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Writings by Andrea Watts

Articles on sustainable forestry, agriculture, and other topics

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

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

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…

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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…

Cellulose-Infused Concrete Is One Step Closer to Reality

Construction Equipment Guide
December 6, 2017

On a sunny summer day at Oregon State University, before an audience of researchers and representatives from the construction industry, a Knife River-owned ready-mix cement truck poured a batch of concrete. By all appearances the concrete looked similar to concrete poured at a construction site with one notable exception. This concrete had wood in it — more specifically cellulose nanocrystals (CNC). If this test batch of concrete yields the same strength and curing results in a real-world setting as has been found in the laboratory, CNC very likely could be a gamechanger for the concrete industry. Read more…

Father and Son Carry on Family Tradition

TimberWest
September/October 2017

Being a crew of two means father-son team J.D and J.R. Boehme find themselves switching between equipment and tasks while on a job site, but that suits them just fine.
In fact, a two-man team is keeping with the tradition that began nearly 40 years ago when J.D.’s father, Don, started Boehme and Son Logging Inc. Their motto is Keep it small and keep it in the family. Read more…

Can We Store Carbon and Have Our Timber and Habitat Too?

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

We ask a lot of our national forests. They are our recreation destinations, while providing habitat for numerous wildlife and plant species. They are a source of timber that supports jobs for rural communities and our cities’ water supplies. And they are vital in our nation’s efforts to address climate change.

“Forests store most of the carbon on the Earth’s surface, so forests are really important from a carbon perspective,” says Warren Cohen, a research forester with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station. Read more…

 

FWTA’s $1B TEXRail Project on Time

Construction Equipment Guide
October 10, 2017

With the construction of the rail line on schedule and the field testing of the first train set for late fall 2017, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority’s (FWTA) TEXRail commuter rail project is meeting its target goal of beginning service in late 2018. And if the project forecast’s hold true, an estimated 8,000 people per day will be riding the rails instead of driving cars when heading to downtown Fort Worth or to the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport. Read more…

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