a major part of being a forester.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?

To impress upon others that the mission is important. However, it is more important to take care of those around us, especially on the fire line, but also in the field, the shop, or the office.

What is your favorite kind of tree and why?

The Alaska yellow cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis). A great tree with many uses. It’s really cool to view in its native setting and nearby you just might find a husky on the go.

I look forward to interacting with folks at upcoming meetings. Effective communication will be practiced to the best of my ability, which is really beneficial to understanding, consistency, and goodwill.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at 360-902-1029 or todd.olson@dnr.wa.gov.

Anything else you would like to add?

Go DaWgs!

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

Tami Miketa
Tami Miketa, manager, Small Forest Landowner Office

Small forest landowners own and manage approximately 3.2 million acres of Washington’s forestlands and exert a tremendous influence on public resources, including fish-bearing streams, water quality, air quality, wildlife habitat, and carbon sequestration. Adoption of the Forests and Fish Report (the Forest Practices Rules) was made possible, in part, by the agreement of small forest landowners who supported the intent of the law despite economic impacts to some members of their community.

Twenty years after the adoption of the Forests and Fish Report, the Washington Legislature found that it is time to evaluate how the increased harvest regulations have impacted small forest landowners and their land. They asked what can the Legislature do to keep small forest landowners on the landscape, so their land will be available for salmon habitat and water quality.

The Legislature recently pass Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5330, which directs the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences within the College of the Environment at the University of Washington to complete a trends analysis on small forest landowners across the state.

The trends analysis will address the following questions:

  • Have the number of small forest landowners increased or decreased?
  • Has the acreage held by small forest landowners increased or decreased?
  • Of the land no longer owned by small forest landowners, what percentage was converted to nonforest use, became industrial forestland, trust land, or some other use?

The School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington, using the data from the trends analysis and other pertinent information, will also:

  • Determine which factors contributed to small forest landowners selling their land;
  • Recommend actions the Legislature can take to help keep forestland working; and
  • Assess the effectiveness and implementation of the programs created in the Small Forest Landowner Office. The assessment will include:
    1. Evaluating the effectiveness of the Small Forest Landowner Office:
      • Does it have adequate resources and authority to successfully address landowner concerns?
      • Has it received adequate funding to implement fully the duties as assigned through statute?
    2. Evaluating the effectiveness of the Forestry Riparian Easement Program:
  • Does the structure of the Program adequately address the economic impact to small forest landowners?
  • Has funding kept up with need?
  • Has the lack of funding resulted in the loss of riparian habitat?
    1. Have meaningful alternate management plans or alternate harvest restrictions been developed for smaller harvest units?
    2. Has the Family Forest Fish Passage Program addressed the economic impact to landowners and fish passage barriers adequately?
    3. Would meaningful alternate harvest restrictions reduce the financial burden on the Forestry Riparian Easement Program?
    4. How can the Legislature incentivize small forest landowners to maintain their land as forestland?
    5. Could a program be developed to facilitate small forest landowners’ participation in carbon markets?

The report will also include recommendations to improve mitigation measures for small forest landowners and improve retention of working forestland held by small forest landowners.

The University of Washington may reach out to a broad variety of stakeholders for input and provide recommendations on ways the Forest Practices Board and the Legislature can provide more effective incentives to encourage continued management of nonindustrial forests for forestry uses, including traditional timber harvest uses, open space uses, or as part of developing carbon market schemes. The Small Forest Landowner Office will play a role in helping to answer these important questions.

The University of Washington is required to report the results to the appropriate committees of the Legislature and the Forest Practices Board by November 1, 2020, and I look forward to sharing the results with you as well.

Tami can be reached at tami.miketa@dnr.wa.gov.

Sitka Spruce Can Shepherd Your Cedars Toward Maturity

By Steve Townsend, tree farmer near Kapowsin

Editor’s note: Many small forest landowners in Washington attempt to plant Western red cedar, only to be thwarted by browse by animals, particularly deer and elk. Steve Townsend has used some unique strategies, and has written up his well-documented efforts here.

Starting with one Western red cedar and one Sitka spruce P+1 seedling per hole, we planted the plantation near Kapowsin in Pierced County in 2014.

The holes were spaced 12 feet apart, giving about 600 trees in 300 holes per acre. After allowing for roads, trails, slash piles, a building, and some other areas that could not be planted, the 17-acre plantation was stocked with 4,000 cedars.

The expectation was that the spruce, with their sharp needles, would deter the deer and elk from eating the cedar.

Generally speaking, the combination is working.

Cedar&Net.Spruce copy
Cedar treelings can also be planted adjacent to older spruce trees to protect them from browsing, as long as they are also protected by hard netting. (Steve Townsend)

There was some browsing the first year, but by year two the branches of the trees had become intermingled and the spruce were protecting the cedar as planned. Probably the most telling sign of success is in those pairs where the cedar has grown taller than the spruce; in many of these cases, the cedar has been browsed down to the height of the spruce, but no further.

About 95 percent of the spruce and 80 percent of the cedar survived the first summer in 2014. This led to some serious inter-planting in the years to follow.  In February 2015, 300 cedars were crowded in beside a spruce in places where the accompanying cedar had died.

Starting in 2016, and subsequently in 2017 and 2018, the surviving spruce were too well-developed to accommodate a new partner planted just inches away. As a consequence, the current method of replacement planting has been to place the cedar a foot or two away from the base of a protective spruce, and then to place a vexar net (aka rigid tubing) around the cedar to protect it from the animals until the branches of the spruce grow out to encompass it. In those areas where a cedar is desired and no spruce exists, the cedar is planted and netted on its own, much the same as one would protect the trees in a plantation of Douglas-fir.

CedarwithSpruceSkirt copy
The spruce trees can be topped at 4 feet high, so that they stop competing with the cedars for light but still protect their bases from rutting deer and elk. (Steve Townsend)

By fall 2017, many of the cedar were tall enough so that the spruce could be trimmed back to allow the cedar to be the dominant tree of the pair. Typically, while working with a pair of trees with the hand pruners, all double tops or suckers on the cedars were removed, and the tops of the spruce were cut off at a height of four feet.

The hope is that the spruce will live long enough to continue to provide some protection for the cedar against antler rub. This will be an ongoing process for the next several years as the plantation continues to develop.

This report would not be complete without mentioning the smaller browsers. Whereas the spruce does an effective job of protecting the trees from the deer and elk, they do not protect the cedar from the mice, voles, rabbits, aplodontia (mountain beaver), and other small tree-predators that attack from below. In the areas where these animals are prevalent, the tried-and-true vexar nets are usually effective.

CedarwithSpruce weevil
The spruce weevil damaged the top of this spruce tree. Many nursery spruces are susceptible to infestation, but that is OK in this setting because they still live long enough to protect the young cedar trees. (Steve Townsend)

It is also important to note that nursery-grown spruce tends to be very susceptible to the spruce weevil. Sooner or later, most of them become infected. This is of little concern if the spruce is ultimately scheduled to be eliminated, but it removes the option of allowing the spruce to grow to maturity on those micro-sites where a cedar does not seem to be viable.

CedarwithSpruce after
After five growing seasons, this part of the Kapowsin plantation shows all of the planting approaches mentioned in the article above. (Steve Townsend)

 

Get to Know Your Wildlife Biologist: Ken Bevis

Small Forest Landowner Office Manager Tami Miketa recently sat down with Ken Bevis, DNR’s stewardship wildlife biologist. The talkative traveling troubadour has bounced around Eastern Washington for more than three decades, and now spends his time teaching landowners across the state how to best create wildlife habitat in their forests. He’s almost certainly got more mileage on his state work truck than anyone else at DNR, and he’s never too far from a guitar.

Tell us a little about yourself, Ken.

Not too tall, not too big. Love the outdoors.

Noisy.

Musical.

I think I’m funny.

I’m originally from Virginia – I migrated west to Colorado at 23, then came to Washington. I have lived in Eastern Washington for 33 years in various places along the Eastern Cascades. I have been camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, bird-watching, etc., my entire life, starting with farm ponds and whitetail deer way back in Virginia.

Family camping trips, my folks, an influential uncle and the Boy Scouts were seminal in my life and career choices.

How long have you been working in forestry and wildlife? Why did you go into this field?

I have been in and out of natural resource jobs for more than 40 years. My family background of outdoor play and an inherent love of nature made declaring forestry my major at Virginia Tech easy. I was lucky to get to go to college right out of high school, and choosing that major shaped my future.

What sort of jobs have you had? Schooling?

I have worked for state and federal agencies and the Yakama Nation, and a university. Each job has been a stepping stone, and it has been an amazing ride so far.

My first forestry job was with the Virginia Division of Forestry in 1978 as a summer intern, where I learned about loblolly pine management and southern Virginia culture.

I migrated west after a divorce some personal changes, and worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado on trails and timber crews for five years, before coming to Washington to study spotted owls in 1986. “The owl” was just becoming an issue and I was one of the first people to work with them on the east slope of the Cascades.

For several years, I worked on the Cle Elum and Naches ranger districts in the East Cascades, surveying and studying spotted owls. We would go out in the forest at dusk, and work on survey routes until 2 or 3 a.m., while no one else was out there. We saw lots of wildlife.

ken bevis woodpecker
DNR stewardship wildlife biologist Ken Bevis explains how to preserve habitat for birds on forest lands during a forestry field day in Arlington. A woodpecker — Bevis’ favorite forest creature — is seen in the background. (Photo courtesy Ken Bevis, DNR)

I had attended graduate school at Central Washington University and studied woodpeckers in managed and unmanaged forests. There weren’t many studies of woodpeckers in Northwest forests, so it was a good opportunity.

Upon graduation in 1994, I went to the Yakama Indian Nation and back to owls, where I was a biologist supporting the on-reservation timber program. We surveyed and studied the owl to help the tribe layout timber sales that included habitat areas. We used to catch owls and put radios and bands on them. We caught quite a few!

I went to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1998 and became a habitat biologist responsible for forestry-related issues and permitting for the south-central East Cascades area. I assisted DNR Forest Practices staff in reviewing and sometimes modifying forest practices permits across a large area with LOTS of timber harvest activities. I got to know the forests of Kittitas and Yakima counties really well.

I then moved up to the Methow and became the watershed steward for WDFW, assisting with salmon recovery efforts, working as a coordinator/grant writer/meeting attendee/outreach specialist. I learned a lot about fish, river restoration, riparian habitats, and small-scale politics.

In 2013, I came to DNR as the Stewardship Wildlife Biologist. This job is my favorite of my whole career. I get to meet people all over the state, give presentations, attend and teach workshops, write, and apply all that I have learned over the years.

What do you emphasize when talking to small landowners?

Habitat diversity is the key. More diversity will mean more diverse wildlife.

I want people to maintain habitats for as many species as possible. I want them to be knowledgeable and motivated to improve and protect our rich and diverse wildlife habitats. My task is to understand where my clients are right now, and help them become better stewards of their habitats. I will constantly point out valuable habitat features to any audience, and craft my delivery to them as I see fit.

I like to emphasize habitat features, by which I mean natural elements such as big dead wood (snags and logs), ephemeral wetlands, the shrub layer (brush), and canopy complexity. I emphasize retention of larger-diameter dead wood (snags and logs), healthy and robust shrub species, reduction of the nastiest noxious weeds (Scotch broom – yuck!), and retention of big trees and patches of older forest components.

I want to be a catalyst and conduit to get people to do more for habitat on their forest land. I use the tools of education and motivation.

Education is filling a blank spot in someone’s knowledge, but motivation is moving them to do the thing that education informs. My job is to help fill in those blanks – and to encourage people to act.

If they are concerned about wildlife, and educated about the habitat needs of our native species, then they can act on their land. This is how our work can help support preservation of biodiversity today.

I want landowners to better learn what they have and encourage protection and development of it.

Why do you think our work is important? 

There are a lot of acres held by our small forest landowners. Cumulatively, we can have a great impact on the landscape, one piece at a time. Our small forest landowners are active land stewards, often living on their forest and caring deeply for the health and quality of their land and habitats.

The world is in the midst of an extinction crisis, driven by human population and climate change. Our small forest landowners can actually make a difference and help with conservation of many species.

What is your favorite kind of critter and why?

They are all my favorites, but if I had to pick one, it would be the pileated woodpecker. They live in mature forest habitats (sometimes in patches dispersed), feed in big dead wood, have amazing charisma, and fill a keystone role in the forest ecosystem. And they have a cool call.

I am a singer/songwriter and even wrote a song called “King of the Woods,” inspired by pileated woodpeckers. (Can I do a shameless plug? (ed. note: fiiiiiiiine) – Check out my website at KenBevis.com.)

ken bevis wolverine
Another satisfied customer: This tranquilized wolverine shows off its tracking collar and some affection to Ken Bevis. (Photo courtesy of tranquilized wolverine)

What kind of legacy would you like to leave from your work here?

I want to leave a body of work that stands beyond my tenure with DNR, and provide tools that help maintain biodiversity in the face of this modern onslaught. I want to know that I made a difference and gave people something to work with that wouldn’t have been there without me.

And I want to have a good time and remind people that nature is a great teacher.

You can contact Ken at 360-489-4802 or by email at Ken.Bevis@dnr.wa.gov,and he’ll be glad to help you with questions and help you with habitat on your small forest lands.

My Larches Look Sick. What Could it Be?

By Melissa Fischer, Eastern Washington Forest Health Specialist, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, melissa.fischer@dnr.wa.gov

I have noticed quite a bit of damage to western larch foliage this season.

Upon close inspection, I have found that much of it is due to the larch casebearer, an invasive species of moth introduced into the United States in 1886 from Europe. In the larval stage, the larch casebearer damages both our dominant Western larch (Larix occidentalis) and the more eastern and northerly tamarack (Larix laricina) by defoliation.

Lifecycle

The larch casebearer (Coleophora laricella) has one generation a year, with adult moths emerging from the end of May through early July. After mating, the females lay between 50 and 70 eggs singly on larch needles. After the eggs hatch, the larvae bore directly into larch needles.

The larvae will develop through four instars (developmental stages between molts) prior to pupating. They will mine a single needle for about two months, during which time they will develop from the first to second instar.

Once hollowed out, the larvae will make a case from the needle (hence the name “casebearer”) by lining a portion of it with silk and chewing it free from the rest of the needle. The larva will reside within this case through the third instar, feeding from mid-August to late October.

In the fall, larvae leave the foliage before needle shed and attach their cases to twigs, overwintering within the case as third instar larvae. In the spring, the third instar larvae will begin feeding again. They develop into the fourth instar, and then pupate inside their cases around late May.

The cycle begins again when the adults emerge from their pupal cases.

How do I know if its larch casebearer damage?

Casebearer damage to larch foliage can be seen in the early spring. The tops of mined needles will look straw-colored, curl over, and/or look wilted (Image 1). By early summer, the foliage will turn reddish-brown.

By mid-June to mid-September, much of the damage visible in the spring will be concealed by green foliage that appears when new shoots elongate and/or if a second crop of needles develops. Mining in late September may brown the trees again, but by then the tree has completed its growth, so damage is minor.

larch 1
Image 1 A. Larch casebearer damage to western larch contrasted with an undamaged tree in the foreground and B. Close-up of larch casebearer damage to foliage of western larch.

The casebearer itself can be seen in the early spring attached to needles within their cases. Later in the spring, pupal cases can be found attached to needles or hanging from the ends of silk off larch trees. This can be quite a spectacular display if the tree has been heavily infested. The cases are straw-colored and less than a quarter of an inch long (Image 2). Many landowners describe the cases as looking similar to grains of rice.

The adults can be found around June and are pretty nondescript, being less than ¼ of an inch long and silvery (Image 3). If you look closely with a hand lens, you may see that the ends of the wings are fringed (Image 4).

larch 2
Image 2. Larch casebearer cases attached to western larch needles. The needles in this picture are quite long for western larch, but these particular trees were open-grown and well-watered.

Cases may again be seen from the end of August through to the next season on needles or overwintering on twigs.

The larch casebearer is not the only cause of damage to larch needles. Larch needle blight (Hypodermella laricis, Image 5) and larch needle cast (Meria laricis), both fungi, can cause similar damage. Larch needle blight damages needles in the spring and needle cast affects needles in the summer. Close inspection of the needles themselves will help you determine whether the damage is caused by the casebearer or a fungal infection.

Should I worry?

larch 3
Image 3. Larch casebearer adult: side view

Larch casebearer damage can look quite serious, but one year of damage is typically not something you need to worry about. Larch trees are capable of putting out another flush of needles within the same season and, because they are deciduous, they will refoliate the following spring.

In addition, the larch casebearer is especially vulnerable to a suite of parasitoids, especially two European parasitic wasps, Agathis pumila, a braconid, and Chrysocharis laricinellae, a eulophid, that were introduced in the early 1960s as biological control agents. Both parasitoids are well established and very successful at reducing casebearer populations. Studies have shown that either wasp can parasitize over 90 percent of the larch casebearer population in an infested area. Samples I collected this spring in Eastern Washington had the same results.

larch 4
Image 4. Larch casebearer adult: Notice the fringe at the end of the wings.

If your larch experience continued heavy defoliation for five or more years, you may begin to see the trees decline. Evidence of decline will begin with branch dieback. After a few years, entire branches may begin dying, followed the next season by epicormic branching along the trunk. Within another one to two years, the tops of the affected trees may die.

Soon after these symptoms appear, tree mortality may occur. Trees weakened by continued defoliation are also susceptible to other insects and disease, such as western larch borer and Armillaria root rot.

There are no known silvicultural controls for larch casebearer. Insecticides over large landscapes are not economically practical, but may be advisable in high-valued stands or individual trees. Typically, natural controls are effective, particularly parasitoids.

In addition to parasitoids, prolonged cold and wet weather in the spring, with frosts after the larvae have emerged, can also cause considerable damage. Droughts that last into the late summer causing needles to dry out and fall off also reduce populations. Needle blight and needle cast also have the capacity to reduce the larvae’s food supply.

larch 5
Image 5. A. Larch needle blight damage to western larch and B. Close-up of larch needle blight damage.
larch 6
Image 6. Parasitoids of larch casebearer that emerged from samples taken in Eastern Washington, 2019 A. braconid and B. Eulophid.

For more info:

Pederson, L. 2006. Management Guide for Larch Casebearer. Forest Health Protection and State Forestry Organizations. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5187464.pdf

Tunnock, S. and R. B. Ryan. 1985. Larch Casebearer in Western Larch. Forest Insect & Disease Leaflet 96. U.S.D.A. Forest Service. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsbdev2_043608.pdf

Watering Seedlings: Does it Make Sense?

By Matt Provencher, DNR Western Washington Stewardship Forester, matthew.provencher@dnr.wa.gov

Over the past few years, drought has been in the news, with Washington state seeing several years both warmer and drier than normal.

Drought stress is apparent in forests, and people are taking notice. There have been some recent articles in Forest Stewardship Notes and the Small Forest Landowner News regarding the impact that this can have on trees.

drought weakened tree ken bevis
The central tree in this forested stand near Everett was likely weakened by drought. (Photo by Ken Bevis, DNR)

The relatively wet July we’ve just experienced isn’t enough to change things too much.

Concerned landowners may be watching their newly planted seedling succumb to drought. More and more are asking me, “Should I water them?”

Amy Grotta, who works for the Oregon State University Forestry and Natural Resources Extension for Columbia, Washington and Yamhill counties there, wrote a great blog on this very question in July 2018, which you can read here. What she wrote very much applies to landowners here in Washington. I’ll summarize her thoughts and add some of my own …

In general, in a forested environment, the answer to the question “Should I water my seedlings?” is no. After all, it’s not even practical in many instances. But even if you have a relatively small acreage with a relatively small number of trees, there are still things to consider when deciding whether to water.

First and foremost are weeds or other competing vegetation. If you’re watering those along with your trees, you may be doing more harm than good. Second, how are you affecting natural root development? Amy’s article refers to a study that looked at this question, and some evidence shows that supplemental watering promotes shallow root growth. In other words, the roots stay higher in the soil profile and won’t grow deep enough to access moisture found deeper in the ground. This could potentially lead to the trees being water-stressed even in non-drought years.

doug fir drought kill ken bevis
This Douglas-fir near Olympia was likely killed by drought conditions. (Photo by Ken Bevis, DNR)

If you feel like you need to water your seedlings anyway, Amy has some good tips in her article to try to make it successful. The trick is to water slowly to ensure that the water is getting down deep into the soil and not running off, along with controlling competing vegetation.

As Amy states in her article, it’s important to remember that Douglas-fir is well adapted to dry summers – and that many, many trees are planted every year, and the vast majority of those survive without any watering.

More important than watering to forest landowners is to know their site and ensure they are planting the proper tree for that site. This means planting an appropriate species from the correct seed zone, the appropriate stock type for the conditions, planting to and maintaining an appropriate density of trees, and using microclimates such as planting on the north side of stumps or downed logs. And don’t forget about managing the competing vegetation to ensure that the trees are getting the water and nutrients from the soil!

Forest Thinnings and Hydrology: A Request for Input to Research Project

Washington State University Forestry Extension Specialist Andy Perleberg and University of Idaho Extension forester Chris Schnepf have been working with forest researcher Ryan Niemeyer on a study about relationships between hydrology and forest thinning in Inland Northwest forests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded project is a cooperative effort between many partners, including the Washington Farm Forestry Association, Colville Tribes, Yakama Nation, WSU, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Idaho, and, potentially, you.

Niemeyer is seeking small forest landowners to participate in a survey related to this project. Below is a link to a very short online form where you can submit your basic contact information for the forest thinning survey.

Ultimately, this work will help inform land managers about the effects of thinning treatments on forests in the inland west, and help us deal with ongoing issues related to drought, bugs, disease, and fire.

To participate, go to forms.gle/p4hk9kWhiw19d4D46.

If you know other forest owners whom you think might be interested in participating in this, feel free to pass this information along.

For more information about the project, go to rniemeyer4.wixsite.com/nwforestthinning.

Helping Landowners Learn From Their Peers About Harvest Options

Northwest Natural Resource Group and Oregon State University are reaching out to forest owners for a voluntary study about timber harvesting methods to understand how they affect both financial and forest health outcomes.

The goal of this research project is to help landowners who are considering a timber harvest to learn from the experiences of others. There is limited information about the economics of commercial timber harvests that use thinning or uneven-aged management, and how those results compare with other harvest methods.

The researchers are looking to survey Oregon and Washington forest owners who harvested timber from their forest in the past five years (since 2014) and are willing to share information about the silvicultural methods and financial outcomes from these recent timber harvests. The survey asks detailed questions about the harvest techniques and equipment used, the volume of timber harvested, cost of the harvest work, and the harvest revenues.

The results of this study will be shared with forest owners through a variety of methods including articles, papers, and classes taught by NNRG, OSU, and partner organizations. Data in the study will remain confidential within the research team. Information will be aggregated so it cannot be traced to any individual ownership. Data will be collected from through June 2019.

If you are willing to share recent harvest information with NNRG and OSU, contact Lindsay Malone, one of the project researchers, at lindsay@nnrg.org. Lindsay can provide you with a copy of the survey.

Learn more about this research project at nnrg.org/thinning_study.

Lindsay Malone, Director of Programs, Northwest Natural Resource Group, lindsay@nnrg.org

Restoring Forest Health, One Neighbor at a Time

Forest health conditions in Washington state have been in decline for decades, contributing to catastrophic and uncharacteristically severe wildfires – and the state’s Department of Natural Resources is reaching out to partners, including small private forest landowners, to work toward a solution.

Insect pests, disease, invasive plants and animals, human development, climate change, past forest management practices, and a lack of adequate active management have, in combination, created a perfect storm for poor forest health and wildfire risk.

Healthy forests are vital to clean water and air, the economy, carbon sequestration, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. But without significant intervention, the problems our forests face will continue to compound. To restore health to our forests, DNR has developed a 20-year Strategic Forest Health Plan committed to treating 1.25 million acres of unhealthy forestland in Central and Eastern Washington by 2037.

forest health strategic plan coverThe plan is unprecedented in its scope and application. It embraces an all-lands, all-hands approach, recognizing that solutions for improving forest health must span property lines and government jurisdictions. Coordinating forest health treatment efforts with all willing forest landowners in high-priority watersheds is a key part of the forest health plan. DNR worked on the plan with more than 30 agencies, interest groups and organizations, representing private, state and federal forest landowners, state agencies, tribes, the forest industry, universities and conservation groups.

One of DNR’s key landowner groups is you, the small private forest landowner. Our agency has foresters on staff to provide you with forest health evaluations, technical assistance and cost-share programs to help offset the expense of forest health treatments.

We are eager to connect with you, so please call us at 509-925-8510 if you own forestland in Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima counties; or 509-684-7474 if your forestland is in Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, and Spokane counties, or the northern portion of Lincoln County. When you call, ask to speak to someone from the Landowner Assistance Program.

For more information on the 20-year Forest Health Strategic Plan, visit www.dnr.wa.gov/ForestHealthPlan.

By Julie Sackett, Forest Health Division, julie.sackett@dnr.wa.gov

Printing an Activity Map for Your Project

Dear tree farmers, loggers, foresters, general readers, and those folks that are apparently reading this article all the way in northern Europe and New Zealand (our stats don’t lie):

In our last newsletter, my predecessor promised salvation from the frustrations involved in creating, and occasionally losing, an editable Forest Practices Application (FPA) in portable document format (PDF). Well, how did he do? Did it work? Send me an email and let me know.

For this article, we’re moving on to mapping.  A crucial (and legally required) element of any FPA, your map shows where and how you’ll be doing whatever it is you’ll be doing — logging, building roads, etc. We get many calls here about the activity map and I intend to show you how to successfully create and print one of your very own. To start:

1  Navigate to DNR’s Forest Practices Forms and Instructions webpage.

2. Before opening the map itself, be sure you have your computer’s popup blockers disabled, otherwise when you go to print nothing will happen. I assure you, it’s frustrating. To disable popup blockers follow these instructions.

3. Once the pop-up blocker situation has been handled, click “Print an Activity Map,” which is found in the list of links under the first heading on the page (see Figure 1).

Figure 1
Figure 1

4. When the map image first appears, you’ll see our standard disclaimer statement. After clicking “Accept.” look in the upper left hand corner of the map, for the button “Map Themes” (Figure 2).

Figure 2
Figure 2

5. Click the down-arrow in the box next to Map Themes to display the various themes. Then choose “Activity Map” from the list (Figure 2-a, Map themes menu).

Figure 2-a
Figure 2-a: Map themes menu.

 

6. Next (and this is crucial!), you need to input the legal description of your property (Township-Range-Section). Enter this information in the appropriate boxes on the top right of the screen (circled in Figure 3). You must input them one number at a time; sometimes it takes a few seconds for the next box to catch up. If you don’t have this information readily available, you can find it through your local county tax assessor database. If you don’t input your legal description, and just zoom to your property, the print option will not work.

Figure 3
Figure 3: Township, Range and Section boxes.

7. After you enter your legal description and press “Enter”and the map should zoom to the section in which your property is located. Now, it’s time to PRINT! Click the printer icon in the top menu bar, and the “Print Map” box will pop-up. Press “Print” in the lower right of that box. (Figure 4).

Figure 4
Figure 4: Print options

 

8. The map will pop-up in a separate tab or window; it sometimes takes a few minutes to appear. Printing through this system automatically scales your map at 1”-1000’, which is the legally required scale. From here, it’s incumbent on you, the proponent, to find your property and map your harvest unit according to the standards laid out in the FPA Instruction Manual (Figure 5).

Figure 5
Figure 5: Map selection to print

Hopefully this worked and alleviated some of the headaches you may have experienced with printing these activity maps out. If not, send me an email and I’ll try and help you navigate the process.

by Matt Provencher, Technical Assistance Forester, DNR Small Forest Landowner Office, matt.provencher@dnr.wa.gov