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by Kelly Smith, NNRG volunteer On a cool and misty morning last September, Kirk Hanson and I visited Jackrabbit Farm in Southwest Washington. Kirk, Northwest Natural Resource Group’s Director of Forestry, needed to make observations and gather data for a new forest management plan for the farm, which had recently been funded through the USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). My presence on this visit was due to my interest in “job shadowing” him on a site with elements of agroforestry and permaculture. As we drove down the forested driveway, a wild rabbit hopped across our path, welcoming us to
2016 was an incredible year for Northwest Certified Forestry members and the forests they steward. Because of the dedicated community of ecologically-minded woodland owners, Pacific Northwest forests are healthier, more resilient homes for wildlife and people alike. Here are some highlights of our year: Accomplishments: We hosted 11 workshops on ecologically-based forest management, precision tree-felling, forest monitoring, and programs for natural resource professionals and engaged 267 participants. We conducted more than 92 site visits to forest landowners – including NCF members and beginning woodland owners. We completed 6 ecologically-based thinning projects across 65 acres We oversaw 4 forest restoration projects involving inter-planting, pre-commercial
Along the rocky shores of Orcas Island, YMCA Camp Orkila is a special place where the forest meets the sea. Campers describe the iconic Northwest destination as magical, Neverland, and Oz. The YMCA offers camp programs by summer and outdoor environmental education programs in the spring and fall, serving more than 17,000 campers and students each year. The iconic camp is a San Juan destination for fun, outdoor exploration, and learning. It’s also on its way to becoming a showcase demonstration forest for ecologically-based stewardship. Camp Orkila is a Conservation Member of NNRG’s Northwest Certified Forestry program, stewarding more than 170 acres of forest within the
Summer is the perfect time for major forest management activities like thinning trees, controlling weeds, and maintaining roads. Performing these stewardship activities in the dry season when sap flow is low will reduce damage to residual trees while minimizing soil compaction and other effects on forest ecosystems. Steward your Forest Clear winter debris from roads and trails for recreation and forest maintenance access. Conduct pre-commercial and commercial thinning. Be sure to wait until mid-June when the sap flow slows down as the bark on your trees is more vulnerable to damage until that time. Birds tend to fledge through July, so
Depending on the state of your forest, fuel reduction and forest slash treatments may be ways you can improve your forest’s health and fire resilience. We’ve identified cost-share programs, funding, and other resources, as well as information on how to do-it-yourself. Forest slash treatment is becoming a necessity in many forests due to historic fire suppression and the trees and vegetation that have grown since (more dense, often comprised of more species less resistant to fire). Fire suppression has led to many overstocked forests that become serious fire hazards during the increasingly dry summer season. Methods to reduce fire fuels range from removal
NNRG is kicking off a series about cost-share programs and resources available to woodland owners in Oregon and Washington. Over the next six weeks we’ll be sharing information about resources to fund stewardship activities in your forest. We’re focusing on the topics you’ve told us are important to you: developing management plans, improving timber quality, planting native trees and shrubs, removing invasive species, reducing fuel loads, and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat. We’re timing this series with the cutoff for 2016 EQIP funding in Washington State. This year, the Washington EQIP deadline is October 16, 2015. In Oregon, the cutoff
The iconic Skagit Watershed is important to all of us for its production of timber, food, and fisheries. It is also significant in that it is the only river system in the Puget Sound region to support all five species of Pacific salmon. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Northwest Natural Resource Group (NNRG) are collaborating to help woodland owners assess forest health and evaluate stream habitat and forest roads. Through this partnership we are reaching out to landowners in the Skagit Watershed to provide one-on-one site visits, workshops, and technical assistance. This project is supported by our partners: Skagit Conservation District,
The Washington State cutoff for 2016 EQIP funding is Friday, July 17, 2015 (Edit: The 2016 EQIP deadline has been extended to October 16, 2015 in WA. The Oregon 2016 EQIP deadline is January 15, 2016.) The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a technical and financial assistance program managed by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. EQIP is a cost-share reimbursement program that helps forest owners pay for a certain amount of a conservation practice by reimbursing landowners for a percentage of agreed to costs. Forest owners use EQIP to pay for materials, equipment, consultants, and labor to complete practices (see the list below).
NNRG returned to the San Juans this spring, this time assisting Camp Orkila prepare for pre-commercial thinning as well as develop a forest management plan for Satellite Island. Kirk Hanson, Director of Forestry, spent the better part of a day on Satellite Island, a 116-acre remote camping island owned by the YMCA that is nestled along the northern side of Stuart Island, approximately 8 miles NW of Orcas Island. The YMCA received EQIP funding to hire NNRG to develop a forest management plan for Satellite Island. Camp Orkila acquired Satellite Island in the late 1940’s as a gift from the
Becoming a TSP can leverage resources for you to help existing clients and expand your network for conservation projects. This 2-day workshop will provide an overview of EQIP and assist participants through the TSP application process. If you’ve heard of EQIP and the TSP program offered by NRCS, but aren’t sure what they entail this workshop may be of interest. Northwest Natural Resource Group is hosting a workshop to assist natural resource professionals in becoming Technical Service Providers (TSP) for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). TSPs have technical expertise in conservation planning and design for a variety of activities
Butler Family Forest, Olympia, WA Nestled along Pants Creek and the Capital Forest near Olympia sits a 40 acre FSC® certified forest owned by Paul and Peggy Butler, and Jim Stroh and Jan Yancy. Paul, a retired Evergreen State College professor, and his partners bought the property from another former Evergreen professor in 1990 and believes that the property had not been thinned or logged in over fifty years. The property hosts a mix of mature Douglas-fir, western red cedar, western hemlock, red alder and big-leaf maple, as well as dense thickets of young, small diameter alder and vine maple.
Sasquatch Farm, Montesano, WA By Neva Knott, edited by NNRG Often when we think of a family forest, we envision grandparents or parents passing the land from generation to generation. Some family forests grow differently, such as Sasquatch Farm, founded by brother and sister, Garry and Nancy Dale. In 2001, the siblings purchased the 60-acre farm nestled on the bank of the Wynoochee River near Montesano. The third of a mile of river frontage appealed to Garry, a fisherman and fish biologist; while Nancy was drawn to its proximity to her alma mater, Evergreen State College. The duo embarked on
Bethlehem Lutheran Church forestland, Belfair, WA Story told by Neva Knott, edited by NNRG What would you do if you inherited over one hundred acres of forestland in need of restoration? Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Marysville, WA was faced with this quandary when a member of the congregation bequeathed 132 acres of Hood Canal forestland to the Church. The land had been logged heavily in the 1970s and received minimal attention in the interim years. This lack of replanting and management of timberland on productive soils resulted in a tangle of brushy understory and densely growing trees; with nothing