Get to Know a Forester: Sean Alexander

This month, we are featuring one of our partners, Sean Alexander, the new WSU Extension forestry coordinator for Northeast Washington. Wherever you meet the third-generation Washingtonian, be it the forests or the lanes of the local bowling alley, he’s never too far away from pine. 

Greetings!

My name is Sean Alexander, and I am delighted to introduce myself as the new Northeastern Washington forestry extension coordinator for Washington State University. I will join the team led by Andy Perleberg and work closely with the DNR on education, outreach, and technical assistance.

I am currently completing my master’s degree at Washington State University in forest ecology and will begin working out of Colville in my new position within the next few months. As a third-generation Cougar (Go Cougs!), born and raised in the Tri-Cities, I am excited to serve the Eastern Washington forestry community.

At a young age, my father instilled in me a passion for the outdoors, whether it was fishing, boating on the Columbia River, or learning to shoot the BB gun (careful kid, you’re going to shoot your eye out).

In college, I figured out that I could connect my passion for nature to my future career. I completed two bachelor’s degrees, in wildlife conservation science and forestry. I was afforded many great opportunities, from conducting research in the Sierra Nevada to the slopes of Mount St. Helens. My master’s work is focused on silvicultural prescriptions on the Fremont-Winema National Forest of south-central Oregon. This area is dominated by dry pine and mixed-conifer forest types, very similar to Northeastern Washington.

While living in Pullman, I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with the outdoors. Hunting has become a passion of mine, as it allows me to observe nature and helps me understand the requirements of providing food for the table. There is nothing better than sitting in a blind on a brisk fall morning, waiting for any movement down the draw, and watching the early activity of everyone else in the morning.

Sean Alexander, the new WSU Extension forester for Northeast Washington, is seen in his other natural habitat: a bowling alley.

I hope to begin exploring Northeastern Washington and continue to develop my hunting skills in this region, and the many other possibilities that this corner of the state has to offer. I’m an avid bowler, competing in the local Palouse Bowling Leagues, and I come from a big family, with 11 siblings and 12 nephews and nieces, so Thanksgiving is always a rowdy one.

I believe forestry is best conducted with an ecosystem approach, with a holistic view of many components to support sustainability and resilience. For example, protecting your home with fuels reduction, promoting habitat value, and maintaining economic sensibility can all be accomplished together. I look forward to working with landowners to accomplish these goals.

Since I was a little kid, I’ve always had a passion for helping others and a skill for educating and communicating. Being able to tie together my passion for forestry with my passion for education, while being able to serve the people of Washington, is truly the most rewarding job someone could ask for.

As I take the next step in my life, I am excited to set my roots and begin building a relationship with those who I get to serve. I am hopeful that I will be a strong resource for local landowners who desire to further develop their own skills in forest management, and together we can help build-up Washington’s forests.

If you’re going to be in Chewelah on June 26 for the forest field day, come by! I’d love to meet you and discuss projects you have going on and ideas you may have for extending education to the region. If not, feel free to reach out and say hello at sean.alexander@wsu.edu!

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

Announcements, Events and Other News

Webster Forest Nursery Seedling Ordering Process Changes

Due to increased demand, DNR’s Webster Forest Nursery will no longer be taking seedling orders on a first-come, first-served basis.

Between August 1 and September 6, interested landowners can contact the nursery to place their names on a register that will be randomized and used to generate a priority list. Anyone who wants to purchase seedlings from DNR who misses that cutoff date will be put at the bottom of the register.

Full details are available on the DNR website.

2019 WFFA Annual Meeting and Field Tour

20th Anniversary of Forests & Fish: Past, Present and Future

The Olympic, South Sound and Grays Harbor Chapters of the Washington Farm Forestry Association (WFFA) invite you to join us on the Kitsap Peninsula on May 2-4, for our 2019 Annual Meeting. The Best Western Silverdale Beach Hotel in Silverdale is the location for events on Thursday and Friday.  The Silverdale Beach Hotel has offered special room rates of $94 plus tax (available until March 30).

Twenty years after Forests and Fish is an opportune time to review where we’ve been, where we are, and where we and others think we are headed. Historical views on the State’s Forests and Fish commitments (past); updates on 20 years of legislative and regulatory efforts (present); and crystal ball predictions for the future by natural resource leaders (future) will provide multiple perspectives aimed at answering: How do family forest owners fit into the future needs and aspirations of other agencies/stakeholders? Do family forest landowners and rural Washingtonians matter? Will future generations feel the love from city folks? Will they have a greater “social license” making it cool to be a tree farmer?

When and Where

The annual meeting is scheduled for May 2 and May 3 at the Best Western Silverdale Beach Hotel, 3703 NW Bucklin Hill Road, Silverdale. The field tour is scheduled for May 4 at the Five Springs Tree Farm, 3268 SE Five Springs Lane, Olalla.

Registration

The conference registration fee is $150 per person until March 15. From March 15 until April 15, the fee is $165 per person. Registration closes April 15. Registration includes: Friday breakfast, educational programs, break refreshments, the Washington Tree Farm Program Awards Ceremony and Luncheon and the Friday night dinner banquet. The Saturday Field Tour is $25 per person, including a light breakfast and lunch buffet. The Field Tour can be purchased separately from, or in addition to, the conference registration. You can choose to attend only the annual meeting, only the Saturday Field Tour or attend all three days’ events.

For complete details about the WFFA Annual Meeting and to register, go to wafarmforestry.org.

WSU Extension Forestry Events

Forest Health Seminars

Learn what makes forests healthy or unhealthy and how to recognize when there’s a problem on your property. Topics include insects, diseases, and drought, including their environmental roles and the important interactions between them. Learn about what property owners should do (and not do) to increase tree resilience and mitigate impacts.

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning

If you own wooded property, our flagship course will teach you how to assess your trees, avoid insect and disease problems, and attract wildlife. State experts will help you develop your own Forest Stewardship Plan to keep your woods on track to provide enjoyment and income for years to come.

  • Buckley – Thursday starting April 18

Webinar Opportunities

2019 Forest Owner Field Days

The annual Family Forest Field Day attracts hundreds of landowners from all around the region to learn about a variety of forestry topics in a hands-on setting, including forest health, wildlife habitat and management, thinning and pruning, chainsaw safety, noxious weed management, and many more.

  • Glenwood – Saturday, June 8 [registration coming soon]
  • McCleary – Saturday, August 24 [registration coming soon]

WSU’s New Extension Forester Focuses on Forest Stewardship in the Chehalis River Basin

The Chehalis River Basin is second in size only to the Columbia within the state of Washington. It contains over 2,500 square miles of land dedicated to industrial, agricultural and natural resource uses. Considering its size, diverse array of land management, and high water demand in the area, it’s no surprise that the Chehalis Basin is considered a priority area for protection by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. With that priority in mind, the Washington State University Extension and the DNR Small Forest Landowner Office have partnered to develop outreach and educational programming in the region for small forest landowners.

Picture shows Patrick Shults is the new WSU Extension Forester in Southwest Washington, focusing on the Chehalis River Basin.
Patrick Shults is the new WSU Extension Forester in Southwest Washington, focusing on the Chehalis River Basin. (Photo by The Daily Chronicle)

The Chehalis River Basin contains some of the world’s most productive timberland, attracting a large population of small forest landowners with a variety of objectives. Healthy riparian ecosystems are a natural byproduct of active forest stewardship, so small forest landowners, stewardship and clean water are inextricably linked. This is the message of the new Extension Forester for WSU in Southwest Washington, Patrick Shults, who was hired to promote, educate, and train forest stewards within the basin.

A little about Patrick: He’s not from here but is extremely excited to be living in the Pacific Northwest.  He and his wife moved from Michigan last winter, escaping the frigid cold and pounding snow of the Upper Great Lakes for the soft rain and cool ocean air of the coastal forests. An avid hiker, fisher, and craft beer enthusiast, Patrick has been feeling very much at home in Western Washington.

Patrick came to the extension forester position at WSU after finishing his master’s degree in forestry at Michigan State University, where he researched agroforestry and sustainable nutrient cycling. Prior to that he also received a bachelor of science degree in forestry at MSU, getting experience in public outreach and education, habitat restoration, urban forestry, and writing management plans for small forest landowners through working with nonprofits, universities, and consulting foresters.

Patrick knows that while many forest owners are primarily interested in growing timber, the SFL community is diverse and many have other goals in mind either in tandem with or excluding timber production. He hopes to use his range of experience to help meet this diverse set of needs and landowner interests for small forest management in Southwest Washington.

Patrick Shults, the new WSU Extension Forester for Southwest Washington, teaches a class on forest inventory at the Steve Stinson Legacy Family Forestry Field Day in Woodland in August. (Photo by Paul Figueroa)
Patrick Shults, the new WSU Extension Forester for Southwest Washington, teaches a class on forest inventory at the Steve Stinson Legacy Family Forestry Field Day in Woodland in August. (Photo by Paul Figueroa)

With this motivation in mind, Patrick will be promoting educational programming like Forest Stewardship Coached Planning, Family Forestry Field Days, and other workshops and classes. As previously mentioned, they will focus heavily on landowners in the Chehalis River Basin, but he also hopes to provide resources and programming to forest owners throughout Southwest Washington.

He aims to maintain an open door and invite the public to express their concerns and interests, while working hard to prioritize education on pressing issues like forest health, writing stewardship plans, and promoting research-backed forestry practices.  His upcoming events include a Forest Stewardship Coached Planning in Chehalis and an Alder Management Workshop in Raymond.  Learn more about Patrick and Extension Forestry events coming up in Southwest Washington online at forestry.wsu.edu/sw.

By WSU Forestry Extension

Landscape-Based Forest Stewardship Planning for Chehalis Basin Forest Landowners

Chehalis River watershed forest

Do you have questions about managing your forestland property? Do you need assistance or are you interested in developing a forest stewardship/management plan for your property? Are you interested in attending landowner educational programs and events?

The Chehalis Basin Landscape Scale Restoration Project, a US Forest Service-funded project developed and implemented by Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Washington State University Extension, and the Grays Harbor Conservation District, aims to increase assistance to “family forests” in the Chehalis River Watershed. The Chehalis Basin-Landscape Scale Restoration Project will provide technical forestry assistance, local educational programs, and help with the development of forest stewardship plans for small forest landowners. The goals of the project are to increase the number of sustainably managed family forests using written forest management plans, educate landowners about watershed-wide resource conditions, and tie individual landowner objectives to landscape-scale resource management objectives.

Forest Stewardship
Forest Stewardship is a nationwide program providing advice and assistance to family forest owners.

A master forest stewardship plan will be used as the framework for the development of individual plans for participating landowners located within the Chehalis River Watershed. The master plan will provide information and assistance pertaining to landscape-level issues and guidance to achieve both individual and watershed-wide resource objectives. It also will help guide landowner education and encourage watershed-wide coordination and implementation of sustainable forestry practices.

What is Landscape Stewardship?

Solving issues affecting our forests often requires a joint effort across property boundaries and ownership types. Landscape stewardship involves collaboration among stakeholders in an identified area to help address landscape-level resource issues of mutual concern. A landscape stewardship approach proposes to collaboratively address landscape-scale challenges that threaten the health, productivity and sustainability of the natural resources within a given area. The Chehalis Watershed landscape stewardship effort encourages coordination of technical assistance and incentives for landowners to meet watershed-wide resource objectives.

Landscape Objectives

The Washington Statewide Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy (Forest Action Plan) has identified the Chehalis River Watershed as a high priority area because it contains the largest stock of salmonid species  and greatest total number of fish miles of stream for any given watershed in Washington state. The Forest Action Plan also identifies the upper and lower Chehalis watersheds as a high priority landscape because they contain a large portion of forestland identified as long-term working forests. These areas provide a high level of ecosystem services in regards to conserving biodiversity. They also help mitigate the negative environmental effects of increasing conversion of forestland in the area due to population growth.

Chehalis Basin landscape-level resource objectives include:

  • Conserve working forests
  • Protect forests from threats to health, productivity and sustainability
  • Enhance and restore fish and wildlife habitat
  • Improve water quality/quantity
  • Maximize wood fiber production
  • Enhance public benefits from trees and forests
  • Biodiversity and habitat conservation

Project Location

The Chehalis River Watershed is a landscape dominated by working forestland. Highly productive soils coupled with considerable annual rainfall support excellent tree growth throughout the watershed. Forest ownership consists of a mixture of state, private, tribal and federal lands.

Aberdeen
Timber, fishing and tourism are important industries in Aberdeen and rest of Grays Harbor County.

Private forestlands consist of both industrial timberland and non-industrial private forestland (small forest landowners). Industrial timberlands tend to be devoted primarily to commercial timber production while non-industrial forestland properties tend to be managed for a variety of objectives including timber production, recreation, wildlife habitat and aesthetics. The majority of forests in this region, including those of the Chehalis River Watershed, have undergone some form of management. A series of timber harvests followed by both natural and artificial reforestation have been recorded on most, if not all, timberlands within the watershed. Current timber types consist largely of even-aged Douglas-fir plantations, scattered hardwood production, and areas of mixed hardwood and conifer species.

The Chehalis River Watershed, with the exception of the Columbia River, is the largest river watershed in Washington, covering an area of approximately 2,613 square miles or 1,672,915 acres. The Chehalis River originates in the Willapa Hills and generally flows northwest, eventually depositing into Grays Harbor Bay at Aberdeen, approximately 125 miles downstream from its headwaters. The terrain ranges from relatively flat lowlands to rolling foothills to steep mountainous bluffs within the southern Olympic Mountains. Elevation ranges from sea level to around 5,000 feet above sea level, at its highest point within the Olympic National Forest. The watershed is home to an estimated 140,000 residents in seven counties (Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Mason, Thurston, Lewis, Cowlitz and Pacific). Several major river systems occur within its boundaries including the Chehalis, Humptulips, Hoquiam, Wishkah, Wynoochee, Satsop, Black, Skookumchuck, Newaukum and Elk rivers.

Benefits for Participating Landowners

Landowners who choose to take part in the project can receive:

  • Information and assistance for landscape-level issues and guidance to achieve both individual and watershed-wide resource objectives.
  • Assistance developing individual forest stewardship plans that meet Washington State Integrated Forest Management Plan Guidelines & Template, 2017.
  • Opportunities to attend educational programs including field days, winter schools and coached planning classes.
Julie Sackett, stewardship forester, DNR Small Forest Landowner Office
Julie Sackett (left), stewardship forester, DNR Small Forest Landowner Office.

For additional information regarding the Chehalis Basin Landscape Scale Restoration Project effort and/or to schedule a site visit please contact David Houk, service forester, Grays Harbor Conservation District (360) 249-8532 or ghcdforester@gmail.com or Julie Sackett, stewardship forester, DNR Small Forest Landowner Office (360) 902-2903 or julie.sackett@dnr.wa.gov. *

 

* If you own forestland outside the Chehalis River Watershed and are interested in developing a forest stewardship plan, attending an educational event, or are in need of forestry technical assistance, feel free to contact us.

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

Boyd Norton, DNR Stewardship Forester
Boyd Norton, DNR Stewardship Forester for northeast Washington.

DNR’s Northwest Washington Stewardship Forester Receives Washington Outstanding Tree Farm Inspector Of The Year Award

At this year’s Washington Farm Forestry Association’s Annual Meeting, Boyd Norton, a long-time DNR employee, was awarded the Washington State Tree Farm Program’s Outstanding Tree Farm Inspector of the Year Award for 2017. The award recognizes Boyd’s decades-long service as an inspector and dedicated supporter of the Washington Tree Farm Program.

Washington’s Tree Farm program is a state affiliate of the American Tree Farm System, a national third party certification program for forest landowners who meet a strict set of internationally recognized standards for producing certified wood. The program’s Certified Tree Farmers are required to manage their lands in a sustainable manner according to an approved written forest management plan. Periodic re-inspections by tree farm inspectors like Boyd ensure continuing compliance with program standards.

Tree Farm inspectors volunteer their time and perform considerable outreach efforts and inspections to educate the public and private landowners about the benefits of sustainable forestry.

Boyd started his career at DNR in the South Puget Sound Region in the spring of 1975. By 1977 he’d been twice promoted and moved to Pacific County in what was then DNR’s Central Region. After 14 years and two more promotions, Boyd relocated to northwest Washington where he’s been ever since.

Boyd has worked in a variety of DNR programs over the years including State Trust Land Management, Forest Practices, and assisting small forest landowners both as a Small Forest Landowner Office field specialist and two positions in the Forest Stewardship Program. In all of his career experiences Boyd’s first love has been working with small forest owners. It was that dedication that led him to his current position as the DNR stewardship forester for the northern half of western Washington, including northwest Washington, central Puget Sound, and the north Olympic peninsula.

Tami Miketa, Manager, Small Forest Landowner Office (SFLO)
Tami Miketa, Manager, Small Forest Landowner Office

First known as “farm foresters” in the 1950s and 60s, then “service foresters” in the 70s and 80s, and since 1990 as “stewardship foresters, DNR employees have supported the Tree Farm Program and provided forest management advice to family forest owners for nearly 70 years. Boyd Norton’s achievement is particularly noteworthy, since he is one of only two remaining stewardship foresters in western Washington due to the current low funding for the program following loss of all state funds during the recession. and concurrently declining federal funding.

The American Tree Farm Program has its roots in southwest Washington with the certification of nation’s very first Tree Farm near Montesano in 1941. It subsequently grew into the nationwide program that it is today. More information about the program is available at www.treefarmsystem.org

The Forest Stewardship Program is a nationwide program delivered in partnership between the USDA Forest Service and state forestry agencies.

Congratulations to Boyd for this fabulous honor!

Focus on Local Partnerships and Collaboratives

In our February newsletter, I introduced a new series of articles we will be spotlighting in our feature “Ways To Connect.” We are highlighting several local partnerships or collaborative natural resources management efforts across the state that have been formed as a framework for local citizens, interest groups, governments and other organizations collaboratively identify and solve local natural resource issues.

In this newsletter, we will be highlighting the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust. The Chehalis Basin is one of the most diverse watersheds in the state, with major tributaries draining the Willapa Hills to the west, the Cascade foothills to the east, glacial prairies to the northeast, and the Olympic Mountains to the north. It is the largest basin in Washington state outside of the Columbia Basin, and drains over 2,660 square miles. The Chehalis River Basin Land Trust holds over 4,400 acres for conservation, protection, and restoration in this important basin. Read more about this fine organization in Kylea Johnson’s article, “Chehalis River Basin Land Trust: Get to Know Us.”

By Tami Miketa, Manager, DNR Small Forest Landowner Office

Chehalis River Basin Land Trust: Get to know us

A Local Force

The Chehalis River Basin Land Trust is a nonprofit land conservation organization serving the Chehalis River Basin. The Land Trust was formed in 1992 by a group of citizens concerned about the health of waters and lands in the basin. Our mission is, “to conserve, protect, and restore ecologically significant lands within the Chehalis River Basin.”

To date we steward over 4,000 acres in the basin, an impressive feat for a Land Trust that has run on volunteer power for much of its 23-year life. Each of our parcels is walked at least once per year to monitor for issues that may harm the conservation value of the property. These issues commonly include invasive plant growth or human interference.

The Land Trust Community

Chehalis River Basin Land TrustMost of Washington state is served by a local land trust. Each land trust has a unique mission to conserve the landscapes most important to their service area. We operate under a national body, the Land Trust Alliance, which sets best practices for land trust governance.

While each land trust is unique, land trusts tend to conserve lands in one of two ways. Firstly, a land trust can own land outright, which we call “fee simple ownership.” These lands are purchased with help from funds provided by a variety of different resources.

Land trusts can also hold lands in conservation easement. Conservation easements work directly with a land owner to restrict certain uses on the land to protect conservation values. Easements are a result of a conversation with the landowner and are highly unique. The restrictions tend to include an agreement not to build on the land or damage the important habitat values. Land trusts often hold easements on working farms or forests in their service area.

In the case of an easement, the landowner continues to own all of the parcel. The easement describes both the restrictions and permitted uses, which may or may not be on the whole parcel. These documents remain connected to the title of the land in perpetuity, making them a popular option for concerned landowners. Easement donors can also receive significant tax breaks for their donations to the alliance.

 

Your Land, Your Land Trust

The Chehalis River Basin Land Trust is tasked with the entire basin—over 1.6 million acres. Much of this land remains in pristine condition. The Chehalis Land Trust is focused on maintaining the quality of the basin, particularly our water. Nearly all of our properties contain streams, river frontage, or valuable surge plain habitat. See our properties at chehalislandtrust.org/properties

 

Basin Education: Partnering with SFLO

The land trust serves our community in more ways than land conservation. We also provide free nature education events, membership programs, and volunteer opportunities.

This year we are able to provide monthly free nature education events with help from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The “Learnings from the Chehalis” series focuses on bringing the community out to see the unique places and explore issues in the Chehalis Basin. A special edition of “Learnings from the Chehalis” will take place this August in partnership with the SFLO program.

Forestland Resiliency: Meeting Future Challenges

Saturday, Aug. 5,
1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
72 Tornquist Rd,
McCleary, WA

We will tour a small, locally owned forest and learn about the big issues for local forests: threat of conversion, climate change, and biodiversity loss—with a focus on what landowners should know and actions they can take today to address these issues.

A team of forestry professionals will lead this talk, including Andrea Watts, Amy Ramsey, Jeff DeBell, Josh Meek and Julie Sackett.

Mark Your Calendars! Visit chehalislandtrust.org to see the full list of nature education events, and to reserve your FREE tickets!

 

Get Involved with Your Land Trust

You don’t have to be a landowner to get involved! Join us as a member, a volunteer, or a donor. It takes a village to maintain a healthy basin…

By Kylea Johnson, Programs Staff, Chehalis River Basin Land Trust

 

Two DNR Programs Helping to Conserve Forestland in the Chehalis Basin

Wynoochee River
A FREP easement along the Wynoochee River, a major tributary to the Chehalis River.

Recently, the Chehalis Basin Partnership was featured in an edition of the Small Forest Landowner News. One of the partnership’s stated goals is to keep forestry on the land because of its contributions to the basin’s environment and economy. Part of the Chehalis Basin Strategy is to improve river habitat and restore river banks. There are two programs administered by the Small Forest Landowner Office that are available to forest landowners, both large and small, that can help achieve these goals. Read on to learn about the Forestry Riparian Easement Program, and the Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program, and how they help not only forest landowners, but also the goals of the Chehalis Basin Partnership.

 

Forestry Riparian Easement Program: Designed for Small Landowners

The Forestry Riparian Easement Program (FREP) is available solely to small forest landowners who own at least 20 acres. The 1999 Legislature established FREP to help small forest landowners who may have seen the economic viability of their forestland reduced due increasing regulations. Small forest landowners—those who harvest less than two million board feet of timber per year—are eligible to apply to FREP. This program will reimburse landowners for 50 percent or more of the value of qualifying timber that is required to be left along fish bearing and non-fish bearing perennial streams, as well as certain wetlands. In return, the landowners grant the DNR a 50-year conservation easement on the trees in the riparian area. This program is on a first come, first served basis, and is funded based on the date of a complete application to the program.

In the Chehalis Basin, FREP has purchased 52 easements, with several more waiting for funding. These 52 easements protect of a total of 356 acres of riparian management zones (RMZ) around fish and non-fish perennial water, 196 acres of channel migration zones (CMZ), 43 acres of wetland management zones (WMZ), and 13 acres of unstable slopes adjacent to RMZs, CMZs or WMZs, for a total of over 600 acres of riparian forestland conserved. This also translates into protection for over 20 miles of streams and rivers in the basin.

 

Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program: Protecting Critical Habitat

A channel migration zone (CMZ) on the Satsop River
A channel migration zone (CMZ) on the Satsop River.

The Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program (RHOSP) is available to small and large forest landowners alike. This program differs in a few important ways from FREP. First, this program is specifically for protecting channel migration zones and critical habitat for State-listed threatened or endangered species. RMZs, WMZs and unstable slopes are not specifically eligible (although potentially may be included as critical habitat). A landowner is reimbursed for 100 percent of the qualifying timber value, and grants the State a perpetual easement on the trees in the area identified as eligible. Unlike FREP, this program is not first come-first served, but is ranked by a committee based on conservation benefits and landowner management options.

The easements in this program tend to be for larger dollar amounts, and the program receives less funding from the Legislature, which results in fewer easement purchases. There are two RHOSP easements within the Chehalis Basin, one within a CMZ on the Satsop River, and one within the CMZ of the Humptulips River. Together, these easements conserve an additional 57 acres of CMZ within the basin, and over two miles of additional stream length. One of these easements was granted to a large forest landowner, and one to small forest landowner.

If you own forestland, and think you might be interested in any one of these programs, please don’t hesitate to email me for more information. You may also contact your local landowner assistance or stewardship forester for more information as well.

By Matt Provencher, Conservation Easement Program Coordinator, DNR Small Forest Landowner Office, matthew.provencher@dnr.wa.gov

Wanted: Your Ideas for Rural Economic Partnerships

The Rural Communities Partnership Initiative, announced last month by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, announced is looking for your suggestions to help answer this question: How can DNR use its considerable land assets and expertise with communities around the state to create new economic opportunities, especially in communities that reply on the natural resources industry.

“The land feeds us in so many ways and we need to nurture it so that it will continue to provide for us far into the future,” Franz says. “We will bring innovation and partnership to get the most value out of those public lands for our communities’ quality of life, even as we sustain these landscapes. This approach replaces the outmoded paradigm of ‘economy OR environment’ with ‘economy AND environment.’”

Franz issued a standing invitation to communities around the state to partner with DNR on potential development projects that can stimulate local economies in sustainable, clean ways. From innovative farming methods to forest restoration to recreation to clean energy, no prospective project is too small for consideration. Suggestions and inquiries for those interested in the program can be made at dnr.wa.gov/rcpi.

We hope you will take a few minutes to offer your suggestions.

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

NOTE: The article “Ways to Connect: The Chehalis Basin Partnership and Lead Entity”   by Kirsten Harma, Watershed Coordinator, Chehalis Basin Partnership, was mistakenly attributed to another author when first posted in February 2017. Our apologies for this error.

In this edition of our quarterly newsletter, the Small Forest Landowner Office introduces a new series called “Ways To Connect.” This series will highlight several local partnerships or collaborative natural resources management efforts across the state that have formed as frameworks for local citizens, interest groups and government organizations to work collaboratively to identify and solve local natural resource issues.

The groups we will feature have diverse memberships: cities, counties, tribes, state agencies, federal agencies, and citizen stakeholders, among others. These partnerships enable local people to deal with the unique social, political and ecological problems their communities might face and find solutions ideal to their situation. Local partnerships are incredibly beneficial, not only for the health of the environment but also for the well-being of the stakeholders and the community.

Local partnerships generally share a few key assumptions:

  • Locals are better placed to conserve natural resources,
  • People will conserve a resource if benefits exceed the costs of conservation, and
  • People will conserve a resource that is linked directly to their quality of life.

When quality of life is enhanced, efforts and commitment to ensure the future well-being of the resource are also enhanced. Local partnerships also are hailed as a way to reduce conflict among stakeholders; build social capital; allow environmental, social, and economic issues to be addressed in tandem; and produce better decisions.

The natural resource challenges that face us today, from threats of forest conversion to water and air quality degradation, appear almost impossible to resolve through parties working in isolation. These partnerships may be unilateral, where people from similar backgrounds work collaboratively and cooperatively on a shared problem or opportunity, for example, a growers’ or fishers’ cooperative. They may be bilateral, where the partners come from two different backgrounds, for example, a rural land care group where partners, predominantly from a single primary industry group, work with government. Or they may be multilateral, where the partners come from several different backgrounds, as is the case with estuary, coastal and catchment management groups.

In this edition we introduce the Chehalis Basin Partnership. The Chehalis Basin Partnership was formed in 1998 to provide a framework for local citizens, interest groups and government organizations to work collaboratively to identify and solve water-related issues. Please read Kirsten Harma’s article and see how partnerships work in the Chehalis Basin and how partnerships may work in your own community.

By Tami Miketa, Manager, DNR Small Forest Landowner Office