State Update: Fires hold steady as victims get help

The state’s lead fire fighting agencies—the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)andthe State Fire Marshal’s Office of the Washington State Patrol (WSP)—continued

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DNR now accepting Community Forest Trust nominations

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is now considering nominations for lands to be included in the state Community Forest Trust.

Local

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Draft policies for Grays Harbor salmon, Columbia sturgeon available for review

OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is seeking public comment through Jan. 9 on draft policies for managing Grays Harbor salmon and lower Columbia River white sturgeon populations.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), extended public comment on the two policies during discussions at its public meeting Dec. 6-7 in Olympia.

Also during the meeting, the commission approved proposals by WDFW to purchase three properties to protect fish and wildlife habitat and provide public access for outdoor recreation.

State fishery managers have been working with a citizen committee and the public since October to develop the draft options for a new policy to address conservation and catch allocation for Grays Harbor salmon fisheries.

Commission will discuss policy for Grays Harbor salmon fishery

OLYMPIA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will accept public comments on the proposed development of a new policy for managing salmon fisheries in Grays Harbor during a meeting scheduled Nov. 8-9 in Olympia.

Also at the two-day meeting, the public will also have an opportunity to comment on proposed new rules for commercial dive fisheries and plans by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to purchase lands for wildlife conservation in Kittitas and Yakima counties.

The commission, a nine-member citizen panel appointed by the Governor to set policy for WDFW, will convene at 8:30 a.m. both days in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., Olympia. An agenda for the meeting is available athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html.

State fishery managers have proposed developing a new Grays Harbor salmon management policy to meet spawning goals for wild salmon returning to the basin and give sport and commercial fishers a clearer picture of what fishing opportunities they can expect each year.

Senate Passes Extension of Cantwell-Championed Rural Schools, Roads Program

Secure Rural Schools program invested over $400,000 in Grays Harbor County in 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed an extension of a key program championed by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that is critical for roads and schools in Washington state’s forest-dependent counties. The bill, as amended by the Senate and approved on Thursday by a 97-2 margin, would extend the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program.

 

Cantwell called for the program’s extension during a March committee hearing and has long been a leader on continuing SRS payments to rural counties across Washington state and the nation.

 

SRS helps compensate counties for revenue lost from declining U.S. Forest Service timber harvests on federal lands near forest communities. The Senate bill would extend SRS for one year and invest $263 million into the program. The legislation now heads to the House for a vote. Unless the House acts, counties will not receive any support from SRS this calendar year.

Arrest warrant issued in zebra mussel case

OLYMPIA - An arrest warrant has been issued for a commercial trucker from Michigan charged with transporting invasive zebra mussels into Washington state aboard a 50-foot cabin cruiser.

David Derderian, 44, of Fraser, Michigan, was charged in Kittitas County Lower District Court last November with unlawful transportation of a deleterious exotic species and making false statements to law enforcement officers.

The court issued a warrant for Derderian’s arrest when he failed to appear for his arraignment Jan. 13, said Michael Boska, deputy prosecutor for Kittitas County.  

"We appreciate the court’s help on this case," said Bruce Bjork, chief of enforcement for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), which sought the initial charges against Derderian.  "We need to do everything we can to keep zebra mussels and other invasive species out of this state."

WSDOT Runs Down Stimulus News

Seven additional WSDOT projects will receive federal stimulus funds due to lower than expected bids and materials costs. The third tier of Recovery Act projects will include $12.3 million for additional preservation improvements. Local governments continue to complete highway projects, with six more projects reported complete this week. In national news, five Washington tribes received over $1.2 million in Recovery Act funds for transit improvements.

Grays Harbor County organizations get salmon recovery grants from state

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board today announced the awarding of $42.8 million in grants to protect and restore salmon populations to communities across Washington.
“Salmon are an important part of Washington’s economy and culture. These grants are helping us reverse the decline in salmon populations we’ve seen over the past two decades,” said Steve Tharinger, chairman of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. “These grants are not only good for salmon, the environment and the people of Washington, but they are good for the economy because much of this money will be awarded to local organizations to do restoration work in their local communities.”
The grants in the Puget Sound area also work toward implementing Governor Chris Gregoire’s initiative to restore Puget Sound.

Westport to Receive Ecology Funds to Prevent Flood Damage

WESTPORT, Wash. - The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is providing nearly $1.4 million to help 12 Washington communities fund projects to prevent future damages from floods.

During the 2009 legislative session, state lawmakers created a special account to help local towns, cities and counties fund targeted flood damage prevention activities.

The Legislature directed Ecology to give priority to communities least able to fund flood mitigation projects and those projects most ready to proceed.

WSDOT Stimulus News of the Week

Four more state highway projects are now substantially complete as contractor crews continue to complete American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funded construction projects. Washington is preparing for the intense national competition for $8 billion in high speed passenger rail grants with 21 project applications under way to meet the August 24 deadline. WSDOT’s stimulus web page has received national attention for its content and has attracted more than 58,000 visitors since its launch in February.