Category Archives: Washington State

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.

Evolving toward shared stewardship

Leadership Corner - Glenn Casamassa

As an organization that has a value around interdependence, it is important for us to create experiences for peer-learning and building collective understanding around key concepts we want to move out on.

Recently, our Pacific Northwest regional leadership team had the amazing opportunity to learn side-by-side in an interactive forum with our district rangers, research and Washington Office colleagues, state partners, and some tribal representatives to explore what Shared Stewardship means, where it came from, and how it will apply to our work all the way down to the district level.

We have heard interest from other regions and stations so we hope we can soon expand our knowledge in this arena beyond even our own regional borders.

One of the things we explored was how Shared Stewardship may be a new term for many, but it is certainly not a new concept. The evolution toward Shared Stewardship represents the convergence of several factors over the last decades—new authorities and policies that govern our work, new and expanded science that informs it, and our own internal exploration and discovery of Who We Are and how we need to show up in community.

Shared Stewardship Gallery Walk: Values-based. Purpose-driven, Relationship-focused. This image shows highlights in the USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Region's journey to a Shared Stewardship approach to public lands, from 2000 to present.
Shared Stewardship Gallery Walk: Milestones in the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region’s journey to a Shared Stewardship approach to public lands, from 2000 to present. Click image to open a larger version in a separate window. – Graphic by USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region.

We explored how our Shared Stewardship approach will build on the strength of our existing partnerships and collaborative groups in the region that have matured over this same time period. And we were clear that we will need to embrace new ways of doing business and different ways of being.

Together we heard from our state partners directly and learned how they are uniquely positioned to convene stakeholders across communities to evaluate the needs and agree on cross-jurisdictional planning areas.  We started to lay out the vision for our Oregon and Washington Shared Stewardship agreements that will be signed with the states this spring and we discussed how to share decision space with governors’ offices and state agencies to set broad priorities together based on the holistic needs and values of our communities, state forest action plans and other tools.  We also worked in small groups to workshop projects ideas at the state scale to not only meet our essential timber volume and fuels acres treated goals, but also integrate them with the our other priorities that our states, tribes and communities are telling us are important, like recreation, access, and infrastructure.  

Forest Service employees and state partners workshop project ideas in small groups during the agency's Pacific Northwest Region's recent Shared Stewardship meeting with regional leadership and partners. USDA Forest Service photo by Chris Bentley.
Forest Service employees and state partners workshop project ideas in small groups during the agency’s Pacific Northwest Region’s recent Shared Stewardship meeting with regional leadership and partners. USDA Forest Service photo by Chris Bentley.

Given the strong history of collaboration in our region and the strength of our existing Good Neighbor Authority agreements, we also spent some time exploring how Shared Stewardship is different and here’s what I would offer on that account:

  • Shared Stewardship with the States will elevate planning and decision-making from the national forest level to the state-level when appropriate. Together Forest Service and the states will use scenario planning tools to assess opportunities, risks and alternatives for managing the risk, and set priorities for investments that will bring the most bang for the buck.
  • It will use new and existing science to do the right work in the right places at the right scale.  Instead of random acts of restoration, we will share decisions and place treatments where they can produce desired outcomes at a meaningful scale.
  • It will take full advantage of our capacity for shared stewardship across shared landscapes using all of our tools and authorities for active management. We will work with the states and other partners, including local communities, to choose the most appropriate tools tailored to local conditions.

As we embrace Shared Stewardship, we are also being intentional in creating a safe, supportive and resilient work environment because it is a determining factor in our ability to invite others into shared stewardship work with us—and as the Chief says, that’s what Shared Stewardship is—an invitation.

Once the agreements are signed this spring, the region is exploring how to develop more forums and workshops alongside our state partners and with our on-the-ground workforce to start sharing the priorities and planning projects across boundaries, at scale that lead to real progress.  So…stay tuned for more!

Glenn Casamassa,
Pacific Northwest Regional Forester

Panelists discuss natural resources research during the USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Region's recent Shared Stewardship meeting with regional leadership and partners. USDA Forest Service photo by Chris Bentley.

Panelists discuss natural resources research during the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region’s recent Shared Stewardship meeting with regional leadership and partners. USDA Forest Service photo by Chris Bentley.

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. (Originally published April 10, 2019, at: https://www.fs.fed.us/blogs/leaders-perspective-shared-stewardship).

Marbled murrelet mysteries revealed by radio telemetry data

A researcher holds a marbled murrelet. The birds were tagged with radio transmitters to record location data as part of a study of their movement patterns. USDA Forest Service photo

In the latest edition of Science Findings, the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Research Station explores the “hidden world” of the marbled murrelet.

The marbled murrelet, Brachyramphus marmoratus, is a Pacific coast -dwelling shore bird that is federally listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Ace, in part due to habitat loss.

A marbled murrelet egg rests in a natural shelf. The birds do not build nests for their eggs. USDA Forest Service photo by Nick Hatch.
A marbled murrelet egg rests in a natural shelf. The birds do not build nests for their eggs. USDA Forest Service photo by Nick Hatch.

Their eggs, which are laid on naturally occurring platforms, or shelves, are especially vulnerable to damage as a result of exposure to human-driven activities or development. Their lack of traditional nests also makes it difficult for scientists to study their breeding patterns, even as their total population continues to decline.

A five-year PNW Research Station study used radio transmitters to tag and track a cohort of nearly 150 birds in northwest Washington, producing valuable data about their feeding, breeding and flight habits.

The research illuminated how the birds interact with both marine and coastal forest habitats, and may offer some insight into why this population of birds continues to struggle, despite protections afforded to it by the ESA and in the Northwest Forest Plan amendments.

To learn more, check out Science Findings #213 at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/57633.

Researchers gathered radio telemetry data from a group of around 150 tagged marbled murrelet birds in northwest Washington. USDA Forest Service photo.
Researchers gathered radio telemetry data from a group of around 150 tagged marbled murrelet birds in northwest Washington. USDA Forest Service photo.

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

Forest Feature: Bobcats

A bobcat in a tree.

Our Forest Feature for March is the elusive Lynx rufus, also known as the bobcat.

The bobcat is the smallest wild cat in Oregon. It’s much smaller than the mountain lion, or even the Canada lynx.

Bobcats are about twice the size of domestic cats, but with longer legs and a muscular, compact body.

Bobcats are active year-round, even during the cold, winter months, but is not well adapted to deep snow.

They live almost everywhere in the Pacific Northwest, except at very high elevations. Yet you may have never seen one; they are notoriously reclusive!

A bobcat’s penetrating gaze. Undated USDA Forest Service photo by Terry Spivey.

The bobcat’s coat is yellowish and spotted with gray overtones in winter, and turns more reddish in summer. Their large, black ears that feature a large white spot and short black tufts. Their feet tend to be mostly white but can have stripes or spots.

These markings can be very striking, but they also serve to camouflage among the shadows when hunting smaller animals in the forest.

The bobcat’s most distinctive feature is the big “ruff” of fur that extends out from either side of its face.

USDA Forest Service photo (undated).

Bobcats get their name from their short, black-tipped tail.

These cats tend to be active during warm weather in cold months, and cooler temperatures in warmer ones. They like to rest in den sites located in natural cavities and caves, hollow logs, and protected areas under logs and downed trees.

While they prefer a very solitary life, bobcats are fierce fighters and have few natural predators.

Life in the wild can be hard, but the average bobcat lives about four years, and a healthy bobcat can live up to 12 years in the wild. In captivity, they can live up to 25 years.

Bobcats are extremely effective hunters. They stalk, rush, and pounce on their prey. Bobcats eat mice, rabbits, reptiles, birds, and even insects, and save what they don’t eat for later.

One of our USDA Forest Service resource assistants was so inspired by the lynx, he wrote this haiku:

Silent, steady eyes

Then, the blurry dance begins

The lynx and the Hare

For more information:


Source information: Forest Features highlight a new Pacific Northwest species (or sometimes, a family, order, kingdom, or genus) each month as part of the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region’s regional youth engagement strategy.

If you’d like fact sheets, activities, or links to other educational resources about this topic – and for information about other ways the Forest Service can help incorporate environmental education and forest science in your Pacific Northwest classroom – email YourNorthwestForests@fs.fed.us.

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

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.

In the News: Forest biologist discusses bighorn sheep on podcast

A bighorn sheep stands in a field

The Forest Service’s Mark Penninger, forest biologist for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, discusses natural history and conservation of the bighorn sheep on Episode 6 of the
Oregon Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s Northwest Nature Matters podcast.

Called the “koepa” by the Northern Paiute people, the bighorn sheep is an icon of the mountain West; yet complex disease issues have stalled its complete recovery. Mark discusses the history of bighorn conservation, its life history, management, and how sheep conservationists are trying to solve pressing challenges to sheep recovery.  – from the Northwest Nature Matters episode page

Listen to the full episode here: http://nwnaturematters.libsyn.com/the-bighorn

The Northwest Nature Matters podcast is produced by the Oregon Chapter of The Wildlife Society, in partnership with the Oregon Wildlife Foundation.

Recent episodes have featured subject matter experts from state and federal agencies, academia, journalism, and environmental advocacy sectors for long-format conversations about conservation, natural history, and wildlife protection issues across the Pacific Northwest.

  • Episode 4, released last month, discussed the marbled murrelet – an Endangered Species Act -listed species, like the spotted owl, requires old growth forest for nesting habitat.
Northwest Nature Matters logo
The Northwest Nature Matters podcast was launched in 2018 to share long-format conversations with subject matter experts about wildlife and conservation issues affecting the Pacific Northwest region.

Related story: The Wildlife Society’s Oregon Chapter launches “Northwest Nature Matters” podcast


Source: The Wildlife Society seeks to inspire, empower and enable conservation, environmental and wildlife professionals to sustain wildlife populations and habitats through science-based management and conservation. The Oregon Chapter of The Wildlife Society is comprised of approximately 350 members from state, government, tribal, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations statewide.

In the news: WTA ‘Thank a Ranger’ & ‘The Changing Face of National Forests’

Yewah Lau, district ranger for Hood Canal Ranger District, Olympic National Forest, in a 2017 photo. Photo courtesy of Washington Trails Association, used with permission.

The Washington Trails Association recently re-posted an interview with Yewah Lau, district ranger for Hood Canal Ranger District, on the Olympic National Forest, to highlight their “Thank a Ranger” campaign.

Yewah Lau spoke to the association’s member magazine about diversity, and the values that brought her to a career with the agency, in 2017.

Would you like to show your thanks and appreciation for a forest ranger through WTA? Read the article online at https://www.wta.org/news/signpost/the-changing-face-of-the-national-forest-1, then fill out the “thank you” form at the end of the page to express your thanks and pledge to thank a ranger on the trail during your next forest visit (please note: filling out the form discloses your email address and may result in additional emails from WTA).

From the article:

As the local decision-maker for the happenings on the east side of the peninsula, from Sequim to past Hoodsport and along some of its south side, her role is all-encompassing: recreation, vegetation and wildlife management, working with local staff and specialists to help protect resources, and interacting with and creating opportunities for the public.

Yewah deals with big complex multi-stakeholder issues, working with diverse factions, like elected officials, community groups and local tribes, something that she finds extremely fulfilling…

“I have met women who were the first: the first wildlife biologist in their forest or office, or the first firefighter … I feel like I’m following in their footsteps.”

Ultimately, though, Yewah’s work is driven by an overarching principle:

“Our obligation is to protect natural resources, wildlife and watersheds.  We have a mission that is unique and complex because we’re serving the American public and also trying to find the best combination of what all of those values are.”

 

Holiday Tree permits on sale at National Forest offices

An evergreen adorned with handmade ornaments

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… time to visit your nearest national forest to find the perfect holiday tree for your home!

Christmas tree permits are available at National Forest offices and selected vendors throughout the Pacific Northwest for $5 each.

Each permit allows the holder to cut one tree in designated areas; each household can purchase up to a maximum of five permits.

For permit purchasing locations, contact your local national forest office (for a directory of USDA Forest Service offices in Washington and Oregon, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r6/about-region/?cid=stelprdb5341313).

More information:

Don’t forget:

As part of the national Every Kid in a Park initiative, all fourth-graders are eligible for a free holiday tree permit from their USDA Forest Service office, for use on their local national forest.

EKIP holiday tree ornament coloring page

4th-graders: Click the image above to download a coloring page, with instructions to visit www.everykidinapark.gov for information about how to claim your voucher for a free holiday tree permit from the USDA Forest Service, and get a free annual pass to explore federal lands across the U.S. this year with your family!

Visit the Every Kid in a Park website at www.everykidinapark.gov for more information about how fourth-grade students can claim their free tree permit voucher and a one-year annual pass to explore national forests and other public lands across the U.S.

Holiday Tree Graphic_FB



Source: USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region public affairs staff

« Older Entries