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State helps landowners tackle forest health

Insect damage leads to area forest health warning

— The state Department of Natural Resources has a new method of helping landowners address forest health problems in the areas around Republic, Curlew, Chesaw, Orient, Kettle Falls and Wauconda.

Landowners often are confronted with woodlands in a high-risk condition for insect outbreaks, but find the economics of tree thinning and restoration too costly, the agency said.

Some wait for the timber market to improve, while others might wait until an outbreak happens and try to clean up the dead timber afterward.

The project seeks to help people by using an incentive payment that improves otherwise economically marginal thinning and restoration activities.

In exchange, landowners would agree to conduct the restoration project on their land using a set of “prescriptions” to achieve forest health.

Landowners can get an incentive payment ranging from $100 to $200 per acre.

A written stewardship plan is necessary. Cost-share funding is available to help develop those plans.

Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark has issued a Forest Health Hazard Warning for the area, citing western spruce budworm and pine bark beetles as the cause of damage.

Participation information is available from Landowner Assistance Manager Steve Harris with the Colville office or Forest Health Specialist Chuck Hersey in Olympia.

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