Category Archives: News

Colville NF revised forest plan objection resolution meetings April 24-26

A moose roams in a meadow on the Colville National Forest in Washington state, in this Oct. 5, 2013 file photo. USDA Forest Service photo.

COLVILLE, Wash. –  Objection resolution meetings regarding the proposed revisions to the Colville National Forest’s Forest Land Management Plan (“Forest Plan”) are scheduled for April 24-26, 2019 in Colville, Wash.

Meetings will take place April 24 and 25, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day, at Spokane Community College – Colville; and April 26, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Stevens County Ambulance Training Center.

The meetings are open to the public for observation.

Discussions during the meeting will be opened to eligible objectors (those who filed during the objection-filing period, which closed Nov. 6, 2018) and interested persons granted recognition by the reviewing officer after submitting a letter of interest during the advertised notice period (which closed Nov. 26, 3018). If you believe you have status as an objector or eligible person but have not been notified, or if you have other questions about the forest planning or objections process, contact
hollyahutchinson@fs.fed.us.

Background:

The 60-day objection-filing period began on September 8, 2018, after the Forest Service published its legal notice in The Seattle Times, which is the newspaper of record for Regional Forester decisions in the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service in the state of Washington. The objections-filing period closed on November 6, 2018. View submitted objections here.

The Forest Service has published the revised Forest Plan , supported by a Final Environmental Impact Statement. The draft Record of Decision and other supporting documents are available on this website.

The purpose of the revised Forest Plan is to provide an updated framework to guide the management of approximately 1.1 million acres of National Forest System lands in northeastern Washington.

The revised Plan replaces the existing 1988 Plan, addressing changes in local economic, social, and environmental conditions over the past 30 years.

The proposed revision honors the time and energy invested by diverse interests since the plan revision process began in 2004. The Forest Service received 926 letters containing over 2,000 comments regarding the draft EIS in 2016. In response to substantive formal comments, and following further public engagement in 2016-17, the Forest Service modified the preferred alternative (“Alternative P”) to better reflect public input on recommended wilderness, livestock grazing, and recreation.

Before the final decision is made on the revised Forest Plan, the Forest Service follows the requirements of 36 CFR 219.5 for a pre-decisional administrative review, which provides an opportunity for the resolution of objections.

Visit the Objection Reading Room to view eligible objection letters. These letters were received or postmarked by the deadline (November 6, 2018) and met the objection filing requirements. The Reviewing Officer sent a notification letter to each eligible objector to confirm acceptance of their objection for further review.

Eligible objectors have an opportunity to participate in objection-resolution meetings, and will also receive a final written response from the Reviewing Officer after the review is complete.

Written requests for recognition as an interested person (36 CFR 219.57) must meet the requirements and were required to be submitted by 11:59 pm EST on November 26, 2018. (Please see the legal notice in The Seattle Times for more information).

Eligible interested persons who have been granted recognition by the Reviewing Officer will be able to participate in discussions with Objectors and the Reviewing Officer related to issues on the meeting agenda that interested persons have listed in their requests.

The meetings also are also open to observation by the public.

For documents, updates, and additional information about the Colville National Forest Land Management Plan (“Forest Plan”) revision process, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/colville/landmanagement/planning/?cid=stelprd3824594


Source information: Colville National Forest staff report.

Future biologists awarded Forest Service -sponsored Skanner Foundation scholarships

Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa, 2nd from left, poses with the USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Region's Skanner Foundation scholarship recipients Ganiyat Karimu, center, and Nikki Nguyen, second from left, and De La Salle North Catholic High School officials following a reception at the agency's regional office March 13, 2019 in Portland, Ore. USDA Forest Service photo by Scott Batchelder.

PORTLAND, Ore. – March 27, 2019 – A pair of future biologists are the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region’s selectees for 2019 Skanner Foundation scholarships.

Nikki Nguyen and Ganiyat Karimu, both seniors at De La Salle North Catholic High School in Portland, Ore., were recognized March 13 during a reception at the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, also in Portland, where the agency’s regional office is based.

Nguyen has a 4.0 grade point average, and is an active volunteer in her community.

“I do a lot with people,” she said. “One of the things I do is volunteer at a soup kitchen, where I serve meals for homeless people. I also volunteer at a church where every Friday night, they do a dinner for vulnerable women, (and) distribute hygiene products.”

She also works part-time at an OB-GYN clinic as part of a school-sponsored internship.

Nguyen has been accepted at Oregon State University, and said she plans to study biology and is considering a career in medicine, where she can explore how people interact with their environment and the impact of those interactions on their health.

She credits her mom for inspiring her interest in science.

“When she was younger she wanted to be a nurse and was always talking to me about how interested she was in biology and chemistry,” Nguyen said. “But I was also interested for my own sake, because I was very interested in living things, whether it was bacteria, or plants and animals.”

Karimu currently maintains a 3.94 grade point average, and has been accepted to Charles R. Drew University.

She’s also an active volunteer, and recently completed her second summer in a three-year internship at the Oregon Zoo, where she has worked in support of conservation education programs.

Last year, that work included mentoring youth from under-served communities, and leading overnight camping trips in the Columbia River Gorge and nearby state parks for the zoo’s UNO (Urban Nature Overnights) program.

“When I was younger, I wasn’t really interested in the forest,” she said. I was a city girl. The city trees were enough for me. Going out in the woods, with no electricity, wasn’t really my idea of relaxing. Volunteering with the zoo has changed that for me – I’ve jumped out of my comfort zone, a huge distance. (But) being at places like Eagle Creek, it showed me the peace (to be found) in nature,” she said.

Karimu and Nguyen both said they plan to study biology in college, and that they are trying to keep their options open, but have a strong interest in medicine and public health.

“I’m a question asker. I ask many questions. I know that I want to know the ‘why’ to everything. That pulls me to science, and what pulls me to biology is you can see the ‘why,’” Karimu said. “You can see it in the animal’s adaptation, for example.”

The Skanner Foundation partners with organizations throughout region to recognize high-potential students in Pacific Northwest region, and presents scholarships during the foundation’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in Portland, Ore.

The USDA Forest Service is the foundation’s first federal partner, and sponsored two $1500 scholarships in both the 2018 and 2019 awards years.

Because the 2019 breakfast took place during the federal government shutdown, the Forest Service was unable to provide a representative at this year’s breakfast to present Karimu and Nguyen with their awards.

During the March 13 reception, Regional Forester, Glenn Casamassa said he wanted to ensure the students understood how much the agency values them, and values its investment in their future.

For more information about the Skanner Foundation and the foundation’s scholarship program, visit www.theskanner.com and use the links listed under the “Foundation” tab.


Source information: USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region staff report.

USDA Forest Service releases final instructions on objections for Blue Mountains Forest Plan revisions

PORTLAND, Ore. – March 14, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service has released final objection instructions for the Umatilla, Malheur, and Wallowa-Whitman Forest Plan Revisions.

The Regional Forester has been instructed to withdraw the draft Record of Decision, Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and the three Revised Plans.

Forest Service Acting Deputy Chief and Reviewing Officer Chris French issued a letter to Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa explaining his instruction.

“Many factors compounded to produce revised plans that would be difficult to implement,” French wrote. “While my review did not identify any specific violations of law, regulation, or policy, significant changes occurred over the 15-year time period of the planning process.”

French said that a number of plan modifications occurred that were often complex and not well understood, and there were a number of changes in organizations, stakeholders, and key Forest Service staff.

The Revised Plans also did not fully account for the unique social and economic needs of local communities in the area.

“The resulting plans are very difficult to understand, and I am concerned that there will be ongoing confusion and disagreement as to how each Revised Plan is to be implemented,” French said.

The Forest Plans for the Umatilla, Malheur, and Wallowa-Whitman have been under revision for nearly 15 years.

The Final EIS, three Revised Plans, and the draft Record of Decision were released in June 2018 for the pre-decisional objection process.

Approximately 350 objections were filed on a variety of issues, most significant being access and travel management, impacts of the plan decisions on local communities, the Aquatic and Riparian Conservation Strategy, wildlife issues, and forest management.

Objection resolution meetings were held in five different communities in November and December of 2018. Over 300 people participated voicing concerns and clarifying objections on a wide variety of issues.

“I recognize the hard work and commitment of your employees over the last 15 years,” French wrote. “I also realize how much dedication, energy, time, and effort that the public has put into this process. I am confident that the information and data collected and analyzed, as well as the breadth of objection issues, can be used to inform our next steps.”

Existing Land and Resource Management Plans, as amended, will remain in place as the Forest Service determines next steps for the Umatilla, Malheur, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests.

In the coming months, Forest Service officials will engage stakeholders to explore ways of working together to support a path forward on shared priorities including strengthening local economies, reducing wildfire risk, ensuring access, and supporting healthier watersheds.

“We are committed to the responsible stewardship of National Forest System lands and confident that we can find common ground for the long-term sustainable management of these forests,” said Regional Forester Casamassa. “I look forward to joining local and state officials, partners, Tribes, and members of the public to explore how we can best work together in shared stewardship to pursue common objectives.”

More information on the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision Objection and Resolution Process can be found here.


Source information: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region staff (press release)

Teens: Apply now for Youth Conservation Corps summer 2019!

youth wearing hard hats, holding shovels

Youth ages 15-18 who are interested in serving on Youth Conservation Corps crews working on forests in eastern, central and southern Oregon should check out the USDA Forest Service’s Youth Conservation Corps information page, which includes a link to current summer, 2019 job openings – including several in eastern, central and southern Oregon.

Applications are being accepted by USDA Forest Service partners for youth interested in serving on non-residential crews that will work on the Umatilla National Forest’s Heppner Ranger District (Heppner, OR), Willamette National Forest’s Middle Fork Ranger District (Oakridge, OR), and on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests (various districts; crews based in Bend, Prineville, Madras, Redmond, Warm Springs, Sistsers, Crescent, and LaPine, OR).

Non-residential crew members live in their local community and provide their own transportation to the ranger district office or other assigned meeting locations for transportation to the work site; lodging and living stipends are not provided.

The U.S. Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is a summer youth employment program that engages young people, ages 15-18, in meaningful work experiences on national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and fish hatcheries.

Youth are engaged in fun, exciting work projects designed to develop an ethic of environmental stewardship and civic responsibility such as: building and repairing trails, preserving and repairing historic buildings, removing invasive species, helping with wildlife and land research, and leading environmental education.

YCC supports the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, or 21CSC, mission to put thousands of America’s young people to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s great outdoors.

Applicants must be:

  • At least 15 years old at the start of enrollment and must not reach age 19 before completion of the program
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., its territories, or possessions
  • Able to obtain a work permit as required under the laws of the applicant’s home state
  • Have a valid U.S. Social Security number or have applied for a valid Social Security number
  • Able to fulfill the essential functions of the assigned work with or without reasonable accommodations
  • Actively committed and willing to complete the assigned work projects

For more information and a link to current YCC job listings, visit: https://www.fs.fed.us/working-with-us/opportunities-for-young-people/youth-conservation-corps-opportunities?fbclid=IwAR2MZYpTQI907tbBxQylU0hvKlUItx-WUPEuIVHF9vRT7cuEn8Bmih8wYtk


Source information: USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region staff report

Forest Service seasonal hire applications open March 4-6

Field Ranger talking with visitors at Devils Churn, Cape Perpetua, Siuslaw National Forest,

PORTLAND, Ore. — March 1, 2019 —  The USDA Forest Service is accepting additional applications for selected seasonal employment opportunities March 4-6, 2019.

Applications will be accepted for identified positions across Washington and Oregon that were not filled during the agency’s initial round of 2019 seasonal hiring.

Seasonal employment opportunities will be listed on www.usajobs.gov March 4-6 for the summer, 2019 season. Prospective applicants should refer to individual job listings for more details about specific positions.

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area:

Hood River, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Recreation)

Stevenson, WA
TEMP-GS-0025-04-Park Ranger

Colville National Forest:

Colville, WA
TEMP-GS-0817-03-Survey Aid

Kettle Falls, WA
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-1001-04-Visitor Information Assistant
TEMP-GS-0102-05-Archaeology Technician

Metaline Falls, WA
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)

Republic, WA
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Timber Stand Improvement)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0102-05-Archaeology Technician

Deschutes National Forest:

Bend, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Seed Extractory)

Crescent, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)

Redmond, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Fire Dispatch)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Fire Dispatch)
TEMP-GS-2151-05-Automotive Equipment Dispatcher (Logistics)

Sisters, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)

Fremont-Winema National Forest:

Chiloquin, OR
TEMP-WG-3502-02-Laborer
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)
TEMP-GS-0193-09-Archaeologist

Lakeview, OR
TEMP-WG-3502-02-Laborer
TEMP-GS-0802-05-Engineering Technician (Civil)
TEMP-WG-5716-08-Engineering Equipment Operator (CDL Required)

Paisley, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)

Silver Lake, OR
TEMP-WG-3502-02-Laborer

Gifford Pinchot National Forest:

Amboy, WA
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Timber Stand Improvement)
TEMP-GS-0802-05-Engineering Technician (Civil)

Randle, WA
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Timber Stand Improvement)

Toutle, WA
TEMP-WG-3502-02-Laborer

Trout Lake, WA
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)

Malheur National Forest:

Hines, OR
TEMP-GS-0102-04-Archaeology Technician
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Wildlife)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Natural Resources)

John Day, OR
TEMP-GS-0455-04-Range Technician
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Timber Stand Improvement)
TEMP-GS-0802-04-Engineering Technician (Civil)
TEMP-GS-0404-04-Biological Science Technician (Natural Resources)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Natural Resources)
TEMP-GS-0455-05-Range Technician
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Timber Stand Improvement)
TEMP-GS-0802-05-Engineering Technician (Civil)
TEMP-GS-0102-05-Archaeology Technician
TEMP-GS-0404-07-Biological Science Technician (Plants)

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest:

Darrington, WA
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)

Granite Falls, WA
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)

Prairie City, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Wildlife)

Mt. Hood National Forest:

Dufur, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Lookout)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)

Estacada, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Timber Stand Improvement)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Fisheries)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)

Parkdale, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Fisheries)

ZigZag, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Fisheries)
TEMP-WG-4749-05-Maintenance Worker (Facilities)

Ochoco National Forest:

Prineville, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)
TEMP-GS-0404-04-Biological Science Technician (Invasive Plants)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0102-05-Archeology Technician

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest:

Entiat, WA
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Timber Stand Improvement)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Plants/Noxious Weeds)

Tonasket, WA
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)

Winthrop, WA
TEMP-GS-0464-02-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest:

Butte Falls, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)

Cave Junction, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Wildlife)
TEMP-GS-0404-06-Biological Science Technician (Wildlife)

Central Point, OR
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Natural Resources)

Gold Beach, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Timber Stand Improvement)
TEMP-GS-0462-06-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)
TEMP-GS-0462-06-Forestry Technician (Timber Stand Improvement)
TEMP-GS-0102-07-Archaeology Technician

Jacksonville, OR
TEMP-GS-0404-06-Biological Science Technician (Plants)
TEMP-GS-0455-07-Range Technician

Medford, OR
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Wildlife)
TEMP-GS-0455-07-Range Technician

Powers, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0102-05-Archaeology Technician
TEMP-GS-0102-07-Archaeology Technician

Prospect, OR
TEMP-GS-0404-04-Biological Science Technician (Invasive Plants)

Siuslaw National Forest:

Hebo, OR
TEMP-GS-0404-04-Biological Science Technician (Invasive Plants)

Reedsport, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Recreation)

Waldport, OR
TEMP-GS-0404-04-Biological Science Technician (Invasive Plants)
TEMP-GS-0025-05-Park Ranger

Umatilla National Forest:

Heppner, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)

Ukiah, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression)

Pomeroy, WA
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression)

Walla Walla, WA
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (General)
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression)

Willamette National Forest:

Detroit, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Wilderness/Trails)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Timber Sale Preparation)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)

McKenzie Bridge, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-1001-04-Visitor Information Assistant
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Wilderness/Trails)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Natural Resources)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)

Westfir, OR
TEMP-GS-0462-03-Forestry Aid (Fire Suppression)
TEMP-GS-0462-04-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0462-05-Forestry Technician (Recreation)
TEMP-GS-0404-05-Biological Science Technician (Plants/Noxious Weeds)


Source information: USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region

In the news: Snowshoe with a Ranger at Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie

Shot of a group of snowshoes on feet, gathered in a circle.

Exploring the outdoors is a passion for Rhonda Miller and Mackenzie Williams, and they’re equally passionate about sharing it with others – which is why they lead the “Shoeshoe with a Ranger” program at Stevens Pass on the Mt. Baker-Snoquamie National Forest.

On weekends through March 31, USDA Forest Service wilderness rangers lead visitors on guided, interpretive hikes, using snowshoes donated by outdoor equipment partner REI. The goal is to introduce new visitors to the forest, and the sport – especially those who may not have the experience, equipment, or confidence to head out into the woods on their own.


“There’s all this public land and we want people to benefit from it,” Williams said. “And we want people to enjoy their forest in a way that’s sustainable and allows them to continue enjoying it for a long time.”

Full story, via the Everett Herald:

“Snowshoe with a Ranger” at Stevens Pass is offered Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m. through March 31. For locations and links to online registration info, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mbs/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD609539.

Holden Mine: From Contamination to Recovery

WENATCHEE, Wash. –  Deep in the heart of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, a dramatic sight was unfolding on the landscape above Lake Chelan. For five summers, bulldozers, graders, loaders, and excavators worked to reshape a rock-strewn mountain side, hauling loads of mine waste tailings across a 90-acre cleanup site until, for the first time in more than 60 years, the once-toxic area around the former Holden copper mine was again able to sustain healthy native vegetation and wildlife.

Abandoned in 1957, the Holden Mine contaminated groundwater with five toxic metals including aluminum, cadmium, copper, iron and zinc. These heavy metals washed downstream, polluting water in Railroad Creek, a major tributary to Lake Chelan. The metals also created a hazardous, hard orange coating known as ferricrete on the stream bed.

Unstable waste rock and tailings piles from approximately 10 million tons of mined ore further compounded the problem.

Today, thousands of gallons of contaminated groundwater are treated each day, through an on-site treatment plant. A concrete barrier between the toxic tailings pile and creek will prevent water runoff from the pile and reduce the chance of future contamination.

The remediation effort cost nearly $500 million, which was paid by Rio Tinto – a global mining company which inherited the responsibility for the cleanup through acquisition of a successor company to the original mine owners.

The project was complicated by the mine’s remote location. Holden Village, a religious retreat on the shores of Lake Chelan, closed its doors to thousands of summer visitors it typically hosts in order to provide lodging for work crews during the massive cleanup effort.

Other partners included the Yakama Nation, Washington Department of Ecology and the Environmental Protection Agency, and the USDA Forest Service – which acted as the lead agency overseeing the remediation efforts, because the majority of the cleanup took place on National Forest lands.

Local officials estimate that in addition to cleaning up Railroad Creek and protecting it from future contamination, the restoration effort injected approximately $240 million into the local economy, through hiring of local construction crews and heavy equipment operators.

The project created eight permanent jobs at the water treatment plant, and an additional site manager position in Chelan, Wash.

In September, the Forest Service released a Five-Year Site Review which documents the cleanup effort to date, and outlines future monitoring and additional work that is required.

For more information: Visit www.holdenminecleanup.com


Source information: The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest encompasses more than 4-million acres in Washington state, extending from the Canadian border to the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Elevations range from below 1,000 ft. to over 9,000 ft., and the forest is very diverse – from the high, glaciated alpine peaks along the Cascade Crest, through deep, lush valleys of old growth forest, to the dry and rugged shrub-steppe country at its eastern edge. Precipitation varies from more than 70 inches annually along the crest to less than 10-inches at its eastern edge.

In the News: Record snows at Mt. Baker this ski season

A chairlift on a snowy mountain

Great news for western Washington-based skiers!

The weather team at KING 5 in Seattle, Wash. reported Tuesday that Mt. Baker Ski Area on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has received a record 437 inches of snow so far, this season – including 105 inches in February, alone.

And today, station staff Tweeted that Crystal Mountain ski area, also on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, received 11 inches of snowfall in the past 24 hours, and that Mt. Baker received an additional 8 inches of snow!

Reminder: If you’re headed to the Cascades, driving through any Pacific Northwest mountains, this season – remember weather conditions in mountain passes and at the summit can be very different than those at lower and coastal elevations, and also conditions further inland!

Long delays while waiting for avalanche conditions or severe weather to clear are common.

Be prepared! Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of fuel, traction tires and chains / traction devices, and warm clothing or blankets in case you find yourself stopped… or stuck.

Op-Ed: Thank you, communities, partners and volunteers, for all your support during government shutdown

Leadership Corner - Glenn Casamassa

The five-week government shutdown was a trying time for Forest Service employees and their families. Our partners, volunteers, permittees, and contractors were also impacted, as well as many businesses and communities closely tied to national forests and the work we do.

On behalf of the Forest Service employees across the Pacific Northwest, I want to thank everyone who stepped up to help and support our employees and the national forests during this challenging time.

We are grateful and touched by this outpouring of support. Citizens and businesses offered assistance to help employees make ends meet and care for their families.

State and local agencies chipped in to help protect and maintain recreation sites.

Dedicated volunteers came out in droves and partners carried on our shared conservation work.

Times like this underscore the importance of shared stewardship. Our shared commitment to public lands – and each other – drives everything we do.

Today, we are more interconnected and interdependent than ever before.

The opportunities and challenges we face transcend boundaries and impact people beyond the jurisdiction of any single agency or organization.

That’s why we are committed to working across boundaries in shared stewardship with states, partners, and local communities to support each other and accomplish shared objectives.

We’re glad to be back at work doing what we love – caring for the land and serving people.

We are currently assessing the shutdown’s impacts and determining how best to adjust to ensure we continue to deliver the services the public expects.

We will engage our partners and local communities in these conversations as we adapt and move forward together.

Service is one of our bedrock values.

We are heartened and humbled to know that when the need arises, our communities, partners, and the public we serve are here for us, too.

We thank you wholeheartedly for your support and look forward to continuing our work together in shared stewardship.


Glenn Casamassa,
Pacific Northwest Regional Forester
 


Source Information: Glenn Casamassa is the Regional Forest for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region, supervising operations and staff on all national forests and grassland in Oregon and Washington State. For more information about the agency’s Pacific Northwest Region (Region 6), visit: www.fs.usda.gov/r6.

Smokey Bear to bring fire prevention message to Oregon license plates this summer

Smokey Bear is an iconic symbol of wildfire prevention. Oregon's new Keep Oregon Green special license plate joins 1950's artist Rudy Wendelin’s Smokey Bear with a backdrop of Oregon's lush forests. The plate's $40 surcharge will help fund wildfire prevention education activities around Oregon, which share Smokey and KOG's shared message regarding the shared responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfires.

Keep Oregon Green, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, the Ad Council, and Oregon Department of Forestry, have partnered to bring Smokey Bear and his important message to Oregon drivers: Only YOU can prevent wildland fires.

The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles sold 3,000 vouchers for a new, Smokey Bear -emblazoned license plate in December.

The vouchers serve as pre-payment for the special plate surcharge fee for drivers hoping to adopt the new plate; the sale of 3,000 vouchers is required for the state to begin placing orders for plates with a new design.

With 3,000 vouchers sold in just a few days, the plate is will go into production soon, and will become available to vehicle owners registering their passenger vehicles, or replacing their existing license plates, later this year.

Once the plates are released, any Oregon vehicle owner can apply by paying a $40 “special plates” surcharge when registering for new or replacement license plates, in addition to the usual registration and plate fees.

The surcharge will help fund wildfire prevention activities conducted by Keep Oregon Green, an organization that educates the public about the shared responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfire in communities throughout Oregon.

For more information, visit:
https://keeporegongreen.org/smokey-bear-license-plate/


Source information:
The Keep Oregon Green Association was established in 1941 to promote healthy landscapes and safe communities by educating the public of everyone’s shared responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfires.

Smokey Bear was created in 1944, when the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear would be the symbol for their joint effort to promote forest fire prevention. Smokey’s image is protected by U.S. federal law and is administered by the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council.

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