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Writings by Andrea Watts

Articles on sustainable forestry, agriculture, and other topics

Finishing a Career with a ScorpionKing

 

 

TimberWest
May/June 2018

Although Ken Wilson, owner of Ken’s Kutting, is approaching a significant milestone in his logging career — next year will mark 45 years spent out in the woods — he isn’t slowing down. Instead, he is prioritizing what’s important in life.

You won’t find Ken or Danny Wilson, his cousin and work partner, working long days because, as Ken is quick to quip, “We’re old and got families.” Read more…

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The Recovery of Soil Fungi Following a Fire

 

 

U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station Science Findings
June 2018

If all the fungi within a half gram of forest soil were lined up, they would form a line that’s half a mile long. That same half gram of soil includes bacteria that number in the hundreds of thousands. These fungi and bacteria, through their nutrient cycling and other valuable ecosystem services, sustain the forests that dominate the Pacific Northwest. It’s why mycologists joke that trees are the photosynthetic appendages of fungi.

“Fungi play so many critical roles in the soils and for the trees,” explains Jane Smith, a research botanist with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station. “For example, saprobic fungi decompose plant materials and cycle nutrients that the plants can absorb, and ectomycorrhizal fungi, which colonize roots of trees and shrubs, bring nutrients to the plants in exchange for the carbon produced during photosynthesis.” Read more…

Seattle’s New $28M Locomotive Facility Picks Up Steam

Construction Equipment Guide
May 8, 2018

With the piling work completed for the new Amtrak locomotive service facility, crews are now pouring its concrete foundation and installing the underground mechanical, electrical and utilities. Although the project is only 38 percent complete, construction is ahead of schedule.

“We’re scheduled to turn over the building to Amtrak at the end of next January,” said Cody Glasgow, project manager of PCL Construction. Read more…

Finding Success in the Residuals Market

 

TimberWest
March/April 2018

Three times a day, a residual hauler from Sierra Pacific, Interstate Wood Products, or Veneer Chip Transport visits Gem Shavings’ new Shelton facility to deliver an average of 175 cubic yards of wood shavings. Usually a couple days later, these wood shavings leave Gem Shavings either as bales or in bulk, and are en route to feed stores in the Pacific Northwest or Thoroughbred farms in California and around the world. Read more…

River food webs: Incorporating nature’s invisible fabric into river management

 

U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station Science Findings
April 2018

Increasing the population of spring Chinook salmon and summer steelhead in Washington state’s Methow River is a goal of the Upper Columbia Spring Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan. Spring Chinook salmon and summer steelhead are listed as endangered and threatened, respectively, under the Endangered Species Act.

Installing logjams and reconnecting the river to its floodplain are management actions being undertaken to restore salmon habitat. However, researchers with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Idaho State University found that focusing solely on physical habitat restoration overlooks the importance of maintaining the food webs supporting all river life. Read more…

MassDOT’s $317M Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project in Final Phase

Construction Equipment Guide
March 15, 2018

The five-year Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement project is now in its final six months. With the construction of the new Whittier Bridge complete, crews are removing the old bridge’s foundations from the Merrimack River and paving the new lanes on I-95 within the project corridor.

“MassDOT is very pleased with the aesthetic look of the new bridges and the quality of the final product on the overall project, as well as the ability to open the new bridge and adjoining roadway section up to four lanes in each direction later this year,” said Ernie Monroe, the MassDOT resident engineer for the project. “Overall, the project is a success.”Read more…

Taking a Chance on Industry Changes

TimberWest
January/February 2018

When fifth-generation logger Stephen Reidhead was inspired by his wife Trish to start Tri-Star Logging in 1986, he couldn’t have foreseen that industry changes in the 1990s would force him to exchange logging in the hills surrounding the city of Snowflake for grinding up the citrus orchards to make way for Phoenix development. Yet these grinding jobs kept his business viable, and the experience positioned Reidhead to take advantage of another industry change that was coming to northeast Arizona. Read more…

Nearby Nature—A Cost-Effective Prescription for Better Community Health?

U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station Science Findings
January 2017

A balanced diet and regular exercise are fundamental for good health, and a daily dose of nature may be equally important. Nearly 40 years of research has demonstrated that “metro nature”—nature found in urban environments, such as parks or tree-lined streets—provides positive and measurable health benefits and improves people’s quality of life.

A research team led by Kathleen Wolf, a research social scientist with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, found that the health benefits associated with metro nature have a calculable economic impact. Read more…

Preparing for the Future and Adapting to the Times

TimberWest
November/December 2017

With over 40 years of working in the Mossy Rock-Winlock area of Southwest Washington, there aren’t many hills that the Lyons family hasn’t logged.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate to [have] spent 30 years in this area,” says Brad, while driving out to the first of several jobsites where his crews are working. When the road crests a hill to reveal a view that encompasses an expansive network of hillsides that are still tree-covered or in the greening-up period, he remarks, “We’re so spoiled working here.” Read more…

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