Category Archives: Plants

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.

Olympic NF salal permit sales announced, next is Sept. 5

Spruce tree trunks tower above a low layer of salal leaves, fringed by grasslike sedgeplants.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Aug. 16, 2018 – Permit sales for harvesting salal on the Olympic National Forest are next scheduled for Sept. 5, 2018 at the Forks, Quinault, and Quilcene ranger district offices during regular business hours.

Salal (Gaultheria shallon) is an understory shrub commonly used in the floral industry. It grows in dense thickets throughout western Washington and Oregon.

A total of one-hundred permits will be issued with a maximum of fifteen permits for each harvest unit:

  • Sixty permits will be offered from the Quilcene office for harvest areas located within Mason County and the east side of Clallam and Jefferson Counties.
  • Twenty-five permits will be offered from Forks for the west-side of Clallam County.
  • Fifteen permits will be offered from Lake Quinault for harvest areas within Grays Harbor County and the west side of Jefferson County.

A lottery system will be used if the demand for permits exceeds the supply.

Each permit costs $150 and can be used for up to two months. A valid U.S. Federal or State picture identification will be required at the time of purchase, and those buying the permits must be at least 18 years of age.

Permit fees must be paid via cash or check (no credit cards or debit cards).

At least one piece of high-visibility clothing is highly recommended while harvesting salal. Permit holders will be limited to having no more than 200 pounds per day in their possession.

Harvest unit boundaries are defined by roads or recognizable land features and a map of the harvest areas will be distributed with the sale of each permit.

Future salal permit sales are scheduled for November 7, 2018, January 9, 2019 and March 13, 2019.

For additional information about salal permit sales on the Olympic National Forest, call (360) 765-2215.

 

In the News: Eagle Creek fire, then & now

a batch of green is visible between two waterfalls in a valley below a burned forest ridgeline.

National Pollinator Week June 18-24

Two bees at the center of a yellow flower

It’s Pollinator Week! In 2018, the annual celebration of pollinators and their contributions to sustaining biodiversity, habitat and agriculture is observed June 18-24. Since 2010, this week has been a time to celebrate the contributions pollinators make to our nation, supported by official proclamations from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, U.S. Dept. of Interior, and governors of many states.

Around the world, pollinators are declining due to factors that threaten all biodiversity. Loss of habitat is the principal reason, followed by improper use of pesticides, pollution, and invasive species.

Policymakers, natural resource managers, private landowners, and others want to make informed decisions that consider the needs of pollinators. Consumers can choose products that have been produced in a pollinator-friendly manner. Educators can emphasize the importance of pollinators; teach about their life histories; and instill an appreciation for the essential role played by pollinators in living systems.

Everyone’s future flies on the wings of our pollinators.

To learn more about Pollinator Week (and the Pollinator Partnership), visit: http://pollinator.org/pollinator-week.

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What is Pollination?

Pollination allows for plants to reproduce. Much like the animal kingdom, plants have male and female parts and need to transfer genes from one to the other to create seeds for the next generation of plants. The only way this can happen is when pollen grains from the anther (male) of the flower are transferred to a stigma (female).

Some plants are able to self-pollinate—meaning that they don’t need any help from an animal pollinator to reproduce. Others can be pollinated by wind that carries pollen grains from flower to flower. About 80 percent of all flowering plants, and three-quarters of the staple crops that are grown for human consumption rely on animal pollinators.

There are a number of animal pollinators. The most recognizable pollinators are probably bees, but everything from ants and beetles to bats and birds can help pollinate.

More information:

 

Did you know?

  • 1 out of 3 bites of food we eat are thanks to animal pollinators.
  • Almost 90% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators for fertilization.
  • About 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators. Of those, 1,000 are hummingbirds, bats, and small mammals such as mice. The rest are insects like beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies and moths.
  • National forests and grasslands provide valuable migration habitat for the pollinators that allow everything from wildflowers to agricultural crops to thrive.
  • The USDA supports programs that help find homes for pollinators.
  • Honeybees are the most prolific animal pollinator—but pollinators range from insects like butterflies, wasps and ants, to mammals like bats, and even birds.
  • Pollinator populations, especially honeybees, have seen sharp declines in recent decades—there were about 6 million honeybee hives in the U.S. in 1940; that has declined to about 2.5 million today. Now more than ever, pollinators need habitat to keep our ecosystems and agricultural economy strong.
  • Pollinators play a key role in feeding American families and supporting the American economy. Pollinators contribute $15 billion annually to farm income in the U.S.
  • Worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend. Crops like almonds, apples, blueberries, melons, squash, even oranges and avocados are heavily reliant upon pollinators to reproduce and thrive.
  • The USDA Forest Service is a key agency in restoring degraded lands for pollinators and other wildlife, through the planting of native wildflowers that help connect birds, bees and other pollinating insects across the American landscape.

Suggested activities:

  • Plant a pollinator garden. Check out:
    http://www.kidsgardening.com/growingideas/projects/jan03/pg1.html. for gardening instructions, and for educational and curriculum
    resources.
  • Reduce chemical misuse. Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce
    damage to your plants and to protect pollinators by using less chemicals. You could
    intersperse food plants, like tomatoes, with inedible plants like marigolds. Marigolds are known to attract pest insects away from food plants. Learn more about IPM and gardening at: http://paipm.cas.psu.edu/homegarden/garden.html.
  • Limit lawn grass. Grass lawns offer little food or shelter for most
    wildlife, including pollinators. You can replace grass with a wild meadow or prairie
    plants. For a neater look, make a perennial border with native plants. Plants native
    to your area are adapted to your soil type, climate, precipitation, and local pollinators! You can get a list of plants native to your area at: http://www.nwf.org/backyardwildlifehabitat/nativeplants.cfm 
  • Provide water. All wildlife, including pollinators, need water. Some butterfly species sip water from muddy puddles to quench their thirst and get important minerals. You can provide water in a birdbath or even a shallow dish placed on the ground. Pile small stones or glass florist beads in the water so the pollinators can crouch low and sip from the surface of the water without falling into the water.

Sisters RD: New pine cone picker permits; season opens May 1

A gray bird with black wingtips and beak perches on a branch covered in pine cones.

SISTERS, Ore.April 30, 2018 – The dry pine cone permit season opens May 1, 2018 on Sisters Ranger District, Deschutes National Forest. In response to recent demand, the district is implementing several changes to the permit process this year to better meet the needs of the forest, forest product collectors, and the public.

Effective May 1, the forest will offer two types of permits for dry pine cone collectors:

A 10-day permit for $20 with no limit on the number of bushels picked within that time, with a maximum of six permits per person, per season.

A 60-day permit for $100 with no limit on the number of bushels picked, limited to one permit per person, per season.

Additionally, the Sisters Ranger District will not manage contract areas for dry pine cones; all collection will be managed using permits, which means there will be no cone contract area restrictions.

The Sisters Ranger District will still provide staging areas, industrial camping permits and help with haul route locations as needed through the end of the spring pine cone picking season, June 30, 2018.

For more information, contact Jeremy Fields, Special Forest Products Officer, at (541) 549-7659.

Press release: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/deschutes/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD576938

Boaters: ‘Clean, drain & dry’ to halt free rides for invasives

Two men row a canoe across a large lake, with forest and mountain ridges visible in the background. A woman is seated in the center of the canoe, between the rowers.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — March 29, 2018  — The Washington Invasive Species Council and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are reminding boaters to “CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY their boats and equipment to prevent the spread of invasive species and minimize the time spent at mandatory boat inspections at state borders.

“The best way to keep our lakes and rivers clean and free from invasive species is to clean, drain and dry your boats and equipment,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington State Invasive Species Council. “We only have one chance to keep Washington free of these invaders, which wreak havoc on our environment, stop recreation and destroy water-based industries. Once here, invasive species are really hard and expensive to remove. We all must be diligent in making sure we protect our waterways.”

Aquatic invasive species are non-native animals, plants, microorganisms and pathogens that out-compete or prey on Washington’s native fish and other wildlife. They can harm the environment, hinder salmon recovery efforts and damage human health and businesses. They come to Washington from other states and provinces on trailers, boat hulls, motors, wading boots, fishing equipment and in many other ways. Once they become established in one lake or river, they can easily spread to more waters in Washington.

To protect Washington State waters, follow these steps:

Clean: When leaving the water, clean all equipment that touched the water by removing all visible plants, algae, animals and mud. Equipment includes watercraft hulls, trailers, shoes, waders, life vests, engines and other gear.

Drain: Drain any accumulated water from boats or gear, including the bilge and live wells and transom wells, before leaving the water access point.

Dry: Once home, fully dry all gear before using it in a different waterbody.

“If you are bringing watercraft from another state and think that your boat and gear may carry invasive species, we urge you to contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife before traveling home,” said Allen Pleus, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) Aquatic Invasive Species Unit Lead. “Call the state’s aquatic invasive species hotline (1-888-WDFW-AIS) and let us know where you used the boat. If there is a high risk, we can inspect your boat and possibly decontaminate it at little or no cost.”

It’s also the law. It is illegal to transport or spread aquatic invasive species and violators can face a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and $5,000 in fines.

Mandatory Boat Inspections

To combat the threat, WDFW is ramping up mandatory inspection stations at our borders and high risk water bodies to make sure that infested watercraft don’t slip into Washington.

“There is so much at stake,” said Capt. Eric Anderson of the WDFW Enforcement program. “Invasive species, like quagga and zebra mussels, threaten Washington’s dams, farm irrigation systems, drinking water supplies and our precious natural resources.”

In 2017, WDFW opened two mandatory inspection stations at borders in Spokane and along the Columbia River at Plymouth, southwest of the Tri-Cities. WDFW checked more than 10,000 boats as they entered Washington. This year, the inspections stations will open in early spring and run until late fall.

“We are trying our best to keep invasive mussels out,” said Sgt. Pam Taylor, of the WDFW Enforcement program. “So if you are transporting watercraft into Washington, be prepared to stop!”

Also this year, WDFW has partnered with the National Park Service to provide greater protection of the Columbia River basin. An agreement between the two agencies gives national park rangers at Lake Roosevelt National Area authority to conduct boat inspection throughout the summer. This agreement is considered a groundbreaking move in the fight against aquatic invasive species and could be implemented at other national parks.

Mandatory Prevention Permit for Out-of-Staters

In addition to the inspection stations, people from out-of-state need to buy a WDFW Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit before using their boats and other watercrafts on Washington State waters. New this year, the permits can be purchased online. The prevention permit also is required by seaplane operators and commercial transporters of vessels.

“Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species is serious business,” Pleus said. Researchers estimate that invasive zebra and quagga mussels alone could cost the power industry more than $3 billion, and industries, businesses and communities more than $5 billion nationwide over 6 years.”

“As a boater, your diligence in preventing aquatic invasive species will protect Washington’s water and ensure that future Washingtonians can experience the same water activities that you enjoy,” Capt. Anderson said.

“Washington State and the Pacific Northwest are the last area in the United States to be free of these invasive mussels, and we want to keep it that way,” Bush said. To protect the Pacific Northwest, tribes, the federal government, states and nonprofit organizations have come together to address this issue through research, inspection and decontamination efforts and rapid response exercises.

The Invasive Species Council, established by the Legislature in 2006, provides policy level direction, planning and coordination to combat and prevent harmful invasive species throughout the state. To learn more about how you can prevent the spread of damaging invasive species, visit the council’s Web site. Learn more about aquatic invasive species by visiting WDFW’s Web site.

LINK: https://www.rco.wa.gov/doc_pages/press/2018/180.shtml

Staff report, Washington Invasive Species Council & Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife PAO

Glide Wildflower Show, April 27-28

Close-up of a drawing of purple Kalimopsis fragans flowers by Jennifer Curtis, from the 2018 Glide Wildflower Show poster.

The Glide Wildflower Show is April 28 and 29, 2018 at the Glide Community Center in Glide, Ore.

Forest Service botanists will be among those helping identify more than 600 flowering plants gathered from local forests and fields by volunteers for display.

Local businesses and organizations organize a variety of wildflower-themed community events during the show weekend.

Find news about the exhibition and related events on the show’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Glide-Wildflower-Show-377053879003054/.

Website: http://www.glidewildflowershow.org/.

2018

Oregon sands that inspired ‘Dune’ planet get their own book

photo of the book cover for "Restoring Oregon's Dunes, the bid to save a national treasure"

The coastal sands of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, part of the Siuslaw National Forest, hold an interesting place in literary history. In the 1950s, author Frank Herbert wrote the now-classic science fiction novel Dune after being inspired, in part, by a visit to these dunes, located near Florence, Ore.

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The book “Restoring Oregon’s Dunes, the bid to save a national treasure” was produced by the Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative to raise awareness of damage caused by invasive plants introduced to coastal dunes on the Siuslaw National Forest, outside Florence, Ore.

While there, Herbert learned about the efforts state and federal land managers had been making over several decades to stabilize the sand dunes in order to protect coastal infrastructure. A variety of non-native species were being planted on the sand to help prevent the wind from blowing it over roads and burying buildings.

That project stabilized the slopes, but had unanticipated consequences. In just a short time, the introduced species, particularly European beachgrass, have dramatically changed the dunes and the ecosystem they are a part of. No longer a place characterized by open, moving sand and different habitat types shifting about the landscape, Oregon’s coastal dunes are rapidly being converted to forest, and native vegetation that relied on the sands is being by invasive plants.

Now, the Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative has published a book of their own, “Restoring Oregon’s Dunes: The bid to save a national treasure,” to raise awareness about the ecological and cultural importance of this unique stretch of Oregon coastline, and the urgent need to restore the area before the habitat is lost.

We spoke with Andy Vobora, a collaborative group member and representative of Travel Lane County, about the project.

How did your collaborative come up with the idea of producing a “coffee table book”?

Most people know the issue with invasive species on the dunes has been around for decades, and there have been people working on it for years. But a few years ago the collaborative formed to start talking about what they could do, and the idea came up of developing a restoration strategy that could be shared with people. Rather than creating a heavy document that people might not read, the idea morphed into creating something that would inspire people to action.

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It was the inspiration for the fictional planet “Arrakis” in the science fiction novel, Dune, but no sandworms are found on the Oregon dunes. But other invasive species, such as European beachgrass, are responsible for changes that now threaten this critical habitat for the endangered Western snowy plover shorebird and other native animals and plants. This image from the book depicts how vegetation has invaded the shoreline over time, via images from 1941, 1979, and 1997.

Who has joined your collaborative?

 

It’s a pretty diverse group. You’ve got recreational users from Save the Riders Dunes,  you’ve got Oregon Wild, folks like me from the tourism industry (Travel Lane County), elected officials, and more. And of course we’ve got the Forest Service, since they’ll be doing a lot of the restoration and heavy work on the dunes. We’ve tried to identify in an easy way for people to understand and get behind this work. It’s about trying to restore the dunes, to preserve the best, restore landscape-scale natural resources, and prioritize where along the dunes the work should happen.

It’s interesting, that you’re trying to “preserve” a landscape whose main feature is constant change!

Yeah, it is. I think, that’s always going to be one of the challenges. Grasses were planted to stabilize the dunes for specific purposes. And those purposes, in many people’s minds, haven’t gone away. But they impacted other natural processes along the dunes in ways that weren’t fully understood or could have been predicted back in the day. So there’s a need to balance where we need them stable, where people see the need for that, and what’s needed to support the natural life cycle of native plants and animals in this ecosystem, as well as provide the important recreation opportunities the dunes have become famous for.

Since you work in tourism, why do you think people should consider a trip to the Oregon dunes?

From a visitor standpoint, that’s one of the things we like to key in on in Lane County. We have a beautiful coast and appreciate that it’s public. If you are heading south, we’re the first place along the coast that has the dunes. Other places have beaches, but they don’t have the opportunities to play on the dunes, like we have. You can go hiking, sandboarding… if you’ve never heard of it, it’s like snowboarding on dunes, just like you would on snow. There’s an international racing circuit, so one of the international meets takes place here on the dunes and brings people from all over the world. Sandmaster Park, the first dune park in North America, is here and designs and builds boards for people all over the world. Sand sleds, as well. So if you aren’t comfortable going that fast, there are other ways to get on the dunes. Off-highway vehicles (which includes dirt bikes, dune buggies and four-wheelers) are pretty popular here. Some of the members of our organizations take groups out, so there are unique opportunities to see the dunes that way. What’s great about the dunes is that it’s huge area, 40 or 50 miles long, and so it offers a range of opportunities for people, whether you want to get your adrenalin pumping or you want to ride your horse or you want to explore quiet nooks and crannies on foot away from it all.

Anything else you’d like people to know about the collaborative and its work?

We have a website, SaveOregonDunes.org, that’s a companion to the book (and where an electronic version of the book can be found). A lot of work has been done by the larger collaborative, and we’re getting to the point where we want to start making people aware of opportunities to get involved. We’re doing outreach locally, like bringing our book and staffing a tables at events. Our next big event is in April, when Save the Riders Dunes is planning a big restoration event for volunteers out on the sand. People who are interested can keep an eye on our website where we’ll be posting updates and new events as they’re scheduled. Whether you come out to help with the restoration work, or just come to visit, we just want people to understand how unique and special the dunes are.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

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