Public safety drives DNR funding needs
News Date: 
November 14, 2017
   

Funding for healthier forests, safer timber harvests, and mapping of earthquake and tsunami hazards top the list of Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz’s supplemental budget requests for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
 
“Public safety is at the heart of what DNR does, and these modest funding requests allow us to help people prepare for and prevent natural disasters,” said Commissioner Franz.
 
Healthier Forests
The agency is seeking $1.9 million from the state’s supplemental operating budget to expedite projects that will make Washington’s diseased, fire-prone forests healthier.
 
“People in Puget Sound this summer experienced what our neighbors in central Washington have dealt with for the past decade – increasingly thick smoke from more devastating wildfires. If we’re going to control the spread of these megafires, we need to address the root cause: forest health,” said Commissioner Franz.
 
Mapping geologic threats and ensuring safer timber harvests
DNR is also requesting $543,000 to map earthquake and tsunami hazards so counties, cities and the people of Washington can understand and mitigate their risks. The agency has also requested $457,300 to ensure design and construction of timber roads does not weaken potentially-unstable hillsides.
 
Other budget priorities include advanced training for wildland firefighters; cleanup of contaminated sediments; funding for amateur emergency radio operators; and funding to help counties impacted by endangered species regulations replace lost timber revenue.
 
Needs from capital budget
In addition, DNR has re-submitted requests for funding from the capital budget which the Legislature did not pass before adjourning last session.
 
“Whether it’s recreation maintenance, forest restoration or helping communities become FireWise, we have a lot of projects that rely on capital dollars to enhance quality of life for all Washingtonians,” Commissioner Franz said.
 
Commissioner of Public Lands 
As the elected Commissioner of Public Lands, Franz oversees management of more than 5.6 million acres of state-owned forest, range, commercial, agricultural, conservation and aquatic lands. More than half of these lands are held in trust and produce income to support public schools, universities, prisons and other state institutions. Lands managed by DNR provide other public benefits including outdoor recreation, habitat for native fish and wildlife and watersheds for clean water. Commissioner Franz also leads the state’s largest fire department and guides regulation of forest practices in Washington’s forests.
 
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MEDIA CONTACT
Joe Smillie
Communications Manager
360-688-3392
joe.smillie@dnr.wa.gov