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Director's Message

The new Farm Bill was signed into law last month, including funding for a couple of popular federal programs that provide financial assistance for conservation: the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Although your actual application will have to wait until the partial shutdown of the federal government comes to an end, you can already start thinking about the stewardship practices you want to use.

If you’ve recently acquired forestland, it’s likely you’ve inherited as many challenges as opportunities. Typical challenges include overstocked or understocked stands, invasive species, degraded roads and high fire risk, etc. EQIP can provide funding to both develop a comprehensive forest management plan to address these issues and to conduct the on-the-ground work to improve the conservation values of your forest.

Now is a great time of year to walk the roads and trails through your forest and assess the work you need to do in the years ahead. I encourage you to get out there, begin making notes, then proactively contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office after the federal government reopens to discuss your eligibility and the application process. Be sure to do this well in advance of the application deadlines, as there are a series of steps you need to follow, and some attendant paperwork to fill out, before you can formally submit a funding application.

Many landowners we work with say that EQIP is worth the effort, as the program's cost-sharing enables them to treat more acres than they could otherwise afford.

The 2019 EQIP funding application deadline is pending for Washington applications and is March 15, 2019 for Oregon applications. Now is the time to begin thinking about forest restoration and stand improvement projects. More details about EQIP and how to apply are available on NNRG’s EQIP page.

P.S. We realize that cost-share programs may not work for all forests. Check out these other resources for funding forest stewardship.

Kirk Hanson

Forestry Director
Northwest Natural Resource Group
(360) 316-9317

Upcoming Events

Growing Trees for Optimal Wood Quality
January 9, 2019
Eugene, OR

Growing Trees for Optimal Wood Quality
January 10, 2019
Roseburg, OR

Winter Lecture: "Carbon - Better in the Woods or the Wood Product?"
January 11, 2019
Corvallis, OR

Forest Regeneration Winter Maintenance
January 12, 2019
Oregon City, OR

National Parks Free Day
January 21, 2019

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning Shortcourse
Starting January 24, 2019

Selling Logs from Your Property
January 26, 2019
Roseburg, OR

Forest Health Seminar - WSU Extension
January 26, 2019
Stanwood, WA

Forest Health Seminar - WSU Extension
January 30, 2019
Mount Vernon, WA

Forest Health Seminar - WSU Extension
February 2, 2019
Langley, WA

Trees & Taxes
February 8, 2019
Eugene, OR

Ties to the Land - Sucession Planning
March 2, 2019
Chehalis, WA

Plant Sales

Clallam Conservation District Plant Sale Order Deadline
January 25, 2018
Clallam County, WA

Linn County Seedling Sale
February 2, 2019
Albany, ORG

Snohomish County Conservation District
February 9, 2019
Monroe, WA

East Multnomah Conservation District
February 16, 2019
Portland, OR

Mason County Conservation District
February 22 & 23, 2019
Shelton, WA

Whidbey Island Conservation District
February 23, 2019
Greenbank, WA

Yamhill Conservation District
March 1-2, 2019
McMinnville, OR

Pierce Conservation District
March 1-2, 2019
Puyallup, WA

Benton Conservation District
March 2, 2019
Corvallis, OR

Kitsap Conservation District
March 8-9, 2019
Bremerton, WA

Marion Conservation District
March 9, 2019
Gervais, OR

Featured Member
Hanson Family Forest

Sometimes, a forest just needs a little TLC (Thinning, Love, and Cost-share reimbursement).

As lifelong forest owners, Rod and Diana Hanson were no strangers to land stewardship when they bought 70 acres near Black Diamond, WA in 2011.

But the forest they purchased was a far cry from their vision of a mixed-species, mixed-age, biologically-rich ecosystem that could also yield valuable wood products. 

With the twin goals of wildlife habitat and harvest in mind, the Hansons applied for EQIP funding to create a forest management plan that would guide their management decisions for the next few decades.

The EQIP funding awarded to the Hansons allowed them to hire a consulting forester from NNRG to guide them in writing a forest management plan (known in EQIP terms as a Conservation Activity Plan, or CAP).

The process included writing down what was important to them and what they wanted to accomplish it. It also entailed a stand-by-stand inventory that identified forest health concerns.

The Hansons determined that thinning the forest would give the remaining trees a chance to re-develop taller live crowns and regain vigor. In 2014 they carried out a commercial thinning operation to remove the least productive trees, boost existing biodiversity, and generate a modest income.

Take a tour of the Hansons' forest management activities through this StoryMap by NNRG. 

This year the Hansons are applying for EQIP funding again, this time to assist with a suite of projects on a new plot of forestland they recently acquired near Olympia, WA. Based on the recommendations in a forest management plan for this new property that was also funded by EQIP, the Hansons are hoping to receive additional funding to help pay for Himalayan blackberry removal, improve drainage systems on roads prone to erosion, pre-commercially thin a few overstocked stands of young alder, and replant a couple of understocked stands.
Read the full version of this article on NNRG's Blog

New Year’s resolutions for forest owners

These days, typical New Year resolutions include exercising more and making time to be outside with nature. But as you make plans for the new year, consider some resolutions for your forest. Be it building critter piles, removing invasvies, planting trees, thinning dense young stands, or trail building – these stewardship activities are sure to count for several workouts!

NNRG announces new forest inventory tool!

Conducting a timber and woody biomass inventory of a forest may sound complicated. But as a forest owner, it’s one of the first steps you’ll need to take before diving into the substantial decisions of how to steward your forest. NNRG and partners have released two new tools to make forest inventories simpler. Access these tools and learn how to use them here

Keep Whidbey forests resilient in a changing climate

Warmer, drier summers and wetter winters are stressing trees out. In many parts of the PNW, you don't have to look far to spot new instances of dead trees. In this article from the Whidbey Weekly, Kevin Zobrist of WSU Extension discusses why concern, not panic, is the appropriate response. He also outlines steps people can take to protect their forests.

NNRG wraps up year-long project on biomass & biofuels

Last month, NNRG wrapped up a project to help landowners in the San Juans improve forest health, reduce wildfire risk, and use the slash and woody biomass byproducts in creative and beneficial ways. A focus of the project was exploring the potential for local-scale biochar markets in the San Juan Islands and surrounding region. Click here to peruse NNRG's summary of the project. 

This story will make you a beaver believer

True beaver believers know how essential these watery rodents are to PNW ecosystems. This KUOW story dives (no pun intended) into how beavers can help us achieve our most important environmental goals – like increasing salmon to save Puget Sound orcas.

Things to consider when selling trees from your property

Landowners choose to cut trees on their property for a variety of reasons. Whatever your reasons are, this article by OSU Extension agents Alicia Christianson and Lauren Grand points out key things to consider when managing a successful timber sale.

Monitoring and Inventory Tools to Use in the New Year

Peering past the surface beauty of the forest, one finds a story that only reveals itself through studied observation. Regular, rigorous monitoring is a critical component of good forest stewardship and allows you as a forest manager to make better decisions. Monitoring the diversity of your forest can…

  • Enhance your understanding of how your forest works
  • Improve forest management for commercial species
  • Satisfy third-party certification programs such as the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and emerging ecosystem services markets

Forest resources can be inventoried and monitored using various techniques.The kind of forest you have and your management objectives will determine which attributes you measure and how often you monitor them. Below are some basic resources to help you get to know the state of your forest. 

Forest Inventory and Monitoring Guidelines - A guidebook prepared by NNRG that provides a practical, simple inventory and monitoring system for landowners who own less than 2,500 acres.

How to Measure Woody Biomass in Your Forest - An NNRG publication that provides landowners with a practical inventory system for estimating the volume of timber and woody biomass in their forest. By using these guidelines, landowners can more easily collect information to inform their forest management decisions.

Tools to Monitor Ecosystem Services - A manual by NNRG that introduces ecosystem services assessment methods and data collection metrics that serve as a baseline for monitoring a forest’s ecosystem services. 

Conducting a Forest Biodiversity Assessment - This NNRG guide encourages landowners to get out in the forest and use a detailed 1-page form to determine what important biological features are found in the forest.

More resources are available on the NNRG Monitoring & Inventory page.

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Our mailing address is:
Northwest Natural Resource Group
2701 1st Avenue, Suite 240
Seattle, WA 98121

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