Washington heightens scrutiny of timber harvests near geological hazards

Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark has announced new requirements for proposed timber harvests near potential landslide hazard areas. Applicants for harvest permits will be required by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which Commissioner Goldmark administers, to provide a detailed site review by a qualified geologist when DNR determines that a timber harvest near unstable slopes could affect public safety.

 

“When questions began to be asked if a timber harvest conducted before I took office may have contributed in some way to the tragic Oso Landslide, I promised that DNR would thoroughly investigate these concerns using sound science and take appropriate action,” said Goldmark. “While that investigation is ongoing, DNR is taking the added precaution of requiring site-specific geologic review of any harvest application involving potential geological hazards that is in close proximity to public safety considerations. This added scrutiny provides more information to help properly identify potential hazards and avoid impacts.”

 

“This is part of my commitment to ensure that Washington State has a scientifically rigorous and ecologically sustainable regulatory environment for timber harvest,” said Goldmark. Since Goldmark took office in 2009, the State Forest Practices Board, which is chaired by Commissioner Goldmark’s delegate, has eliminated loopholes that allowed non-specific and outdated Watershed Analysis prescriptions for landslide areas, improved harvest protections for riparian zones, strengthened protections for cultural resources, and convened a special northern spotted owl conservation advisory group.

 

Commissioner Goldmark is acting on recent recommendations from the independent science and policy program, the Adaptive Management Program, which is in place to evaluate Washington’s Forest Practices Rules. A study of 2007 landslides in southwest Washington resulted in recommendations delivered in February, 2014 from the Program’s multi-stakeholder policy committee. No changes to current Forest Practices Rules were recommended, but the group recommended that DNR develop additional documentation requirements and make other improvements, such as seeking funding from the legislature to acquire higher-quality LiDAR topography data.

 

DNR’s new requirement that a “geotechnical report” be prepared is consistent with the policy committee’s recommendations. Geotechnical reports are already required for applications that propose to harvest timber on potentially unstable topographic features. DNR’s action extends that requirement where public safety considerations exist in the area, even when the application itself does not include potentially unstable features.

WA Natural Resources Board OKs purchase of Wahkiakum forestland for Common School Trust

OLYMPIA – At its regular monthly meeting today, the state Board of Natural Resources authorized the purchase of 834 acres of working forestland in Wahkiakum County from a private seller for $2.19 million.

DNR will manage the acquired parcels, located near the town of Skamokawa, to support quality stream and forest habitat for fish and wildlife, while producing sustainable long-term income to the Common School Trust, which funds public school construction statewide.

Continue reading WA Natural Resources Board OKs purchase of Wahkiakum forestland for Common School Trust

Commissioner of Public Lands Announces Quarterly Award For DNR Employee

Extra Mile Awards

Goldmark also announced two additional awards to DNR staff – both awarded by Secretary of State Sam Reed:

Ted Smith (left) was honored with the state's 2012 Extra Mile Award. It was presented June 11 by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark (right). Smith was honored for his dedication to helping customers of the Public Lands Survey Office at DNR.Ted SmithThe 2012 Extra Mile Award. Smith, a land surveyor with the DNR Public Land Survey Office, was honored for his dedication to helping private citizens and public employees learn to use survey document research software. Smith works at DNR headquarters in Olympia


Roger HuestisThe Longevity Award. Honored for 40 years of public service, Huestis works in a DNR timber sales unit in the northeast region of the state.

About DNR 
DNR manages about 3 million acres of state-owned trust lands for revenue to trust beneficiaries including public schools, universities and public services in several counties. The department also manages about 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands, including bedlands under Puget Sound. Peter Goldmark is Washington’s 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889.

DNR Preps For Summer Burn Ban

The ban will apply to all outdoor burning on DNR-protected forestlands with the following exceptions:

1. Recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds, and

2. DNR-approved prescribed fires, implemented to enhance or restore fire-dependent ecosystems and forest health, when enhancement and restoration by prescribed fire can only be accomplished successfully during the period of time from July 1, 2012, through September 30, 2012.

The use of gas and propane self-contained stoves and barbeques will continue to be allowed under the ban.

When implemented, the burn ban will take precedence over and supersede all other burn bans currently in effect on DNR-protected forestlands. The burn ban does not apply to federal lands.

DNR’s wildfire mission

Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 12.7 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands. DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department, with over 1,000 employees trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes over 700 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 400 seasonal employees hired for firefighting duties. Additionally, Department of Corrections adult offenders and Department of Social and Health Services-Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration juvenile offenders participate in the DNR correctional camps program. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.  

Natural Resources Board Approves Purchase, Amends Marbled Murrelet Plan

In another decision regarding Common School trust lands, the Board approved the purchase of two parcels – totaling approximately 160 acres – of working forestland near Conconully in Okanogan County from a private party. Acquiring the parcels will allow expansion of the Loup Loup State Forest, which DNR manages for revenue for public school construction statewide, wildlife habitat, clean water and recreation. In addition to obtaining more than 400,000 board feet of marketable timber, the purchase removes a private in-holding within the forest and enhances DNR’s ability to sustainably manage the broader working forest in the area.

State Lands Habitat Conservation Plan amended for marbled murrelet strategy planning

The board also approved a minor amendment to the State Lands Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) marbled murrelet interim strategy. When the HCP was signed in 1997, there was not enough scientific knowledge about the elusive bird to develop a long-term conservation strategy for the marbled murrelet. Since then, DNR has engaged in science studies as part of a multi-step process to develop a long-term conservation strategy. The amendment approved today shifts the focus of DNR’s interim protection for murrelet habitat into areas identified by recent science as potentially important for a long-term conservation strategy. The amendment is the result of extensive dialogue between DNR and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on the best way to maintain options while the long-term strategy is developed. In an April 17 letter to DNR, the USFWS expressed support for the minor amendment, stating that the shift in the focus of protection “is better for marbled murrelet conservation.”

DNR manages state trust lands

Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR manages more than 5.6 million acres of state-owned forest, range, commercial, agricultural, conservation, and aquatic lands. Of these, more than half are held in trust to produce income to support public schools, universities, prisons, and other state institutions. In addition to revenue, DNR manages these lands for outdoor recreation, habitat for native fish and wildlife, watersheds for clean water and other public benefits. The Board of Natural Resources represents the beneficiaries of state trust lands.

EPA will continue to recognize biomass as renewable

OLYMPIA – The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced its plan to defer, for three years, greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting requirements for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from biomass-fired and other biogenic sources of emissions.

 

This action responds to Washington State, congressional leaders’ and scientists’ concerns that biomass would be treated the same as fossil fuel-based energy sources in EPA GHG regulations that took effect this month. Governor Chris Gregoire and Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark encouraged EPA to take a different approach in a letter to Administrator Lisa Jackson in September 2010.

 

EPA’s decision insures that the carbon-sequestering benefits of trees will be duly recognized, and provides more certainty for companies seeking to create jobs and make investments in biomass technologies.

 

“EPA is to be commended for committing to a science-driven process that can credibly distinguish renewable forest biomass from other sources,” said Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark. “Washington State’s has been well served by the efforts of Governor Gregoire and our federal congressional delegation in advocating for forestry and renewable energy jobs.”

State DNR saves millions of dollars in fuel and vehicle costs

In 2008, DNR used 778,000 gallons of fuel to drive 11.59 million miles. In 2009, that dropped to 704,000 gallons used to drive 9.85 million miles – a reduction of 1.7 millions driven and 74,000 gallons of fuel used.

 

Reductions were made by revising operations to reduce employee travel, increasing oversight of motor pool management, centralizing the dispatching and management of the stateside motor pool and purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles, including hybrids. DNR also is exploring the use of biofuels for the heavy equipment it operates for additional savings and emission reductions.

 

DNR plans to eliminate another 100 vehicles from its fleet over the next two years. The reductions were made to the number of automobiles, passenger vans, pick-up trucks and other highway use vehicles DNR owns. The Department continues to maintain fire engines, water tenders and other back-country vehicle required to defend about 12.7 million acres of the state from wildfire.

 

 

State trust lands–managed with care
DNR, led by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, manages more than 3 million acres of state-owned trust forest, agricultural, range lands and commercial properties. These state trust lands earn income to build schools, universities and other state institutions, and help fund local services in many counties.

 

In addition to earning income, trust lands ecosystems are habitat for native plant and animal species, protecting clean and abundant water, and offering public recreation and education, and research opportunities statewide.

 

Peter Goldmark is Washington’s 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889.

DNR Lifts Statewide Burn Ban

The conditions allow DNR to remove the statewide burn ban before September 30, 2010. The burn ban was ordered on July 15, 2010 to reduce the number of wildfires caused by escaped debris burns and recreational fires on forest land. These fires can cause extensive damage to natural resources and property, and can cost the state millions of dollars in fire suppression costs.

This year was the first that Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark issued a Commissioners Order calling for a statewide burn ban on all DNR-protected lands.

Burn barrels illegal

The use of burn barrels in Washington state is illegal. Backyard fires that get out of control are a leading cause of wildfires caused by people. Those who burn fires illegally are held responsible for the cost of putting out the wildfire caused by their outdoor burning.

 

DNR’s wildfire mission

Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 12.7 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands in Washington. DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department. During fire season, this includes more than 700 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 375 seasonal workers. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.

State DNR launches web-based forum for public dialog

Watch for the DNR Forum on DNR’s media center for updates and information. If the forum is successful, DNR hopes to have more online conversations in the future.

Geoduck aquaculture on state tidelands

The first DNR Forum topic is regarding geoduck aquaculture on state-owned public tidelands. DNR wants to engage a broad range of people including scientific, aquaculture, environmental, tribal, and other interested residents of Washington State to hear what people think about the potential of geoduck aquaculture on state-owned tidelands.

Providing information and seeking community discussion is an important part of educated and thoughtful decision making. Background information about DNR’s discussion, and links to a wide variety of sources regarding research and information about geoduck aquaculture can be found on DNR’s geoduck aquaculture forum page..

DNR — steward of 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands

As steward of the 2.6 million acres of state aquatic lands, DNR manages the bedlands under Puget Sound, the coast, many of Washington’s beaches, and natural lakes and navigable rivers. DNR manages these lands not only to facilitate navigation, commerce, and public access, but also to ensure protection of aquatic habitat.

State-owned aquatic lands include:

· About 88,000 acres of state-owned tidelands, or 137 square miles

· 10,000 acres of harbor areas

· Nearly all submerged marine lands below extreme low tide—that’s 3,430 square miles of bedlands under navigable waters, as well as freshwater shorelands and bedlands

Peter Goldmark, who administers the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, is Washington’s 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889.

Washington DNR Urging Fire Safety This Labor Day Weekend

As of Monday, August 31, DNR released a snapshot of the number of wildfires and acres burned on state and private lands that the department protects. DNR has responded to 841 fires with a total of 12,733 acres burned to date. With the aid of favorable wind conditions, the department and other responding agencies have kept wildfire damage lower than average, despite the higher-than-usual number of wildfires.

Wildfires in Washington / Acres Burned

Before heading out this Labor Day weekend, check with local authorities on burn restrictions. For daily updates on burn restrictions, call 1-800-323-BURN or visit DNR’s web page showing fire danger and burning restrictions by county: http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger/BurnRisk.aspx. To report a wildfire or an unattended campfire, call 911.

  • Not all public lands allow campfires. Where campfires are allowed, they’re usually restricted to metal fire rings and must be kept to less than three feet in height and diameter.
  • Woods workers are encouraged to check http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/ifpl/IFPL.aspx after 7 p.m. to determine the following day’s fire precaution level, or to call the local DNR region office.
  • Given the fire conditions, DNR fire experts are warning individuals that it can be extremely dangerous to set off leftover fireworks in the forest. Besides being illegal, the discharge of even a single firework or explosive device in the forest poses a major risk of igniting multiple fire starts.
  • Motorists are reminded to stay on roadways because hot mufflers and catalytic converters can easily start wildfires. When operating ORVs, be sure to stick to designated trails and to examine spark arrestors to be sure they are in proper working order.

DNR’s wildfire mission
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 12.7 million acres of private, state, and tribal-owned forestlands in Washington. DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department. During fire season, this includes more than 700 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 375 seasonal workers. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.