FEATURED PROFESSIONAL: Betty Munis, Idaho Forest Products Commission

Sustainable Forestry Tour for Teachers and Counselors

The Idaho Forest Products Commission (IFPC) was created in 1992 by an act of the Idaho Legislature. The purpose of the Commission is to “promote the economic and environmental welfare of the state by providing a means for the collection and dissemination of information regarding the management of the state’s public and private forest lands and the forest products industry.” IFPC provides a variety of statewide communications activities, educational programs and informational materials to educate specific audiences such as decision makers, educators and students as well as the general public about the need for proper forest management.

The Sustainable Forestry Tour was created by the Idaho Forest Products specifically for educators and counselors.

Through the Sustainable Forestry Tour, educators immerse themselves in the social, economic and ecological aspects of sustainable forestry. Once the educator arrives at the tour, s/he is treated as a VIP!

Teachers and school counselors of 3rd through 12th grades are invited to apply for the Tour. IFPC especially seeks those with emphasis in science, natural resources, vocational or agriculture education, economics and career counseling.
Teachers are immersed in sustainable forestry issues with valuable information and concepts to bring into their classrooms and counseling offices. During the 3-day program, educators may visit private, state and federal forests; tour a sawmill, paper mill, and seedling nursery; see an active timber harvesting operation, walk in forest stands of differing ages and see a firefighting demonstration.

Throughout the tour, they learn directly from the natural resource professionals who care for our forests, and those who provide products we all use every day. Educators leave with abundant information and resources to explore sustainable forestry and related careers with their students. The Program has had a 10 year successful participation rate as noted through positive feedback from attendees after completion of the tour.

Sponsors who cover travel, food and lodging expenses for the teachers for this 3-day program include private industrial landowners, logging contractors, forestry consultants and private individuals typically from all areas of the Inland Northwest.

 Sustainable Forestry Tour Key Concepts

  • Foresters manage large landscapes over long time horizons
  • Nature is dynamic: everything is connected and constantly changing
  • Sustainable forestry integrates social, economic, and ecological needs
  • Foresters can manage for the reoccurrence of desirable outcomes
  • We can meet our material needs while protecting forest ecosystems
  • Trees capture & store carbon
  • Regulations exist to protect water, air, soil, fish and wildlife
  • Incentives are better than regulations
  • We all need and use wood products
  • Wood is an environmentally sound building material
  • Forestry is capital intensive
  • The highest technology is employed in the woods, mills and labs
  • There is complete utilization of the resource
  • Wood bioenergy produces less air pollution than fossil fuel energy
  • The forest products industry is rich in career opportunities
  • Educators have a special responsibility
  • We all need to make informed choices

For forest facts (geared to adults or children), issues, workshops, to view or order materials and video’s, visit the Idaho Forest Products Commission website http://www.idahoforests.org.

Betty Munis is the Executive Director,
Idaho Forest Products Commission

Commentary to KUFM Radio Missoula, February 11, 2011

Pat Heffernen, Montana Wood Products Association, Weekly Reader

As Carbon-based life forms, we emit Carbon Dioxide – or CO2 – with every breath. Most of the other organisms that we share our planet with are also Carbon-based and emit CO2. The basic energy input for most life is the radiation energy from the sun, which green plants capture through the process of photosynthesis and then redistribute as plants are eaten by grazing animals; grazing animals are eaten by predators and ad infinitum. This solar energy is also captured and stored in materials like coal, oil and natural gas – the so-called ‘fossil’ fuels – and in the wood fiber of trees; a rapidly-renewable fuel.

One of the vital ingredients of the photosynthesis process is CO2, which, in December 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated as a ‘pollutant’, all on its own, without direction from Congress, and which EPA says: “endangers the public’s health and welfare”. It’s rather like reacting to the thousands’ of deaths caused by di-hydrogen oxide and the need to ban that dangerous chemical too.

Since this ephemeral regulatory cornerstone was laid in place, legislation to create a ‘cap-and-trade’ Carbon Dioxide system – ‘taxing’ CO2 emitting industries and subsidizing ‘green’ energy and rewarding schemes to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere – has died on the vine. Perhaps as ‘revenge’ for the failure of the Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Lieberman legislation, the EPA swung into gear and played the CO2 card. A veritable blizzard (no global warming pun intended) of EPA regulation is on the way; most troubling being the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) and ‘Tailoring’ Rules. Under BACT, an air quality permit applicant will have to propose what BACT technologies and processes they will be using, to reduce emissions of ‘Greenhouse Gases’, but they have no assurance that EPA will concur with their choice, nor does EPA specify what BACT technologies and operational methods may be acceptable for particular sources – a veritable continuous ‘do-loop’ analysis process and fertile playing field for endless litigation.

Worse yet, is the ‘Tailoring’ rule – the ‘Prevention of Significant Deterioration’ and Title Five ‘Greenhouse Gas Tailoring’ Rules – which will regulate emissions from wood-fired, ‘green’ energy power plants, just the same as if they were coal, oil, natural gas, or other ‘fossil’ fuel sources – no advantage here for renewable biomass energy.

To their credit, Senators and Congressmen have weighed-in, including our own Congressional Delegation, imparting their displeasure with EPA’s fervor with these poorly-crafted Greenhouse Gas rules. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack has also weighed-in, as the Forest Service has millions of acres of dead and dying trees, which could be the perfect ‘green’ fuel source for thermal, base-load electrical power. EPA has ‘backed-off’, implementing a three year ‘stay’ of the Tailoring Rule and three Bills will be introduced in Congress this week: Senator James Inhofe, of Oklahoma and Senator John Barrasso, of Wyoming, are seeking to prevent EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under any existing environmental law and Congressman Fred Upton, of Michigan, is introducing legislation that would strip EPA of its authority to limit CO2 emissions from power plants, refineries and other stationary sources. Perhaps as collateral damage from this overreaching of EPA, current White House renewable energy czar, Carol Browner, who ran the EPA for the Clinton Administration, has resigned and current EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, may be next…

Meanwhile, at the 2011 Montana Legislature, Senate Joint Resolution 10, by Senator Jason Priest, from Red Lodge, was heard in the Senate Natural Resources Committee this last Friday. SJ 10 seeks to encourage Montana’s congressional delegation to get behind legislation preventing EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under existing environmental law. Also last week, Senator Jim Keane, from Butte, introduced SB 233 to focus the reach of the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) to within Montana’s borders, to direct the analysis of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and other state agencies, as they analyze the effects of energy and other state-permitted projects. Senator Keane’s Bill will prevent a continuous MEPA ‘do-loop’ of analyzing the perceived effects of Montana projects on the regional and global environment and will also limit the available playing field for litigation of MEPA analyses and subsequent injunctions against the issuance of permits.

Fasten your seat belts; the MEPA ride is quite a bronco – it’s bucked legislators around before – but it’s a horse worth riding if we are serious about creating natural resource jobs and building the infrastructure necessary for Montana to compete in a global economy.

FEATURED PROFESSIONAL: Loren Pinski, Northwest Management, Inc. Marketing Professional

Flathead Lake Montana Historic Recovered Logs

Northwest Management, Inc. is excited to introduce a line of lumber products from reclaimed pine and larch logs that have been sitting on the bottom of Flathead Lake, Montana for decades.

Between 1901 to 1957, thousands of pine and larch logs sank to the bottom of Somers Bay on the northern edge of Flathead Lake. These logs sat in the cool waters until 2010 when NMI was contracted to recover the logs and sell wood products made from them.

NMI started sending down divers to search for these logs and pull then to the surface. These reclaimed pine and larch logs are now being turned into unique flooring, paneling, planks for tables and bar tops, boards for beautiful furniture, and anything else your imagination could dream of.

Sitting on the bottom of Flathead Lake not only preserved the logs, but the aging process and mineral deposits have given the pine and larch logs a wide range of tones, colors, and hues. These range from subtle browns and greys to deep greens, reds, blues, and blacks.

Only through NMI can you get lumber products that have been aged in the deep cool Flathead Lake Montana waters that originate from the snow fields of Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness area.

We can produce 8/4 and thicker pine and larch slabs with natural edges that can be used to make custom tables, bar tops, and furniture.

We are able to sell pine and larch boards with finished edges that can be used to make unique trim, picture frames, custom doors and windows, and furniture.

Our partner mills can produce 4/4 T&G pine paneling in a wide range of patterns. These boards would make a great accent wall or ceiling for a cabin or mountain lodge.

Imagine a solid wood Larch floor with shades of black, reds, bronze, and browns flowing through the wood.

TIMBERS: Open beam construction using timbers from logs that have been sitting on the bottom of Flathead Lake for decades could add a uniqueness to a lodge that could never be duplicated.

Cookies are end slices of logs. For the railroad enthusiasts, occasionally we get logs that are stamped with the logo of the Great Northern Railroad.

If you are looking to build, remodel, have custom furniture made for you home or office, or just want an end table with a Great Northern logo, please give us a call or send an email so we can discuss how reclaimed logs from the bottom of Flathead Lake can be used to enhance your project.

Flathead Lake Historic Timber – The History

Northwest Management, Inc. has been working with the family for the past 5 years that owned the Somers Lumber Company mill located on Flathead Lake in Somers, Montana. Many of the logs stored in the lake during the mills operation sank and have been preserved in the bottom of the lake for over 100 years. These logs are 150 to 250 plus years old and have been in the lake for another 100 years making this some of the oldest lumber products available for those special projects.

The town of Somers, Montana is located at the northern end of Flathead Lake near Kalispell. The DeVoe Family helped build the community of Somers and operated the Somers Sawmill on Flathead Lake from 1901 to 1948. The sawmill and planer mill were shutdown in 1948; however, the DeVoe family continued the operation of the tie treatment plant until 1957.

The mill burned down in 1957 and was never started up again. The sunken logs remained in the lake until 2010 when the family began operations handled by North Shore Development, LLC. and Northwest Management, Inc. to recover the logs through a reclamation effort.

The history began with the Great Northern Railway tycoon James J. Hill and local businessman John O’Brien joined forces to build and operate an 11-mile railroad line to a sawmill on the north shore of Flathead Lake. Hill provided financial assistance for the construction of the sawmill and O’Brien supplied 600,000 railroad ties annually to the Great Northern Railway until 1906. At Somers, O’Brien built more than 120 residences and a general store to provide housing and support services to the workers and their families until the closing of the sawmill. By 1910, the Somers Lumber Company sawmill was the largest in the Flathead Valley, providing over 30 million board feet of lumber every year.

The Somers Lumber Company was not only the main employer providing a great deal of work for the town residents, but they catered to their workers needs and transportation to and from the mill. For example: the “Wanagan” was a large company barge with living quarters for 25 men, a dining room and a kitchen. A small tug moved the barge up and down the Flathead River while the crew gathered cut logs which had hung up in the bushes and sand bars during the early spring log-drives. Log-drives were difficult and dangerous comprising large floods of water carrying 16-foot to 33-foot logs down local creeks and the Flathead River with great force. During these log-drives many trees sank in the rivers and even more sank while being stored in Flathead Lake before the sawmill could retrieve them. In those days, it was easier to cut new timber than recover lost logs; therefore, much of the wood that sank was left behind.

Today these logs are being recovered and are carefully being handled to make use of the valuable wood characteristics, grain and colors that these timbers provide. The DeVoe family one of the leading pioneers in the Flathead valley is once again pioneering a new wood product and will be making these exotic one of a kind woods available. To see some of these unique products look at our web page Flathead Lake Historic Timbers or www.flatheadlaketimber.com

FEATURED PROFESSIONAL: Jim Kingery, Professor Emeritus, Rangeland and Ecology Management, University of Idaho

Weeds…..Unwanted Guests

When I closed my eyes, I could still see them.

In 1990, my wife, Peg, and I became new stewards of a 55-acre farm/timber parcel of land near Deary, Idaho. Until we purchased it, about half of the land had been planted to grain crops; the remaining land was forest and wetlands. We had enthusiastic plans of restoring the farmland to a more natural condition in order to improve its value as wildlife habitat. Ponds were dug, trees were planted and native grasses were seeded. As with any restoration project, disturbance brings not only desired plant species but also some undesirable ones – weeds. Initially, the weed we squared off against was Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.). For hours at a time, we’d haul backpack sprayers around the property and dose every thistle we came across with Curtail R, the herbicide of choice at the time.

Which is why I could see the plants even when I closed my eyes at the end of the day.

Little did we realize that dealing with Canada thistle would be remembered as the good old days.  Since those early years, we’ve seen the encroachment of several more aggressive and invasive weeds on our property. These include:  cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.), an introduced winter annual  grass that is widely distributed throughout the western US;  oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L.), an escaped ornamental that is now widespread in the Northwest; orange and yellow hawkweed (Hieracium auraniacum L. and H. pretense Tausch.), introduced herbs found in many areas in the Northwest; spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa Lam.), an introduced biennial or short-lived herb ; sulfur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta L.), a long-lived introduced perennial herb; and most recently ventenata grass (Ventenata dubia [Leers] Gross. & Dur.), a very fine-leaved annual grass introduced from Eurasia.

Of these unwanted guests we have been able to control the oxeye daisy, the two hawkweeds and the Canadian thistle with herbicides. We have been able to control the spotted knapweed by hand-pulling individual plants because we observed it early. Because sulfur cinquefoil looks very similar to native cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis Doug. ex Hook.) it didn’t catch our attention until it was quite widespread over a 17-acre area on the farm that we had never mowed or fertilized. Last summer we pastured 16 rams in this area, in the hopes that they would help us stop the spread. Their grazing gave us the desired clipping effect and an abundant amount of natural fertilizer. While it is a bit early to tell what affect this treatment has had on the cinquefoil, it appears to have benefited the desired perennial plants, especially the grasses.

Peg and I have learned some valuable lessons concerning weed management. The most important is to be familiar with the vegetation. When you see a new plant, determine what it is and whether it’s beneficial to your land.  If it’s not, it’s much easier to control or eliminate before it has a chance to spread.

Now when I close my eyes, I drift off in a peaceful sleep, knowing our land is providing healthy forage and cover for our wanted “guests”, the wildlife.

Jim Kingery is Professor Emeritus in the Rangeland and Ecology Management Department at the University of Idaho. Jim’s research interests include restoration of disturbed lands.

An Asian Driven Evolution of Western U.S. Log and Wood Building Products Markets

by: David New, Growing Excellence, Inc.

While the USA remains the world’s largest single wood building products market and producer, the developed and emerging economies of Japan, Korea, China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia are rapidly overtaking the US. Globally, building products market demand is directly related to national or regional overall economic activity. Regretfully the US is projected to have very poor growth in domestic building products demand for the next five years.

Whereas East and South Asia’s collective economy is projected to continue to grow and become increasingly reliant on importing forest products from outside of the region to meet its needs. Until recently Canada has been much more aggressive in pursuing these emerging Asian lumber markets.

While market demand is changing, so too are the critical relative “global trade” factors of transportation costs (liquid fuel and empty container backhaul shipping ), manufacturing costs and currency exchange. Ten years ago shipping a container of lumber to the Eastern US from Idaho was cheaper than shipping to Asia. Today that situation has reversed, making lumber buyers of East Asia some of Western North America’s most profitable markets.

Despite Canadian lumber exports to China, Pacific Northwest log markets have also significantly changed as US log exports to China have risen from 100,000 m3 (about 18MMBF) in 2007 to 2.43 million m3 (about 452 MMBF) in 2010. This additional demand led to significant increases in sawlog stumpages in the Coastal PNW during 2009-2011. The coastal PNW was the only US region to experience such sawlog stumpage price increases.  Combined,  these factors are likely to drive more and more Western US lumber manufacturers into exporting lumber to Asia for the foreseeable future.

As a long time advocate of the importance of export markets to the viability of any industry, Asia’s new wood products markets represent great opportunities for Western US large and small forest owners and wood building products manufacturers.

David New is president of Growing Excellence Inc., a small international forest business management consultant company. He was Chief Forester for Fletcher Challenge, formerly a New Zealand based company with forest products, construction and energy interests globally, and he has served as VP of Timberland Resources for Boise Csacade with lands in 6 states and Brazil.

FEATURED PROFESSIONAL: Mark V. Corrao, Hydrologist

Montana Surface Water Rights

While looking at that stream running across the back of your property, or that big open space in your pasture that seems to be wet all year round, have you ever dreamed about irrigating your lawn, watering your horses or building a pond? There are a few things all landowners and businesses should know about surface water permitting in Montana before you let those dreams turn into plans. The surface water permitting process in Montana is made of three main parts: Physical availability, Legal availability, and Beneficial use. Without all of these parts and some background knowledge, the plans you might be on the verge of developing could put you in “hot water”, so-to-speak.

Physical availability means the source of water, your wet spot or creek, needs to have enough water to allow you to complete your project; for example, enough water to water the land or fill a horse trough or a pond.  Physical availability of water can be measured in streams that flow all year round more easily than ones that only flow in the spring, and can be even more difficult to measure for seeps and “wet spots”.

Legal availability comes into play after the determination that there is enough water for your project. Is anyone else already using the water you hope to use?  For example, if a stream has 12 inches of water in it and someone downstream is already using 6 inches, there is 12 inches physically available but only 6 inches are legally available.

Beneficial use. Because water within the State of Montana is considered state owned, the people of the State are entitled to apply for permitted use as long as the use they have planned is considered to be providing a benefit to the state. For example, irrigation, raising stock, or getting water to your house are generally accepted as beneficial uses.

Northwest Management, Inc. has extensive experience with water measurement; legal availability and specifically Montana surface water permitting and the application process for new water rights as well as changes to existing water rights.  So, next time you look across your pasture or walk through that wet spot on your property and start “dreaming” again, we can help you get the most for your time and effort. Just give us a call and we can assist with the details of statues, rules and the process for application of a new water right.

…Coming soon…. stock water rights and instream flow rights in Montana followed by Surface water rights in Idaho.

Mark Corrao is a graduate of Colorado State University with a Masters degree in Hydrology.  He has been employed with the State of Montana and Wyoming specializing in water rights.

What is the Message About Sustainable Forestry?

by Vincent P. Corrao

Today we are inundated with green issues ranging from green products to use in our homes and building materials to purchasing forest products that are recognized through forest certification identifying that the wood material has come from sustainably managed forest.  Green also applies to energy use whether from fuel saving practices with your car, home heating to energy saving light bulbs.  As we try to take in what is green we have to understand the issues that may count the most, such as clean water, clean air and the ability of the soil to produce food for the people in our communities and to maintain a healthy environment in which to live.

Carbon released into the atmosphere and the green house gas impacts on the world are being studied and evaluated for how climate change may be mitigated or at least how we may begin to prepare for its impacts. What the green message is trying to say is that we can have benefits if we use fewer resources.  Unfortunately what the message does not say is that trees are an integral part of this equation and can help in mitigating the impacts of climate change and can be used to encourage the protection and expansion of “green” healthy forests.  A working forest is one that is managed for all uses from forest products to wildlife, water quality, soil protection for generations to come and for community benefits.

We are blessed with millions of acres of forest in the U.S. We are constantly reminded of the importance forest resources bring to the wildlife it harbors and to society.  Getting the true story of what trees and the forest can provide to society and the benefits has become a challenge.  Many believe that the forest cannot be managed to meet the demands of our growing population without damaging the resource.  Experienced resource professionals that have managed working forests and wildlife sustainably have a story to tell and it is one that can meet the growing demands of our countries wood fiber needs while protecting wildlife, soil, water and the communities that rely on these resources.

The elements surrounding resource management involve a mix of economic, social and environmental concerns which if not balanced incur havoc on the other elements.  To learn and understand what really is happening a picture is worth a thousand words.

The video industry is an excellent media to educate and visually show how the natural ecosystem works and how it relates to ongoing activities that affect populations.  The videos and information listed here have been developed by foresters and resource professionals that understand what a long term commitment to manage sustainably means and the importance of keeping the “working forest” working.

There a very good short U-Tube video from the Danish Wood initiative that can be seen athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRwA291NAuM&feature=player called “Wood-Nature’s Stroke of Genius”. Pass it around to your acquaintances and friends.  Take time to see the “Wood-Nature’s Stroke of Genius” video and encourage others to see it and help send the best and correct message about this amazing resource!

The Idaho Forest Products Commission www.idahoforest.org has a great list of forest information, including managing for forest health, information for teachers, video, resource & materials library that can be borrowed at no cost by Idaho residents and a large list of information for all readers.

Vincent P. Corrao, President of Northwest Management, Inc., is a professional forester and a RAB, EMS-EA Environmental Lead Auditor conducting environmental audits for the past 10 years to the SFI, FSC, Tree Farm and Chicago Climate Exchange standards.