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Under Secretary announces 15 restoration projects and a $37 million investment
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced nearly $37 million in investments to mitigate wildfire threats to landowners and communities. This is the second year of a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to help improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public and private lands meet.

Joined by partners at an event in Idaho, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie unveiled the 15 Chiefs' Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership projects for 2015. Located across the country from Washington to Vermont and Arizona to Ohio, NRCS and Forest Service will invest $10 million in new projects to improve conditions on public and private lands. One new project in the Colville National Forest region of Eastern Washington is designed to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire to National Forest land and adjacent private property in Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties. Accomplishing this work will also protect water quality and supply for communities and industry and protect the quality of fish and wildlife habitat.

"By leveraging the technical and financial resources of both agencies, this coordinated effort is helping to restore lands across large landscapes regardless of whether they are on public or private lands," Bonnie said. "Our successes from the 2014 projects demonstrate that these partnerships make a difference on the ground and we are grateful for the cooperation of several partners."

Thursday, February 26, 2015 More...

NCW Forest Health Collaborative is accelerating restoration
The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (OWNF) encompasses more than 4 million acres in Washington State and stretches for a distance of about 180 miles from the Canadian border to the Goat Rocks Wilderness. From high, glaciated alpine peaks to deep lush valleys of old growth forest, to dry and rugged shrub-steppe country the OWNF is highly diverse, providing fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, timber, and other valuable opportunities. There is truly something for everyone.

A newly released study by The Nature Conservancy and the Forest Service show that these forests, along with neighboring state and private lands, need help. Ryan Haugo, one of the co-authors of the report said, "This study provides a broad perspective on the extensive forest restoration needed to protect the many values for which we depend upon our forests; clean air and water, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, timber and jobs. It also highlights the need for coordination across governments, agencies, and landowners and the importance of detailed on-the-ground planning to bring in additional considerations such as aquatic conditions and restoration needs."

Thursday, February 26, 2015 More...
Children should not touch bats
Vaccinate your cats and dogs against rabies

A bat that is found on the ground, caught by a pet, or found in a home might have rabies. Chelan Douglas Health District is asking people to avoid bats to help protect people from the deadly rabies virus. Rabies exposure occurs most often when people handle these animals. During fire season, people and animals are more likely to encounter bats both in their homes and outside. Dogs and cats are susceptible to rabies; Pet owners should be sure that rabies vaccinations for their pets are up-to-date.

Thursday, February 19, 2015 More...
U.S. Forest Service Issues Final Policy for over-snow vehicles
Policy complies with federal court order on national forests and grasslands

The U.S. Forest Service has released the final policy for managing snowmobile and other "over-snow" vehicle use on national forests and grasslands. As directed by court order, the policy requires that roads, trails and areas where over-snow vehicle use can occur be specifically designated by local Forest Service mangers. Previously, managers had the discretion to decide whether to designate specific areas for over-snow vehicle use.

Thursday, February 5, 2015 More...
State's wolf population increasing; predatory incidents also climbing
For the first time in generations wolf populations are on the rise in Washington State.

In 2008 a Conservation Northwest volunteer captured the first images of wolves born in the state since the early 1900s. Since then their numbers have more than quintupled. And this is just the start.

"In terms of what we've seen in the Rocky Mountain states - Idaho, Montana and Wyoming - we're at kind of a threshold number in terms of what we've seen in prior years," said Dave Ware, wolf policy lead administrator at the Washington Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (WDWF).

In those cases, wolf populations increased exponentially once they crossed the 50-wolf mark. Today, the department has confirmed at least 52 wolves living in Washington, mostly living in the northeastern part of the state. At the rate they're currently breeding, the agency anticipates wolves could reach state recovery objectives as early as 2021.

Ware presented the findings to a joint House and Senate committee Jan. 14. Although they paint a pretty picture for wolf populations, their re-emergence doesn't necessarily spell good news for everyone.

Especially not for ranchers.

Thursday, February 5, 2015 More...

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