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HomeState & Private Forestry News
July 2018   
From the Director
Kathleen Atkinson,
Area Director
(Forest Service photo)

MILWAUKEE

Leadership Note
Last year was one of the most devastating wildfire years on record. Tragically, dozens of Americans were killed, including 14 wildland firefighters who perished while working to protect lives and property. 2018 is already shaping up to be another challenging year and many of our coworkers in the Eastern Region are traveling west to help. As suppression activity continues to increase, I want to share with you an Op-Ed Interim Chief Vicki Christiansen wrote last week that was published in the Oregonian. It highlights some of the challenges we are facing and our approach to fighting wildfires. Please take a few moments to read below:
 
 
People sometimes tell me that the U.S. Forest Service isn't aggressive enough in fighting fires. As a wildland fire professional with more than 30 years of experience, I disagree.
 
Historically, wildland fire shaped the American landscape. Fires were once common, revitalizing and reinvigorating forests and grasslands. American Indians used fire for purposes ranging from shaping habitats for desired species to reducing fuels to protect communities.
 
Today, our nation has more than a billion acres of vegetated landscapes, most naturally adapted to periodic wildfire. In a backcountry area such as a wilderness, we might decide to monitor and manage a fire, using it as a land management tool to reduce hazardous fuels and restore fire's natural ecological role to the landscape. Our policy is to use every tool we have to improve landscape conditions, evaluating and managing the risks in conjunction with our state and other partners. Instead of waging a losing war on wildfire, we are learning to live with fire.
 
Still, if a fire threatens lives, homes, property or natural resources, we put it out as fast as we can at the least possible cost. We make that decision while the fire is still small, and our rate of suppression success is phenomenal: up to 98 percent. These fires number about 7,000 per year nationwide.  
 
Two to 3 percent of the fires we fight escape our control. Some of them become huge conflagrations driven by winds through tinder-dry fuels. Such fires are impossible to stop until weather or fuel conditions change. They are bonafide natural disasters. So we evacuate areas at risk and use special techniques to steer the fires around homes and other points of value as best we can. And we put the fires out as soon as we can.
 
The Forest Service once tried to put out all fires, but we wasted taxpayer dollars by attacking backcountry fires where nothing was at risk but the lives of the firefighters themselves, some of whom paid the ultimate price. Today, we will commit firefighters only under conditions where firefighters can actually succeed in protecting important values at risk. The decisions we make are based on the safety of our firefighters: With our can-do culture, we expect our responders to fight fires aggressively, but we neither expect nor allow firefighters to risk their lives attempting the improbable.  
 
Whether a fire is in the remote backcountry or close to homes, safety is our highest priority. No home is worth a human life. Any other policy would be unconscionable, irresponsible and unacceptable to the people we serve.

  --- Kathleen Atkinson,
  Regional Forester and Northeastern Area Director
 
Home 
Donna Leonard: At the Helm of a World-Renowned Forest Insect Management Program

Laurel Haavik, Ph.D.

A group of people work together under the wing of a spray plane.
As part of the slow-the-spread program for gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar ), Donna Leonard (at left, in white) and team calibrate a fixed-wing aircraft to dispense the correct amount of gypsy moth pheromone above the forest canopy. (U.S. Forest Service Region 8 photo)

Reprinted with permission from Entomology Today

Donna Leonard, forest entomologist at the U.S. Forest Service, was the only female forester working for a large pulp, paper, and building products company in her first forestry job in 1977. She has navigated a career among nearly all male colleagues and, simultaneously, piloted one of the most successful forest insect-management programs in the world for over 20 years. Read Donna's story .

Alliance and Partners Plant Over 87,000 Trees this Spring!

From Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Jenny McGarvey, Chesapeake Forests Program Manager, Virginia Office 

Trees in 1-gallon containers are lined up in a field and ready for planting.
Earth Day tree planting event in Wardensville, W.Va., on April 22, 2018. Nearly 80 volunteers helped plant 100 fruit and nut-bearing trees, as well as 50 additional trees and edible shrubs. The trees will provide a riparian buffer between the 100-acre farm and the Cacapon River. (Courtesy photo by Will Parson, Chesapeake Bay Program)
The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay teamed up with partners from across the watershed to plant over 87,000 trees in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia this spring! The innovative forest programs of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay improve the health of existing trees and forests, create new forests in places important to water quality and to watershed residents, and promote the benefits of forests to the public and decisionmakers. Read the tree planting article .

Fireflies --- Nature's Night Lights

A firefly spreads its wings as it flies.
Fireflies produce light through a chemical reaction called chemiluminescence. (Courtesy photo by Jon Yuschock, Bugwod.org)
  From My Minnesota Woods

Jodie Provost, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
 

In North America, about 170 species have been identified. They live in an array of habitats from forests, fields and marshes to more arid areas after rainy seasons. Warm, humid environments and tall grass are preferred. In day, they hide in ground cover. By night, they venture to the tips of grass blades and into trees to blink for mates. Read the entire firefly article .
 
 
Logging is Dangerous Work

From Forest Resources Association

Eric Kingsley, Forest Resources Association Northeast Region Coordinator

In 2016, logging had the highest fatality rate of any U.S. occupation, with nearly 136 workplace fatalities per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers. The good news is that since 1992, the rate of logging fatalities has seen a weak downward trend, though an increase since 2013 is troubling. There is much work to do, but the long-term trend is in the right direction. Read the entire Logging is Dangerous Work article .
Understanding the Soil in Your Woodland

From My Minnesota Woods

Jaden Hoeft, 2018 University of Minnesota Graduate

Soils are the foundation of every forest. Understanding the properties of soil is important in woodland management. Knowing the basic features of soil, such as its physical and chemical properties, can provide insights on how productive a woodland can be. Read the full article about understanding soils.
Census Report: PA Land Trusts Expand Conserved Land by 36%

Banner that reads 2017 Pennsylvania Land Trust Census Report Compiled by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association.

The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association   has released the 2017 Pennsylvania Land Trust Census Report. The report highlights the success of land trusts across the State as of the end of 2017. The report also found that more than 123,000 Pennsylvanians contribute financially to land trusts, and land trusts directly employ 598 people in full-time jobs. View the entire five-page report .
Grant Opportunities

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: The Great Lakes B-WET Program is a competitive grant program that supports existing, high-quality environmental education programs; fosters the growth of new, innovative programs; and encourages capacity building and partnership development for environmental education programs throughout the entire Great Lakes watershed. Closing Date July 27, 2018. ( Grants.gov NOAA-NOS-ONMS-2019-2005603)

National Park Service: The National Park Service provides matching grants to States and through States to local governments for the acquisition and development of lands and waters for outdoor recreation purposes. Closing Date July 31. ( Grants.gov  P18AS00286)

Office of Surface Mining: Funding is available to assist local 501(c)(3) status organizations and groups that undertake local acid mine drainage (AMD) reclamation projects to improve the water quality of streams impacted by acid mine drainage. WCAP is designed to be partnered with other funding sources to assist groups such as small watershed organizations to complete local AMD reclamation projects. Closing Date August 31. ( Grants.gov  S18AS00003)

Editor's Note

Send items for inclusion in "State and Private Forestry News" to dwanner@fs.fed.us by the first of the month in which you want the item to appear. Include a related photo as either a jpg or tiff file with a resolution of 150 dpi or higher. As part of the text include a full-sentence caption for the photo and photo credit. If the photo is from a published or copyrighted source, also send the permission.