Restoring watershed health - one tree, salmon, and beaver at a time
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Director's Message

Another long, hot, dry summer and I’m watching recently planted Douglas-fir seedlings on my family’s new forestland turn a disappointing shade of brown. While hiking up the Queets River valley last weekend, I observed the leaves of the vine maple in the understory curling up and getting crispy around their edges. 

I recognize that summers tend to be dry in the Pacific Northwest, but more than three months with only a trace of rain is a bit much…although not unexpected. Climate change models have anticipated just such a trend, and the latest predictions indicate that summers will become drier yet, with excessive rains on the shoulder seasons (fall and spring), higher than average rainfall during the winter, and warmer temperatures overall. The trouble with packing all of the precip into the rainy season and having little to no rain through the summer is that it’s stressful on trees, stressful on fish, it increases the potential for wildfires and their severity. 

As a forester, I’m always thinking about what forest managers can do to mitigate the effects of climate change, or at least adapt to it. One key strategy is growing older forests. Ecohydrology modeling conducted by the EPA has shown that older forests (more than 80 years) transpire three times less water than rapidly growing younger plantations. Reduced transpiration leaves more water in the soil to sustain other forest vegetation (including young tree seedlings) and increases summer streamflow, thereby supporting fish. We also know that older forests are superior at sequestering carbon compared to young, short-rotation plantations, and therefore help to mitigate the buildup of carbon in the atmosphere. Thinning, extended rotations, and uneven-aged forest management strategies are good for watershed health and climate resilience.

Kirk Hanson

Forestry Director
Northwest Natural Resource Group
(360) 316-9317
Riparian areas that include a mix of hardwoods like red alder and vine maple along with western red cedar and Sitka spruce supply the nutrients and shade needed for productive stream habitat. Photo: NNRG

Upcoming Events

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning
September 5 – October 24, 2018
Carnation, WA

Rainie Falls Hike: Salmon Migration & River Ecology
September 6, 2018
Grants Pass, OR

Restoring Abandoned Agricultural Land to Native Oak-Prairie Habitat on Whidbey Island
September 6, 2018
Seattle, WA

Woodland Management: A basic forestry short course
September 12, 2018
Coquille, OR

Built Green Conference
September 13, 2018
Lynnwood, WA

Invasive Weed Control Field Practicum
September 15, 2018
Mount Vernon, WA

Ties to the Land – Succession Planning for Family Forest Owners
September, 15, 2018
McCleary, WA
Forest Stewardship Coached Planning
September 17 – November 6, 2018
Arlington, WA

Tool and Chainsaw Safety, Maintenance, and Forest Protection Field Day
September 22, 2018
Trout Lake, WA

Forest Thinning Tour
September 25, 2018
Gaston, OR

Finding frogs and noticing newts
September 27, 2018
Coos Bay, OR

From Extinction to Recovery: Reintroducing Golden Paintbrush to the Willamette Valley
September 27, 2018
McMinnville, OR

Alder Management Workshop
September 29, 2018
Kent, WA

What Everyone Should Know About Lichens
October 9, 2018
Bellevue, WA

Alder Management Workshop
October 13, 2018
Raymond, WA

Making Shiitake Happen
October 17, 2018
Coquille, OR

Selling Your Logs
October 25, 2018
Myrtle Point, OR

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning Shortcourse
Wednesdays starting October 31, 2018
Leavenworth, WA

Saving Tarboo Creek
November 1, 2018
Seattle, WA

Ties to the Land - Succession Planning for Family Forest Owners
November 3, 2018
Enumclaw, WA

Featured Member


Restoring Tarboo Creek and protecting its headwaters has been a decades-long community-wide conservation effort to ensure that both forest and stream flourish for fish and wildlife.  
Northwest Watershed Institute (NWI), a Port Townsend-based non-profit, leads the work to regrow old-growth forests in the uplands of Tarboo Creek and re-establish forested wetlands in the floodplain. Over the years, NWI has quilted together Tarboo Wildlife Preserve, 396 acres in the Tarboo valley near Quilicene, Washington. The Tarboo preserve is part of a 4,600-acre patchwork of protected lands that include both public and private ownerships around Dabob Bay along the north end of Hood Canal.
The Tarboo preserve is owned and stewarded by NWI and includes 80-acre Tarboo Forest. Acquired in 2011 and 2014, the Tarboo Forest is Forest Stewardship Council® certified through NNRG’s FSC® group certificate. It consists of a maturing 50-year old Douglas-fir forest interspersed with western red cedar, western hemlock, grand fir, bigleaf maple, and red alder. 
The prior owner of Tarboo Forest, a timber company based in Denmark, was planning to clear-cut the property and sell it for possible development. NWI persuaded the company to hold off while it raised the funding to purchase the land through private donations and grants from Jefferson County’s Conservation Futures program. The grants helped NWI establish a conservation easement with Jefferson Land Trust. The conservation easement permanently protects the forest ecosystem while allowing some timber harvest.

NWI is working to restore old-growth characteristics to Tarboo Forest and the preserve. This restoration effort will likely include an ecologically-based thinning on a portion of the property that is densely stocked. The objective of the stand entry is to promote the development of complex forest structures characteristic of old-growth forests (large trees, snags, and nurse logs).

Recently Tarboo Creek has been in the spotlight with the publication of Scott Freeman’s Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family’s Quest to Heal the Land. Freeman writes of his family’s efforts to engage with their land in Tarboo valley and restore it in partnership with NWI and Jefferson Land Trust. An inspiring book and one that tells a story many forest owners can relate to of connection, wonder, and stewardship of place.
Tarboo Forest is available for public access with prior permission of NWI. NWI holds occasional tours and work parties. To learn more about the forest stewardship and conservation efforts go to:

Where certified logs come from

We wondered where FSC-certified wood is grown in Oregon and Washington, and where it could be sold to mills and brokers who would keep it certified all the way to market — so we made this map.

Share your harvest story

We are partnering with OSU on a research project to help forest landowners learn from their peers about harvest options. Learn more and consider participating in this harvest study.

In the salmon’s wake

Join the Nature Conservancy's forester as he explores the journey salmon make from river to tideland to creek amongst the old-growth forests of Ellsworth Preserve.

Plant the food, they will come

At a riparian restoration site in Gresham, Oregon, beavers returned to previously abandoned habitat and are enjoying the newly planted trees ... by building a dam with them!

Fire west of the Cascades

This story from yesterday's Seattle Times discusses the role fire plays in westside forests and notes how eastside fire management approaches won't work west of the mountains.

Logging to prevent fire?

This comprehensive piece unpacks the argument for logging as the solution to catastrophic fire - what's best for the forest is often not what's best for the logger. 

Get connected in the San Juans

The 2018 edition of our San Juan Islands Forestry Products and Business Directory is hot off the press! Find island loggers, arborists, woodworkers, and other professionals!

Centuries-old stewardship

Ecologist Charles Peters highlights the treasure trove of knowledge that indigenous forest stewards have to improve our management and protect vulnerable systems.
Here are some great resources for enhancing riparian habitat and preventing roadside erosion in your watershed.
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Northwest Natural Resource Group
2701 1st Avenue, Suite 240
Seattle, WA 98121

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