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

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

Your Small Forest Landowner Office (SFLO) continues its rebound by filling two new positions. First, is our new landowner technical assistance forester for western Washington: Josh Meek. Josh will provide technical assistance on forest practices-related questions to small forest landowners throughout western Washington.

This newly created position will provide on-site technical assistance to small forest landowners who need to understand the state’s Forest Practices Rules and navigate the Forest Practices application process. Now, we can assist landowners with unit layout, riparian management zone (RMZ) delineation, harvest systems, road layout, alternate plans, 20-acre exempt harvest activities, long-term applications, low impact harvest activities… just about any general forest practices-related question. In addition to outreach to landowners, Josh will assist with forestry education around our state’s west side.

Josh Meek, SFLO Technical Assistance Forester.
Josh Meek, SFLO Technical Assistance Forester.

Josh comes to us with a bachelor of science in education and a master’s in forestry from the University of Montana. He also has several years of forestry experience working with both state and federal governments. For the past two and a half years Josh has worked in DNR’s South Puget Sound Region in both State Lands and Forest Practices. There is such a great need to help small forest landowners complete their Forest Practices Applications and help them through the process. I am glad that we will have an outstanding person who can fill this important task! If you are interested in using Josh’s services, please contact him at joshua.meek@dnr.wa.gov or call him at (360) 902-1849.

Jeremy Homer, SFLO Family Forest Fish Passage Program Specialist.
Jeremy Homer, SFLO Family Forest Fish Passage Program Specialist.

I am also pleased to announce that Jeremy Homer has accepted the natural resource specialist 2 position in the Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP). Jeremy has a great understanding of forest practices rules and regulations and will oversee FFFPP road-crossing construction. In addition to assisting landowners with stream typing and fish barrier evaluations, Jeremy will play an important role in helping to coordinate the public outreach for the program. Jeremy has worked in DNR’s Pacific Cascade Region for the last 9 years and comes to us with a wealth of experience in forest practices and timber sales. Let’s all welcome Jeremy and Josh to the SFLO team!

At the SFLO we are slowly regaining the staffing levels we had in previous years, and bringing these new positions on board is a great start to improving our services to you.

Do You Own Forestland?

forest-field-day-newport 2015Are you interested in learning more about programs that you may be eligible for as a small forest landowner?

The Small Forest Landowner Office (SFLO) offers assistance to landowners to help protect and promote the ecological and economic viability of your forestland. Our office strives to provide landowners with the knowledge and advice you need to meet your forest management objectives.

Click here to view our brochure and explore the programs that you may be eligible for!

Small Forest Landowner Office Wants to Hear from You

The SFLO takes the lead on serving as a focal point for small forest landowner concerns and policies. We’re here to answer any questions you may have, and are dedicated to providing you with useful and focused information about managing forestland.

We also want to better understand the people we work for and their forestlands. So please,

  • Send us topics that you would like to be included in future editions of SFLO News. We can be reached by phone at 360-902-1849) and email at sflo@dnr.wa.gov
  • Visit our webpage:  www.dnr.wa.gov/sflo
  • And take a moment to complete our Small Forest Landowner Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/SFLOSurvey . Your answers help us direct our work in supporting your forest goals and are not shared outside our office.

New Hires Helping Small Forest Landowner Office Improve Services

by Tami Miketa, Manager, Small Forest Landowner Office

We have some good news regarding our staffing levels here in the Small Forest Landowner Office (SFLO). We are growing! More precisely, we are getting back up to speed with the staffing necessary to serve you.

Whitney Butler
Whitney Butler was recently hired as a Natural Resources Specialist by the DNR Small Forest Landowner Office. Photo: DNR

The SFLO is beginning the recruitment process for a new Specialist position. This person will serve as our technical expert in western Washington. The job’s duties will include providing on-the-ground technical consultative services to help small forest landowners understand the forest practices rules and to share technical advice with landowners including information about:

  • Timber harvest systems,
  • Small forest landowner alternate plan templates,
  • 20-acre exempt harvest activities,
  • Long-term applications,
  • Low impact harvest activities,
  • Road construction techniques, and
  • Other support to landowners related to state forest practices rules.

This person also will oversee the development of educational curricula and the numerous outreach activities administered by the Small Forest Landowner Office. We can see that there is a great need for small forest landowners to get help completing their forest practices applications and navigate the application and permit process. I am glad that we will soon have someone on staff who can fulfill these important tasks! We anticipate having a person in this newly created position on team by June.

Other New Hires to Assist You

Chris Briggs
Chris Briggs was recently hired as a Natural Resources Specialist by the DNR Small Forest Landowner Office. Photo: DNR

The SFLO recently hired two Natural Resource Specialist’s: Chris Briggs and Whitney Butler. Chris and Whitney will help the program identify all of the qualifying timber for each FREP application on the program’s waiting list. They will then oversee cruise contracts to determine the value of the qualifying timber for each FREP application. This is an important step for the program, and the landowner, to ensure that the value of the qualifying timber in each FREP application is captured in an expeditious manner. Funds for the program’s easement purchases and staff were included in $3.5 million the State Capital Budget’s $3.5 million appropriation to the Forestry Riparian Easement Program for the FY15-17 biennium.

Finally, the SFLO plans to hire an additional Natural Resource Specialist to help another of our treasured programs — the Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP) — process FFFPP applications, conduct fish barrier evaluations and, most importantly, conduct extensive outreach to small forest landowners. It is anticipated this new position will join our team by June. Funds for the program’s matching grants and staffing were included in the $5 million appropriated to FFFPP in the State Capital Budget for the FY15-17 biennium.

The SFLO is slowly regaining the staffing levels we had in previous years, and bringing these new positions on board this spring is a great start to what we hope will be a fruitful and productive year for small forest landowners and DNR.

Change is Coming…

SFL Newsletter

Beginning this month, the Small Forest Landowners Newsletter will go from being published bi-monthly to quarterly. The reason for the change is to better mesh with the publication schedule for WSU’s newsletter Forest Stewardship Notes. See you in July!

DNR Website

DNR is planning a new website. Your help is key to making sure it will work well for yourself and others. Please take three minutes to answer five simple questions on our online survey about how you would navigate the site to find what you’re looking for.

To share more about your website needs, send an email to carrie.mccausland@dnr.wa.gov.

Landowner Assistance Fish and Wildlife Biologist Ken Bevis receives Wildlife Society’s Partnership Award

KenBevis
Ken Bevis, a DNR Landowner Assistance Fish and Wildlife Biologist, received the Wildlife Society’s Partnership Award. recently. Photo: DNR.

At the recent Annual Meeting of the Washington Chapter of the Wildlife Society, our own Landowner Assistance Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Ken Bevis, received the Wildlife Society’s Partnership Award. The Partnership Award recognizes an outstanding accomplishment by a person or organization for working with and establishing partnerships that otherwise would not have existed or functioned as well without their initiative, and which has resulted in significant advancement of wildlife conservation.

Ken has forged a strong partnership with staff working in the Firewise and Forest Health Cost Share programs here at DNR. He has been able to show that creating defensible space around homes, improving the health of a landowner’s forest, as well as creating valuable wildlife habitat can all be mutually accomplished at the same time.

In the past, the notion of maintaining small brush patches, protecting large woody debris or creating forest openings were not part of the management prescriptions for maintaining defensible space or improving forest health. In fact, most staff believed that these habitat features needed to be removed. But Ken’s ability to show staff that these important habitat components can be maintained at the same time, and still provide the defensible space and forest health benefits has opened the eyes and the minds of many DNR staff. Ken now works in close collaboration with Firewise Foresters and forest health foresters on a regular basis. They are regularly co-presenters at a number of workshops, field events, and educational courses throughout the state.

Ken is an experienced naturalist and biologist with over 26 years of technical fish and wildlife management experience. Ken also works very closely with WSU Extension foresters on a number of educational events such as Coached Planning Courses, Forest Health Workshops, Forest Owner’s Field Days, and many other educational venues. One of Ken’s strongest assets is his communication skills. Ken is an award winning communicator and has a keen interest in listening to landowner’s needs and interests and taking that information and applying it appropriately. He is an accomplished public speaker and has outstanding interpersonal communication skills. He is extremely effective in relationship building with both internal and external staff, stakeholders, and is highly regarded for his professionalism among his co-workers and colleagues.

The inter-program partnerships that Ken has fostered within DNR, combined with the many external partnerships he’s built over the years, made him an exceptional choice for the Washington Wildlife Society’s Partnership Award. The Small Forest Landowner Office and the Forest Stewardship Program are very lucky to have Ken on our team. Congratulations Ken!

By Tami Miketa, Manager of the Small Forest Landowner Office

Small Forest Landowners Needed to Help in Fisher Recovery

Fisher whole

The fisher (Pekania pennanti) is one of the larger members of the weasel family and is only found in North America’s boreal and temperate forests. Through excessive trapping and habitat loss, fishers were eliminated from Washington state by the mid-1900s. The species is currently listed as endangered in the state of Washington and is under consideration for listing as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has been working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Park Service, US Geological Survey and the US Forest Service to help Fisher maprecover the fisher. Recovery areas have been identified for the Olympic and Cascade ranges. Successful reintroductions occurred in Olympic National Park from 2008 to 2010 and reintroductions are planned in Mount Rainier National Park and Gifford Pinchot National Forest in the South Cascades for late 2015. Two to three years later, reintroductions will follow in the North Cascades (North Cascades National Park and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest).

In addition to reintroducing the species, WDFW has been preparing for the potential federal listing by developing a voluntary conservation approach for private landowners – a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA). Simply stated, those who agree to take certain measures to protect fishers would not be subject to future land-use restrictions that might result if the species is listed under the ESA.

How Can Forest Landowners Help?

Wildlife managers are seeking help from forest landowners to work as partners in the recovery of fishers in Washington state. Forest landowners can qualify for this type of conservation agreement by voluntarily signing on to the CCAA administered by WDFW. Proposed conservation measures applicable to all enrollees include:

  • Allowing WDFW access to your property to monitor fishers and their den sites
  • Providing protection to denning females and their young by avoiding disturbance around known denning sites while occupied (generally between the months of March and September)

WDFW will submit its draft CCAA template to USFWS in April 2015. The federal review and approval process will begin, which will include a public review process. Once approved, landowners can sign on to the CCAA until such time as fishers become listed under the federal ESA.

Species Information

Fisher on TreeThe species is dark brown and has a long bushy tail, short rounded ears, short legs, and a low-to-the-ground appearance. Fishers mate from late March to early May, with females giving birth to a litter of 1 to 4 kits the following year. While birthing dens are always in cavities of live trees, females may move the kits to other den structures, including cavities in snags or downed logs, or to log piles or ground burrows. Fishers prey on small mammals such as deer mice, voles, and squirrels throughout their 25-to-50 square mile2 home ranges.

They prefer low- and mid-elevation forests with moderate to dense canopy closure and an abundance of large woody structures such as cavity trees, snags, and downed logs.

For more information on the fisher, the CCAA and enrolling in the program, please contact Gary Bell by phone at 360-902-2412 or via email at Gary.Bell@dfw.wa.gov

By Terry Jackson, WDFW Forest Habitats Section Manager