Pacific Science Center summer exhibit focuses on wildfire, smoke

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Are smoky August skies the new normal? In addition to winter, spring, summer and fall, will the Pacific Northwest have a fifth season – a wildfire season? What are the causes behind the recent catastrophic blazes? These are questions the Pacific Science Center (PacSci) and its collaborative partners hope to answer with its newest exhibit: The Smoke Season – a … Read More

Legislature recognizes value of working lands in new tax policy

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One of the significant new tax policies coming out of this recent legislative session involves the real estate excise tax or REET.  This is a tax paid by the seller of all real property. The rate has historically been flat. Which is to say, one rate applied to all sales regardless of the sale value. The Legislature has changed that with … Read More

New Forest Health Policies Directly Support Wildfire Response

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The smoke that drifted into Western Washington last summer and obscured the Space Needle behind its cloak grabbed the attention of the metropolitan Puget Sound area. However, wildfires and forest health have been a high-profile legislative issue since the historic fire years in 2014 and 2015. This past session was no exception. A record-high amount of funding was provided to … Read More

Legislature Connects Dots Between Rural Economic Development, Environmental Outcomes

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The environmental headlines of this past legislative session have focused on two big topics: orca whales and carbon emissions. The 2019 Legislature passed numerous high-profile bills to address these two seemingly disparate issues. E3SHB 1324 progressed well below the radar yet manages to marry both issues in a package that also helps secure Washington’s most extensive rural manufacturing base for … Read More

2019 Tree Farmer of the Year – Stewardship, love of trees motivates Lewis County Tree Farm

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A family-run tree farm in Lewis County recently received high honors for its commitment to sustainable forest practices. The Washington Tree Farm Program named O’Neill Pine Company owners Debra and Richard Pine 2019 Tree Farmers of the Year at the annual Washington Farm and Forestry Association in May. O’Neill Pine Company’s overstory consists of Douglas fir and red alder. But in partnership … Read More

State and federal agencies promise greater collaboration ahead of wildfire season

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Washington residents and forestland owners can anticipate greater collaboration between state and federal agencies on forest health-related issues. USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind and Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa signed a “Shared Stewardship” Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this week that aims to improve the health and resiliency of forestlands for … Read More

Stressed trees underscore need for greater land management

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Drought, hotter summers, disease and pests are stressing native tree species in Western Washington, according to scientists, King County agencies and conservationists. The Courier-Herald and other Sound Publishing newspapers reported that indigenous trees like Western hemlock and Douglas fir are struggling to thrive in Western Washington, increasing wildfire risks and impacting wildlife biodiversity. According to the story: Droughts have become hotter … Read More

Wildfires impact air quality greater than prescribed burns

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An analysis provided by the US Forest Service has concluded what many forestland owners and woodland managers already know: Prescribed burns have a lower impact on air quality while helping to prevent forest fires than catastrophic wildfires. The study, which measured particulate matter within communities near the fires and urban centers far from the fires, found that megafires subject more people and … Read More

Landowners, agencies and tribes united in saving salmon

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Recognizing the power of collaboration with an eye toward a future where salmon recovery efforts throughout Washington state are successful, representatives from state and local governments, privately-owned forestlands, federal agencies and tribal communities convened in Tacoma this week to discuss the important work of restoring salmon populations. The 7th biennial Salmon Recovery Conference, which also coincided with the 20th anniversary of the … Read More

Gov. Gary Locke opens 7th Biennial Salmon Recovery Conference April 8-9

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Governor Gary Locke will open the 7th Biennial Salmon Recovery Conference in Tacoma next week, where more than 800 scientists, landowners, organizations, agencies and people committed to restoring salmon populations throughout Washington’s waterways will meet. This year’s conference coincides with the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Salmon Recovery Act in Washington state, which aimed to restore salmon by establishing a Governor’s … Read More