Posts tagged: DNR
PUBLIC LANDS — More than 700 acres along the Kettle River in Ferry County is among 13 proposed land acquisition areas for fish, wildlife and related recreation the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering in the next three years.
The agency has posted details of the properties on its website and is asking the public to comment on the proposals.
The proposed acquisitions — general and specific — include a 150-acre addition to the Reardan Audubon Lake for migratory birds and bird watching and 3,750 acres for the fourth phase of the the 4-0 ranch acquisitions along the Grande Ronde River to boost everything from steelhead to elk as well as public access.
The parcels also include 2,200 acres in Okanogan County geared to habitat for sharptailed grouse and hunting for other species.
Most of the individual projects are described within their “geographic envelope” – the general area that includes the parcels being considered for acquisition. An envelope is used for planning purposes only. Should the department desire to acquire a particular parcel. WDFW will contact the landowner to determine his or her interest before initiating any acquisition proposal. The department develops acquisition agreements only with willing property owners.
WDFW will not use operating budget funds for these land acquisitions. Instead, the department will seek state and federal grants for most of the proposed acquisitions. Potential grant sources include the State of Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and federal grants through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (also known as “Section 6” funds) and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
Fish and Wildlife officials plan to refer to public comments as they present the proposals at the state’s annual Land Acquisition Coordinating Forum in March. The statewide forum brings together state agencies, local governments, non-governmental organizations, tribes, landowners and other citizens to share ideas about state land actions for habitat and recreation purposes.
PUBLIC LANDS — The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and Forterra today announced the purchase of 50,272 acres in the headwaters of the Yakima Basin watershed.
The area, with benefits ranging from the watershed's importance to irrigators to the outdoor recreation opportunities, is being designated the Teanaway Community Forest.
The $97 million Teanaway acquisition is the largest single land transaction in Washington State in 45 years and reflects more than a decade of collaboration involving many organizations and individuals, state officials said in a media release.
The property will become Washington's first Community Forest, a model designed to empower communities to partner with DNR to purchase forests that support local economies and public recreation, said Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public Lands.
The forest will be managed through a partnership between DNR and WDFW, with input from the local community and interested stakeholders.
Acquisition of the property is a key step in implementing the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, an initiative developed by a coalition of public and private organizations to safeguard the basin's water supply, restore fisheries, conserve habitat, preserve working lands, and enhance recreational opportunities.
Read on for details on how this came to be.
SHOOTING — Shooters trashing state lands and terrorizing adjacent private property owners are blasting their way out of a place to shoot.
And they're forcing unwanted restrictions on hunters.
Spokane County Commissioners are scheduled to consider proposals for two new no-shooting zones during their 2 p.m. meeting today.
The problems stem from state Department of Natural Resources lands off Koth Road near Newman Lake and off Starr Road south of Mica Peak.
See the map and proposal for the Koth Road no-shooting zone.
See the map and proposal for the Starr Road no-shooting zone.
See the overall Spokane County no-shooting zones map.
Property owners are calling for the action on the two new proposals after more than a year of effort to curb the abuse and safety concerns. Despite increased enforcement and citations for littering, damaging trees, using motorized vehicles in closed areas and failure to have a Discover Pass, shooters continued to trash the public land, said DNR lands manager Loren Torgerson.
“Organized shooting clubs tried to help out; they even went out and cleaned things up,” Torgerson said, but new messes were soon created.
“We tried to make it work, but it’s overwhelming.”
Proposals would allow shotgun shooting during appropriate hunting seasons but no rifle or pistol shooting at any time, said Bob Brueggeman, county engineer. Archery is OK.
Fish and Wildlife officials said they’d prefer a rule that allowed use of rifles for hunting. But Brueggeman said county ordinances do not allow that option to be considered in a no-shooting zone.
“Most shooters are responsible, but a subset of that group isn’t being responsible,” Torgerson said, noting they use garbage as targets and leave the trash. Semi-automatic weapons are used to blast and “saw down” trees, he said.
STATE LANDS — Shooters are creating a safety hazard and trashing a section of state land near Newman Lake, Department of Natural Resources officials say.
Complaints from area landowners have prompted more enforcement and citations for littering, using motorized vehicles in closed areas and failure to have a Discover Pass, said Loren Torgerson of the agency’s northeastern Washington staff.
The property– section 36 off Koth Road just northeast of Newman Lake – has been promoted as a good place to shoot in blogs and brochures left at gun shops, including Cabela’s, Torgerson said.
“Most shooters are responsible, but a subset of that group isn’t being responsible,” he said. Shooters have been using garbage as targets and leaving the trash as well as using semi-automatic weapons to blast and “saw down” cedar trees, he said.
Washington Fish and Wildlife police and Spokane County Sheriff’s Department have been assisting the DNR’s one enforcement officer covering seven counties, he said.
“Citations have been written and we’re starting to see a reduction in the number of bad actors up there,” he said.
Improving barriers to driving off the main road is helping with the problem, he said.
DNR has been working with the county’s shooting area advisory committee to consider a petition that would close the area to shooting, he said.
“We certainly want holistic view of the issue. We know that closing one area to shooting simply moves the problem somewhere else,” he said.
“Ultimately the community needs to look at the options.”
FORESTS — The Washington Department of Natural Resources has discovered a new infestation of Douglas-fir tussock moths that occurred last summer in the Blue Mountains of Washington and Oregon.
Light defoliation caused by the moths was mapped across 9,000 acres of the Umatilla National Forest, with Washington accounting for 7,800 acres, according to a DNR press release and following report from the Associated Press.
Most of the defoliation occurred in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Area, but it may spread and increase in severity this year, the state Department of Natural Resources said Monday.
Officials say another tussock moth outbreak that affected 1,600 acres in eastern Spokane County in 2011 will likely end this year.
In nearby northern Idaho, approximately 68,000 acres with tussock moth defoliation were recorded in 2011 and that outbreak may spread this year, the DNR said.
The defoliation can reduce growth, cause top-kill, and may make some trees vulnerable to attack by bark beetles. An outbreak typically kills up to 40 percent of the trees in an area.
The outbreak in the Blue Mountains primarily affects grand fir, subalpine fir, Douglas-fir, and some spruce.
Recreation can be affected in areas with tussock moth present because the hairs found on caterpillars, cocoons, and egg masses are a skin irritant to many people, the DNR said.
The last outbreak in the Blue Mountains occurred from 2000-2002.
Outbreaks typically collapse within two to four years due to a buildup of natural enemies, such as disease and parasites.
The Washington DNR said new damage becomes most noticeable in July and is often worst in the tops of trees.
PUBLIC LANDS — The new vehicle access pass approved by the Washington Legislature went on sale today, and 17 were purchased in the first hour, officals report — although it appears it was mostly state officials doing the purchasing to make sure the web system worked.
The Discover Pass costs $30 per vehicle per year or $10 a day.
Starting in July, it will be required for vehicle access to nearly 7 million acres of Washington state-managed recreation lands – including campgrounds, parks, wildlife areas, trails, natural areas, wilderness areas and water access points.
I'll have a detailed story on this next week — no sooner because the state is still working out the details.
State Parks managers are meeting Thursday to work out some kinks — such as whether the pass will be required for users of Mount Spokane State park's alpine ski area.
It's a work in progress, state parks officials told me today. Information and purchasing options will evolve on the special website dedicated to the pass.
Meantime, the pass — the sole source of income for Washington State Parks and a key income source for DNR and Fish and Wildlife lands — can be purchased online through the Discover Pass website or anywhere hunting or fishing licenses are sold.
PUBLIC LANDS — Internet chat rooms were buzzing today with charges that the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe was given access to otherwise closed state lands in Western Washington in order to harvest black bears.
Officially unconfirmed reports say tribal members were hunting with hounds and/or bait — means that are illegal in Washington without the approval of the Legislature.
Department of Natural Resources spokesman Bryan Flint said the agency's Olympia headquarters was alerted to the issue just today. At 5:10 p.m., he said he still didn't have enough details to address the controversy beyond the following statement (which doesn't confirm or deny much, but seems to indicate that somebody's headed for the wood shed):
“DNR does not issuing permits for a bear hunt. That's not our role or jurisdiction.
“We don’t have a policy of giving access to tribes that others don’t have.
“It has come to our attention that the Muckleshoot Tribe was given keys by the South Puget Sound Region (officials) to gated (DNR) land in the Green River watershed for puroposes of wildlife management. We are investigating to find out how this happened and why.
“(Headquarters staff) has no knowledge of what activities took place.”
PUBLIC LANDS — The Washington State Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing in Colville regarding a proposed boundary to limit access to the Trombetta Canyon Natural Area Preserve.
Trombetta Canyon, 2 miles southeast of Northport in Stevens County, is a striking geological feature, consisting of a dry cliff-sided canyon incised in a raised limestone formation, with no apparent source of flowing water to have formed it.
The public hearing is set for 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 24, at the DNR Armory Building, 225 S. Silke Rd. in Colville.
Read on for more details.
PUBLIC LANDS — Numerous roads on the East Slope of the North Cascades are impacted or closed by snow and runoff, the Washington Department of Natural Resources said today.
Portions of some roads in the Colockum and L.T. Murray wildlife areas are closed, as well as some in the Naneum Ridge State Forest and a few in Yakima County.
BOATING — The Lake Spokane (Long Lake) Campground boat launch is temporarily open this weekend through Sunday, 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Department of Natural Resources officials announced this afternoon.
The facility is 18 miles northeast of Reardan off U.S. Highway 291.
But for some reason the DNR, in announcing the opening, said the Riverside State Park launches are closed. Not so, said Brian Frahm, park ranger.
Here's what Frahm said in an email to the S-R:
I am one of the Park Rangers at Riverside State Park and am wondering where you got the information that our launches are closed? I would ask that there be a correction print please. We are open for business but however recommend caution when launching. The 291 launch has some swift currents and the Nine Mile Recreation Launch has fluctuating levels.
FORESTS — Two northeastern Washington firefighters recently were presented National Smokey Bear awards for their outstanding leadership in wildfire prevention efforts.
Their work fills a niche that preserves state and national forests as a place for the rest of us to work and play.
Ray Kresek, curator, author and retired firefighter, received a 2011 Silver Smokey Bear Award; and John Foster Fanning, a DNR fire control forester and fire prevention specialist, received a 2011 Bronze Smokey Bear Award.
Kresek, author of Fire Lookouts of the Northwest, lives in Spokane where he maintains a Fire Lookout Museum available to the public by appointment. Kresek also led the effort to preserve the Salmo-Priest Wilderness.
The National Smokey Bear awards are presented annually by the Ad Council, the National Association of State Foresters, and the U. S. Forest Service to individuals for sustained excellence in wildland fire prevention.
View more photos on DNR’s Flickr page.
PUBLIC LANDS — The Washington Department of Natural Resources is trying to take steps to keep state lands from becoming dumps.
The agency has posted an interactive map on its website showing locations of more than 200 sites that experienced illegal dumping last year on state trust lands.
“This is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Larry Raedel, DNR’s Chief of Law Enforcement Services. “For every one of the sites we investigated, mapped and cleaned up last year, there are two or three more out there that we haven’t found yet.”
DNR says state agencies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year cleaning up trash and junked vehicles and hazardous waste on state lands.
The agency is putting out hidden cameras at trouble spots and asking the public to report any suspicious activity related to dumping garbage.