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After a great trip to Wenatchee last week and hearing what local bike advocates are focusing on, I wanted to share the work of Washington Bikes in north central Washington the past 2-3 years. Our route to better bicycling all over the state relies on (at least) 3 things:
What we’ve done the past few years in north central Washington* that adds to the tally from local efforts:Washington Bikes to School
Around 2,300 middle-school students have learned to ride with confidence thanks to our bike/walk safety curriculum in Brewster, Bridgeport, Moses Lake, Omak, Pateros, Quincy, and Wahluke school districts.Washington Bikes and Walks More Places
In the 2013 legislative session local projects received $5,384,545 in state investments we worked for that all mean more comfortable and connected miles you can ride:
In spring 2014 we brought out Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Tours in Washington. The first guide book to multi-day bike tours in Washington state to be published in over a decade, the book includes two tours that traverse north central Washington and great tips for developing your own routes:
We have similar lists for other regions of the state; watch for those posts in days to come to get an understanding of just how much goes on all around the #1 Bicycle Friendly State.
*Where’s North Central Washington? We’re using the Washington State Dept. of Transportation North Central Region map. Communities define their region in various ways and the boundaries vary from person to person.
The post Working for Better Bicycling in North Central Washington appeared first on Washington Bikes.
Update 7.16.14, 9:30 p.m. - A new fire has started in Chiwaukum Creek Canyon on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest off of Hwy 2. Part of the fire is within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Details about the fire are still developing, but as of this evening, large portions of Hwy 2 were closed between Stevens Pass and Leavenworth, and some nearby areas, including the Scottish Lakes High Camp, have been evacuated. Hikers should plan to avoid Chiwaukum Creek Trail and other area trails for now. Drivers should stay informed about highway closures when using these routes, especially Hwy 2.
The Tumwater Campground has also been closed.
Several wildfires are burning in Central and Eastern Washington, the largest of which is the Mills Canyon Fire burning on about 20K acres near Wenatchee and the Entiat Mountains. The fire has prompted evacuations and closed roads that lead to trails in the area.
Highway 97A between Entiat River Road to Wenatchee remains closed, and the Entiat River Road is open to local residents.
Much smaller fires are also burning in Central and Eastern portions of the state. With high temperatures and dry weather in the forecast, hikers, backpacker and campers will all be a part of preventing human-caused fires.Safe to hike?
While most hiking trails in the state, have remained unaffected by the Mills Canyon Fire has closed trails (or roads to trails) in the Entiat Mountains, including Keystone Ridge, Lower Mad River Valley and Silver Falls and Larch Lakes. If you are planning a trip to the Entiat, monitor the situation closely and check conditions before you leave. Tip: If you ever have a question about hiking in a region with an active wildfire, contact or visit a ranger station.Statewide wildfire prevention: a backcountry refresher
If you're in the backcountry, and especially during high-risk times, it's best to avoid having a campfire altogether. Oftentimes campfires are prohibited above a certain elevation or near certain bodies of water.
If you must have a backcountry fire, follow the Leave No Trace principes:
For more info check out: Leave No Trace's Minimize Campfire Impacts.Campfire safety: if it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave
No matter where you're camping, make sure your campfire is built and put out responsibly. (Adapted from guidelines from the Gifford Pinchot and Mt. Hood national forests Fire Staff):
Building a fire
Enjoying a fire
Putting it out
Regional Conservation Partnership Program Pre-Proposal Deadline July 14 USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting pre-proposals for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) through Monday, July 14. NRCS is advises partners to submit pre-proposals via email or postal mail. The Grants.gov website will be down for maintenance the weekend of July 12- 14, 2014. […]
Today’s guest blog is from JP Miller, a restoration intern in our Southeast office.
mud salamander | JP Miller, American Rivers
My passion for streams and rivers developed during my undergraduate career at Virginia Tech. There I found myself, more often than not, navigating the New River and its treacherous rapids— wading through its slippery bedrock riffles in pursuit of an elusive quarry, the smallmouth bass. This same passion led me to graduate school at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, where I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in water resources management. This summer, I am a Stanback Intern for American Rivers’ River Restoration Program.
As part of my internship, I have been evaluating and prioritizing more than 2,600 dams across North Carolina for removal based on social and ecological criteria. In particular, I enjoy learning about the history of dams that are candidates for decommissioning (including many that may be over 200 years old), and also examining how their removal can restore degraded river systems. My master’s project also seeks to improve impaired rivers and streams, but instead does so by protecting their vital headwaters.
In the evening this summer, I have been following perennial streams in the Duke Forest in an attempt to identify the intermittent streams, which flow seasonally or only after rain events. The work requires a powerful GPS unit to map the streams. Following streams is often more challenging than one might imagine because dense underbrush often masks the network of channels that form the headwaters of the streams. While these treks often entail difficult bushwhacking, the wildlife sightings make the work worthwhile.
JP Miller (second from left) enjoying the Linville River during the American Rivers Southeast staff retreat
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), intermittent streams compose almost 60% of all streams in the United States. Therefore, it is not surprising to learn that intermittent streams play a critical role in providing clean water to downstream communities by retaining sediment, filtering harmful pollutants, and reducing excessive nutrient loading. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service determined that if these streams were filled, it would be virtually impossible to successfully implement a nutrient reduction strategy in a watershed. Furthermore, intermittent streams provide important habitat to a diverse array of aquatic organisms, including a number of rare or endangered species. Many terrestrial species also rely on seasonal streams for a portion of their life cycle. And yet, protection for these waters remains unclear. Read more about the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps’ proposed Clean Water Rule that is currently open for public comment to clarify what waters are – and are not – protected under the Clean Water Act.
Topographic maps do not usually show most of the nation’s small streams, and therefore hinder efforts to protect them. My research will attempt to support the protection and restoration of the small, yet important, beginnings of some more well known (and therefore more protected) streams.
Streams, big and small, afford myriad ecosystem services to communities and the natural environment, and I am proud to have spent a summer protecting and restoring our streams. It is not possible to have healthy lakes and rivers without protecting the two million miles of streams that feed into them.
Please help us protect small rivers and streams by telling your local Congressman or Representative to support the EPA’s Clean Water Rule!
We don’t just want to be a Bicycle Friendly Community. We need to be a friendly bike community. — Rufus Woods, Publisher, Wenatchee World Words worth sharing!
What a wonderful takeaway from a trip to Wenatchee this week, along with a 28-mile sunburn (it’s warm bicycling in Wenatchee this time of year — good thing they have a river to jump into), pictures of the Apple Capital Loop Trail, and new bike friends.
WA Bikes has connected with local advocates several times the past couple of years, including a workshop on creating a more bikeable/walkable community in 2012 and a visit in 2013 with a number of local riders including people working to get bikes for kids who don’t have them. Every time we go we see more people riding and more infrastructure connections to help grow bicycling.
This list will inevitably miss some of the great things happening in this beautiful valley to make bicycling better for everyone from 8 to 80; I’ll take a run at what I heard and Wenatchee bike folks can add more in the comments.
Click to view slideshow.
Two quick stories from the Tour de Bloom that help illustrate the value of bicycling to the Wenatchee Valley, whether or not you ride:
Wenatchee is really rolling, and at the same time local advocates say they have a lot of work to do and projects to complete. My list doesn’t include everything I heard and learned on my visit.
Your turn: If you bike in Wenatchee, what do you think people need to know about what’s happening there to grow bicycling and make it even better?
Share this on Twitter to thank local bike leaders for all their hard work:
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April showers bring May flowers – and vernal pools, if you live in California or Southern Oregon.
Vernal pools are seasonal depressional wetlands that fill up with rainwater during winter and spring, but may be dry for part of the year. They are typically found on the West Coast, especially in California and Southern Oregon, but can also be found in parts of the Northeast and Midwest. Western vernal pools often occur within “vernal pool landscapes” [PDF] where swales connect vernal pools to each other and to seasonal streams. Vernal pools vary in size [PDF] from 1 square meter to more than 2 acres.Why Care About Western Vernal Pools?
Western vernal pools can connect to other pools and streams that flow seasonally or only after rain. Multiple studies [PDF] show that California vernal pools fill with water and flow into these channels [PDF], sending water downstream during many days of the year. These connections can impact the base flow of downstream waters, altering their physical characteristics. Western vernal pools are also hot spots of biodiversity, with native plant and animal species some of which can only be found in vernal pool habitats. In a study of vernal pools, 17 out of 67 species [PDF] were only found in one of the surveyed ponds. In turn, these plants and animals provide food and habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl. Vernal pools, like other depressional wetlands, can also help to store and slow floodwaters [PDF].Are They Protected Under the Clean Water Act?
The proposed Clean Water Rule acknowledges these connections and sets up a process where similar “other waters” that lie outside of the floodplain can be protected under the Clean Water Act. These waters collectively with other similar waters must demonstrate a significant connection to downstream waters, meaning that those waters have a more than speculative impact on the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of downstream protected waters. Although playa lakes aren’t categorically protected right now under the draft rule, the EPA and the Army Corps are looking for input about whether they should be.
Add your voice today to show your support for a strong rule that restores protections to small streams and wetlands like playa lakes.
We’re witnessing a major demographic shift in agriculture. Over the next two decades, as aging farmers retire or leave their land to the next generation, 70 percent of the nation’s private farm and ranch land will likely change hands. One report predicts that women may own 75 percent of this transferred farmland. Many of these […]