Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension  agent for Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.

In a previous post , I wrote about the value of roads for a woodland owner, as well as the responsibly to maintain roads to protect their value as well as our water resources.  Many family forest landowners have older, “legacy” roads.  These older roads were likely not built to today’s engineering standards, have lost some of their function over time, so are deserving of some attention and stewardship.

So what does that involve?

It likely begins with observation.  Make it a habit to get out and inspect your road system regularly.  Since water is a key element and force causing damage to roads, get out in the wet season.  Bring paper, make notes and keep them as a reminder of what you saw and did.

When on your walk, you should be looking for signs of drainage issues:  Water standing on the road, trapped water running down the road forming ruts, and water pooling in the uphill road ditch all indicate drainage issues that may leader to bigger more damaging (more expensive) problems. Continue reading

By Amy Grotta and Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension

Group mortality of Douglas-fir in May 2015.  Douglas-fir beetle was found in all these trees.  Photo Kara Shaw
Group mortality of Douglas-fir in May 2015. Douglas-fir beetle was found in all these trees. Photo Kara Shaw

We have certainly experienced some significant drought conditions lately.  Stressed and dying trees are showing up all around the Willamette Valley, with concern that this could lead to beetle outbreaks and still more trees killed.  Is it time to throw in the towel, cut your losses (so to speak) and just salvage everything that is looking poorly?  Maybe, maybe not.  The decision needs to be considered carefully, weighing individual sites and stand conditions along with your objectives for your property.  Anybody considering a salvage harvest needs to look before they leap. Continue reading

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program now through January 13th. The CSP provides a per-acre payment to small woodland owners that can demonstrate that they are implementing conservation and stewardship practices such as stream restoration, wildlife habitat enhancement, or other measures. Interested landowners should contact their local NRCS office to learn about eligibility and to determine whether CSP is a good fit for them.

The NRCS news release states that payments are typically around $9 to $12 per acre – which makes me wonder whether it is worth the time and paperwork for a small landowner. However, I do know that several woodland owners in our area participated in the CSP program last year. Are you one of them? I invite you to share your experience by commenting on this post.

The NRCS in both Columbia and Washington Counties are now accepting Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) applications from forest landowners who want forest management plans. The application deadline is October 31, 2011. Approved applicants will receive cost-share funding to have a management plan written by a qualified professional.

Nathan Adelman, NRCS Soil Conservationist in Hillsboro says, “In Washington County, priority will be given to applicants who have 10 or more acres of forest and who agree to complete, with NRCS cost share, afforestation on 3 or more acres of land that is not now and has not recently been in forest. Basically, our office would like to help non-industrial forest landowners plant trees on land that is not currently wooded.”

Columbia County landowners should be receiving more information about the program in the mail, and a series of informational meetings will be held throughout the county during the second week of October.

For more information, contact:
Washington County NRCS: Nathan Adelman, 503-648-3174 ext. 101
Columbia County NRCS: Don Mehlhoff, 503-397-4555 ext. 105