Growing Healthy Forests in Washington
From helping public and private landowners care for their trees to leading the state’s efforts to reduce uncharacteristically severe wildfires, the Forest Resiliency Division works to improve the health of Washington’s forests.
Here's where to find help, as well as information about DNR's strategies for improving forest health and resilience in Washington state:
Assistance and Information
- Visit the Insects and Disease Monitoring page for information about tree insects and diseases, the aerial forest health survey, and to access the annual Forest Health Highlights publication.
- Are you a forestland owner seeking a free forester consulation to learn how to have healthier forests, better wildlife habitat, or reduced wildfire risk? Are you interested in DNR's cost-share program for reducing wildfire fuels? Visit the Landowner Assistance page.
- Are you interested in the trees that grow in our cities and other communities? Visit the Urban and Community Forestry page.
- Are you involved in a forest health collaborative in Washington state? Learn more about the grant programs DNR has to help collaboratives increase their capacity and conduct more forest health work by visiting the 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan page.
- Are you a small forest landowner seeking assistance with forest practices regulations? Visit the Small Forest Landowner Office page.
Forest Resiliency Strategies in Washington
- Washington has a statewide strategy for improving and conserving forests. Learn more on the 2020 Forest Action Plan page.
- The 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan is DNR's strategy for improving forest health and reducing wildfire risk in eastern Washington. Read more, including details about the plan's high-priority landscapes, on the Forest Health Strategic Plan page.
- One way DNR increases the pace and scale of forest health work in Washington is through its Federal Lands Program, which allows DNR to do forest restoration on federal lands through the Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) agreement. Visit the GNA page for more.
- Climate change projections suggest that Washington will continue to have increased temperatures and decreased precipitation during the growing season, which will contribute to tree stress, insect and disease problems, and increases in dead trees. Learn more by visiting DNR's Climate Resilience Plan page.
- In 2017, the Washington Legislature passed a new law clarifying DNR’s roles and obligations in addressing forest health concerns on eastern forested State Lands as part of the 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan. As a result, DNR developed a Strategy to Restore Forest Health on State Lands in Eastern Washington.
- The Commissioner of Public Lands is supproted by an advisory committee in creating and implementing forest health strategies. Learn more by visiting the Forest Health Advisory Committee page.
More About the Forest Resiliency Division
DNR created the division in 2019 to achieve the agency’s mission to manage, sustain, and protect the health and productivity of Washington’s lands and waters to meet the needs of present and future generations and support the Commissioner of Public Lands as the designated state lead on all forest health issues.
The Forest Resiliency Division works across all lands and in the interest of all Washingtonians to sustain and increase the health and resilience of our forests and the local communities and values forests support for the well-being of people, communities, wildlife and landscapes today and into the future.
Learn more about how the division is structured below.
Planning, Science and Monitoring
The Planning, Science and Monitoring Section provides forest health insect and disease monitoring, including aerial surveys of forest health conditions that results in the annual Forest Health Highlights report. This team of forest pathologists, forest entomologists, and forest health specialists also provide technical assistance to forest landowners. This section has forest health scientists and planners to the team to analyze forest health and resiliency treatment needs across large landscapes and work with partners across all lands to plan, implement, and monitor treatments and changing conditions in support of the 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan for eastern Washington, while overseeing revision and monitoring of the state’s Forest Action Plan and supporting elements the agency’s climate change mitigation and preparedness work related. This section oversees coordination of the Forest Health Advisory Committee, and stewardship of spatial data to support the division’s work.
This program is also a member of the Washington State Wood Energy Team and administers the All Lands Forest Restoration Grant Program and the Building Forest Partnerships Grant Program, both of which help forest collaboratives across the state restore forest health.
Landowner and Community Assistance
The Landowner and Community Assistance Section combines four existing DNR programs: Urban and Community Forestry, Community Wildfire Preparedness, Landowner Assistance and Forest Stewardship.
The Urban and Community Forestry Program provides urban forestry technical, educational and financial assistance to Washington’s cities and towns, counties, tribal governments, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.
The Community Wildfire Preparedness program helps communities prepare for wildfires and works with local fire districts, conservation districts, counties, and extension programs to help residents benefit from the Firewise USA® program, as well as the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network.
The Landowner Assistance program is focused in the northeast and southeast regions supporting cost-share forest health treatments for small, private landowners with a focus on reducing risks of wildfire.
The Forest Stewardship Program consists of two stewardship foresters (one in eastern and one in western Washington) and a wildlife biologist (statewide) providing technical assistance to small forest landowners to help them make informed decisions for managing their land. The Landowner Assistance and Forest Stewardship programs work closely with Forest Regulation's Small Forest Landowner Office, which provides additional cost-share opportunities and assistance to ensure landowners successfully meet applicable forest practices rules while managing their forests and addressing risk of wildfire.
Significant work accomplished by DNR related to Forest Resiliency is through its partnership with the USDA Forest Service and other private and government entities implementing Cooperative Forestry programs and State and Private Forestry programs. These programs provide technical and financial assistance to landowners and resource managers to help sustain the nation’s forests and protect communities and the environment from wildland fires.
Prescribed fire is one tool for restoring health to dry forest ecosystems in eastern Washington. Applying fire to the right landscapes, in the right intensity, and at the right time boosts forest health and wildfire resilience by reducing fuel loads, increasing the effectiveness of mechanical forest thinning, and improving forage conditions for wildlife. Following support from the Legislature and a successful pilot project, DNR launched its own Prescribed Fire Program in 2019 to grow our state's capacity to use prescribed fire in Washington's forests.
The Prescribed Fire Program aims to increase safe and effective prescribed fire in Washington state to restore forests and other ecosystems. The program focuses on prescribed fire training, funding prescribed burns, working with partners to promote and implement prescribed fire and monitoring the effects of prescribed fire and wildfire.
Federal Lands Program
The Federal Lands Program focuses on using state expertise, resources and mechanisms to increase work on federal land throughout the state, primarily on National Forest System land through the use of DNR’s Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) agreement with the federal government. This section works directly with USDA Forest Service personnel to implement a variety of restoration projects such as decreasing stream barriers for fish and other aquatic organisms, addressing forest road issues, timber sales, wildlife habitat enhancement and more.
In addition to GNA, this program coordinates with other programs within the division and department to provide input on federal projects and as well as National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) planning support. The program is funded through a variety of funding sources including state and federally appropriated funds, and revenue derived from restoration projects with commercial timber as a component. The program has active projects on the five major national forests in Washington.