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  • Julie Curtis

Forestry news from your local Conservation District

Happy New Year from the San Juan Islands Conservation District! We’d like to kick off our first blog of 2024 with some exciting updates from our forestry team. Whether you are new to the area, a long-time resident, or somewhere in-between, there’s something for everyone in this forestry newsletter. Check out the topics below to learn more.

         • How to check your status or join the SJICD Forest Plan Waitlist

         • Latest on financial assistance programs

         • Wildfire resiliency resources

         • Opportunities for involvement:

                  ◦ Coastal Redwoods Study

                  ◦ WA Farm Forestry Association Carbon Workgroup

                  ◦ WSU Extension Forestry Coached Planning Course


Find more information on our newly revised Forest Stewardship webpage, where you can request technical assistance, learn more about obtaining a forest stewardship plan, connect with partner services, or catch up on some weekend forestry reading.


If you have any questions, or would like to receive this forestry newsletter via email each quarter, please contact

Forest Plan Waitlist

If you are on our forest plan waitlist, thank you for your patience! After a seven-month pause in forestry funding, we are back and ready to assist you. If you are uncertain about your waitlist number, please send Cathi an email at for an update. In the interest of efficiently and effectively serving our forest landowners, if your parcel is under five acres, we may elect to provide you with an abbreviated version of a full stewardship plan. If your primary interest is to obtain approval for a forest tax program, we may refer you to a consulting forester.


Financial Assistance Update

The Washington Department of Natural Resources has funding available for wildfire resilience and forest health treatments on small forestlands. The program will typically pay about 50% of the treatment cost, or more if several neighbors get involved together as a group.

With funding from the Washington State Conservation Commission, SJICD is also developing a cost share assistance program for forest landowners that will focus on forest health and home hardening treatments. We hope to roll out this program in the next few months, so please stay tuned.


Wildfire Resiliency

The San Juan Islands Conservation District has received funding to provide wildfire resiliency assistance to our forest landowners. We are currently developing materials and preparing to provide this service. In the meantime, here are some quick tips to protect your home from wildfire:

  • The first line of defense is to focus on and around the home itself. See the checklist (right) to learn more about what you can do to protect your home from wildfire.

  • Conduct defensible space treatments within a 100-foot radius from all buildings. To learn more about defensible space, see Preparing Homes for Wildfire.

Additionally, there are two wildfire programs that can support your efforts:

  • Individuals can sign up for the Wildfire Ready Neighbors program. This provides a Wildfire Ready Plan and a consultation from wildfire experts on your property. This program will be new to San Juan County sometime next spring, so stay tuned.

  • As a community, you and your neighbors can join the Firewise USA® recognition program. This program provides a collaborative framework to help neighbors get organized, find direction, and take action to increase the ignition resistance of their homes and community and to reduce wildfire risks at the local level.

Forest Stewardship Opportunities


Coastal Redwoods Study

 This opportunity comes from Stacey Dixon, a fellow forester at Snohomish Conservation District and PhD student at the University of Washington:

“We're excited to share an opportunity to contribute to our coastal redwood research project at the University of Washington. Our team is investigating how coastal redwoods are growing in Washington, an area beyond their native range. If you are a landowner (or know a landowner), in Washington with redwood trees five years or older, in a stand of 1/2 acre or more, we'd like to invite you to be a part of our study. Your participation will involve granting our UW research team access to the redwood stand for a brief period (approximately 1-2 days) to conduct measurements and assessments on the redwoods. Your forest will help us better understand how these remarkable trees are adapting to the Washington environment.”

If you meet these criteria and are interested in participating, please contact Stacey at Your involvement can make a significant difference in our research. We appreciate your consideration and look forward to collaborating with you.


WA Farm Forestry Association Carbon Workgroup Interviews

WFFA’s carbon workgroup is developing a series of policy proposals due to the legislature in June, with the goal of guiding the state in deciding how best to deploy funding to mitigate CO2 impacts. They are currently conducting interviews to learn more about the practices and incentives that will be most useful in different areas of the state. Interested forest landowners are encouraged to contact the group; get involved to share the unique perspective of forest landowners in San Juan County. For more information, see this recent article.


Friday Harbor Forest Stewardship Coached Planning – Spring 2024 Intensive Course

WSU-Extension Forestry’s Coached Planning class is coming to San Juan County! This comprehensive university-based forestry course for property owners will help you understand the answers to many of your forest questions, along with coaching you in the writing of your own forest stewardship plan. Whether you have just a few wooded acres or a larger forest tract, if you have trees on your property, this course is for you.

When: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. March 28 – 30, 2024.

Location: San Juan Island Grange, 152 First Street North, Friday Harbor



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