Fuel reduction projects go Web

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has made it easier to find the information to bid on the agency's wildfire fuel reduction contracts.

"By putting these announcements online, we will be able to reach as many local bidders as possible to create jobs," Peter Goldmark, commissioner of Public Lands, said in a news release. "Using our website to post the listings will save the department time and money when announcing invitations to bid."

Natural Resources coordinates projects in which forest contractors thin or limb dense stands of trees to remove the large volume of fuel and allow the trees left in that area to grow healthier and stronger. Projects are targeted for private and nonfederal government forestlands in the wildland-urban interface.

Information including applications, project specifications, maps and bid closing dates is available at www.dnr.wa.gov -- click on Business & Permits, then select "How do I participate in upcoming wildfire fuel reduction bidding?"

The projects are made possible through federal grants, including the National Fire Plan and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Forestland health funded

This year's capital budget in Washington state includes $2.75 million for restoration projects on state-owned forests in Stevens, Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Okanogan, Yakima, Kittitas and Spokane counties.

"Our forestlands serve a lot of needs in our state, from jobs and recreation to funding our schools, so we are extremely pleased to see funds included in the capital budget to restore and protect local natural resources," Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, said in a news release. "It's past time we address clearing our forests of debris and focusing on disease management."

The last-minute push for funding was an effort by Rep. Norma Smith, R-Whidbey Island, after she heard testimony on the conditions in some of the state's forestlands, particularly in the 7th Legislative District.

"Last year alone, Washington state spent $11 million to fight fires on forestlands," said Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy. "I believe investing these funds to maintain our forests in ways that are less prone to fire will save money overall. We could see millions of dollars, thousands of acres of forestland and private property protected because of the projects included in this budget."

Committee gains new member

SALEM -- Sara Leiman has joined the Committee for Family Forestlands, an advisory group that advises the Oregon Board of Forestry about the concerns and interests of small-acreage and family forest owners.

Leiman co-owns and serves as general manager of her Monroe, Ore.-based family forestland business, Coast Range Conifers LLC. The company manages 2,814 acres in Benton, Lane and Lincoln counties, according to a Forestry Department news release.

Membership of the 10-person committee includes family forest landowners, forest industry representatives, state staff, environmental community and public members, according to the news release.

The Oregon Board of Forestry also named McMinnville resident Susan Watkins as vice-chair of the Committee for Family Forestlands. Watkins moved to Oregon following a 30-year career in municipal law in California and Washington.

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