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WHERE BEAVERS AND BUTTERFLIES ROAM


NNRG NEWSLETTER | MARCH 2021

DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE


My favorite wildlife story took place a few years ago when “George the Curious Grouse” took up residence on my family’s new land near Bucoda, WA. George was a fearless grouse with a lot of attitude, and was clearly not smitten by my family nor our efforts to manage our forest. What George lacked in smarts he made up for in bravery. He routinely attempted to attack the business end of my brushcutter when I began cutting back blackberry. He relentlessly pecked at the cuff of my mother’s pants as she planted tree seedlings. He also assaulted my son, although this at least was justified as my son wanted to see what would happen if he poked George with a sharp stick. I considered capturing and relocating George after he attacked an NRCS agent as soon as he stepped out of his truck. Fortunately, this event didn’t disqualify me for EQIP funding. 

For weeks George greeted us nearly every time we entered our land, and we eventually named the small valley he occupied Grouse Hollow. One day when George made his appearance, we noticed he was missing his right leg. We all wondered what altercation led to this alteration, and whether his opponent fared worse. The missing appendage didn’t diminish George’s feisty attitude, and he continued to defend his territory with unmitigated zeal. 

Eventually George disappeared altogether, and we’ve often wondered what fate befell him. I’m not sure there’s a moral to this story, and certainly don’t want any of you to fear being accosted by wildlife should you improve habitat on your land. Perhaps the message is to walk softly and carry a big stick, but not a pointy one.

We’d love to have you share your favorite wildlife story with us. Send us your anecdote and we may share it (with your permission) in a future newsletter dedicated to wildlife.


My Dad hanging out with George the Curious Grouse. 


Kirk Hanson
Director of Forestry
(360) 316-9317
kirk@nnrg.org

SIGHTING OF THE MONTH

Hey! That's Not a Beaver...

Tim Schomberg of the North Cascades Buddhist Priory was hoping to capture videos of beavers when he set up this wildlife cam in the Priory's forest. He ended up with an even bigger prize - this seldom-seen big cat using a beaver dam as a bridge to cross the forest's wetland.

The North Cascades Buddhist Priory is a member of NNRG's FSC® Group Certificate. Thanks for sharing this with us, Tim!

Have your own wildlife photo or video to share? Write to us at alex@nnrg.org!

EVENTS

Planting Forest Tree Seedlings
March 13 | Hopkins Demonstration Forest

The Douglas-fir Webinar
March 16 | Online

Carbon in Oregon's Managed Forests
March 16 | Online

Wildfire 101: Mitigation & Planning
March 23 | Online

Geology 101: Introduction to Western Oregon Regional Geography
March 23 | Online

Northwest Innovative Forestry Summit
NNRG and partners event!
March 30 - April 1 | Online
Native Trees of Western Oregon
April 6 | Online

WA Society of American Foresters Annual Meeting
April 7-8 | Online

Live with Ben Goldfarb, Author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
April 7 | Online

Trees on the Move: Migration of Tree Species in Response to Climate Change

April 13 | Online

Hands-On Forest Health Strategies for San Juan Forest Owners
NNRG event!
April 26 | Lopez Island

UPDATES FROM NNRG

Oak Basin Tree Farm: Restoring Habitat for Rare & Endangered Species


NNRG member Oak Basin Tree Farm is home to the endangered Fender's blue butterfly and several other rare plant and vertebrate species that are associated with oak and native prairie habitat. And it's no surprise that they're there: Oak Basin hosts some of the largest intact parcels of oak remaining in the Willamette Valley, with some stands exceeding two hundred years of age. 

In this article, originally published in Northwest Woodlands, Jim Merzenich explains how Oak Basin's stewards, along with state, federal, and nonprofit partners, are restoring oak and native prairie habitat on the Farm by removing the competing vegetation, mowing brush, doing selective cattle grazing and reestablishing native grasses and forbs. "The presence of an endangered species on our property has enabled us to obtain funding for ecological restoration that would otherwise not have been available," writes Merzenich.

Read the full version of this wonderful piece on the NNRG blog.

Still Waters Farm: Beavers As Partners In Riparian Restoration


By the time Beth and Mark Biser bought Still Waters Farm in 1990, the 48-acre property in Mason County, Washington was a shell of its former self. Its 20 acres of wetlands had been mined and drained, and the forest was quiet. 

With a vision of a healthy wetland and forest ecosystem in mind, the Bisers set to work repairing the hydrology of their land. They used an excavator to dig a series of small ponds connected by channels of water, and built peat islands here and there.

And as they worked on restoring the hydrology of the forest, something amazing happened.

Read on...

Keeping Dead Wood and Creating Wildlife Habitat Piles: Guidance for Forest Owners


One of the most important decisions you can make to promote wildlife habitat is to keep snags and down wood in your forest.

Snags, large down logs, and big decadent trees provide food and shelter to more than 40 percent of wildlife species in Pacific Northwest forests. This coarse woody debris provides important structures for cavity-dependent birds and small mammals, food sources for woodpeckers and other foragers, and slowly release nutrients into the ecosystem with the help of decomposers. 

Learn more about the benefits of snags and down wood and how to construct these habitat structures yourself!
REGIONAL ADAPTATION NEWSLETTER
 
Northwest Natural Resource Group is a partner of Treeline, a group of restoration practitioners, nursery partners, and researchers whose aim is to disseminate, and discuss knowledge forest climate adaptation strategies across a broad region.

Learn more about Treeline in this month's newsletter, which features an article by Dominique Bachelet, Associate Professor at Oregon State University, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the Seedlot Selection Tool. 
 

NEWS

WSDA Plant Pathology & Molecular Diagnostics Lab (PPMDL) is conducting a statewide Forest Pest Survey June - September 2021. The survey is for the early detection of several plant pathogens with potential for establishment in WA. If your forest falls within 10 miles of high traffic areas such as parks, campgrounds, or highways, please feel free to reach out to be considered as a site for survey. For more information please contact: Telissa Wilson, Pest Biologist, WSDA (twilson@agr.wa.gov) or Nathan Chambers, Pest Biologist, WSDA (nchambers@agr.wa.gov). 
The Secret Life Of Trees: Researchers Probe Methane In Washington's Coastal Forest. "Trees have a little secret you might not know about. Yes, they produce oxygen. Yes, they take in carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas. But, they also emit methane." From NPR, a look at the researchers who set out across western Washington to measure hundreds of trees in coastal forests."
 
A Year of the Pandemic: How Have Birds and Other Wildlife Responded? "he slowdown in human activity—a period scientists are calling the 'anthropause'—was a mixed bag for animals. As scientists weave together all possible threads of evidence to decipher how animals behaved before and after our societies hit pause, a nuanced tapestry is coming into view." From Audubon.
The Demise and Potential Revival of the American Chestnut. "Before a disastrous blight, the American chestnut was a keystone species in eastern forests. Could genetic engineering help bring it back?" Interesting story by the Sierra Club. 
Biden Administration Will Reconsider Northern Spotted Owl Forest Protection Rollbacks. The Department of Interior is reviewing the recent roll-back of protections for the northern spotted owl, which called for slashing protections from millions of acres of PNW forests.

RESOURCES RELATED TO WILDLIFE

For many forest owners, creating and enhancing the habitat value of their woods is a top priority. Many stewardship actions can make your forest a better home for native Northwest critters, from creating snags and down logs to installing nest boxes and pollinator-supporting hedgerows. Identifying your resident species and optimizing habitat for them can be one of the most compelling rewards of forest stewardship.
General Information on Wildlife
Managing for Wildlife
Managing for Birds & Bees
Habitat Piles, Snags, & Logs
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