We hope you will join us for the last indoor event of the season! We will screen The Beaver Believers, by Sarah Koenigsberg. This feature documentary has been widely recognized for the story it weaves of the engineering feats of North America’s largest rodent and the people who are devoted to them. It is a hopeful story of resilience in the face of climate change, and it even features some familiar Okanogan County faces! We will also be featuring an update on OHA’s Triple Creek Restoration project. There we are working to imitate the work of the beaver.

Everywhere you look in the Okanogan Highlands you can see evidence of the movement of glaciers. The trick is knowing what to look for! On March 6, CWU geography professor Karl Lillquist used local landscapes and landforms to demonstrate how glaciers and other factors shaped our region during the last glaciation in our area, 12,000-18,000 years ago.

Okanogan Highlands Alliance (OHA) and Okanogan Land Trust (OLT) are excited to be co-hosting three-part series of educational events focused on geology. OHA hosted the first event on Friday, March 6th, when Dr. Karl Lillquist returned to Tonasket for the Highland Wonders presentation. OLT will host the second event at some point in the future, but it has been postponed to protect public health. When we are able to resume public events, Bruce Bjornstad will present as part of the OkaKnowledgy lecture series in Okanogan. The third event, also led by Dr. Lillquist, will take participants on a field trip in the Highlands, hopefully this summer! All three events will highlight the fascinating geological processes shaping our hills and valleys. The indoor events are free and open to all; the field trip will require pre-registration with priority given to OHA and OLT members. Anyone can become a member!

Karl Lillquist
Karl Lillquist shares about the Geology of the Okanogan Highlands during an OHA Highland Wonders tour.

Friday, March 6, Community Cultural Center of Tonasket:
Dr. Lillquist led the audience in “explor[ing] the origins and evolution of landscapes and landforms in the Okanogan Highlands.” He described how the Okanogan Highlands landscape has been sculpted over time by glaciers and other forces. Specifically, he explained how “The Okanogan Highlands, [which is] characterized by rolling uplands, punctuated by a diverse array of valleys…has been shaped by various tectonic, weathering, landslide, stream, glacier, and wind-related processes.“

Dr. Lillquist is a professor in the Geography Department at Central Washington University, and has vast experience exploring and teaching about the geology of our state. His area of expertise is geomorphology, a field focusing on landforms and how they originated. Throughout our three-part series, we hope that you will join us in looking at the Highlands landscape through geologic time — you might never look at our highland hills and valleys the same way again!

Highland Wonders events feature the natural history of the Okanogan Highlands and surrounding areas. OHA offers educational programming on the first Friday of the month from November through April. The presentations, which start at 6:30 pm, are free to the public (donations are welcome), and clock hours are available for educators. The events take place at the Tonasket Community Cultural Center, and dinner is available before the presentations. (meat and vegetarian options available, $10 a plate).

For more info, or to become a member of OHA, visit our support webpage, or contact jen@okanoganhighlands.org (509-429-4399). For more info about OLT, visit: okanoganlandtrust.org.

Chew on this

January 31st at the Merc Playhouse, 7pm

101 S. Glover St, Twisp, WA

An Edu-tainment event about People and Beavers Rebuilding Watershed Resilience …Naturally!

METHOW BEAVER PROJECT & OKANOGAN HIGHLANDS ALLIANCE
are pleased to invite you to join special guests Julie Vanderwal, Ken Bevis, Sandy Vaughn & Sarah Koenigsberg for an evening of music, engagement, joy & learning about people & beavers teaming up for watershed restoration!

For more info www.methowbeaverproject.org
General Admission – Suggested Donation $10

Chew on this

with Jim Hepler

February 7, 2020

On February 7, 2020, Jim Hepler, of the Beers Laboratory at WSU’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, joined us to share his extensive knowledge (and humor) of native stink bugs and their life history. He gave an enlightening overview of the diversity of stink bugs found in eastern Washington, and expounded on the challenges and rewards, and all that is known and unknown about these creatures. Jim’s palpable interest was contagious, sparking the curiosity of our local community.

Fun facts:
-Stink bugs can drill through nut husks to feast on the nutrient-rich innards
-Pesticides are futile in fighting stink bugs since they are constantly on the move into and out of orchards
-Stink bugs have very specific relationships with other insects who will lay their eggs inside stink bug eggs or drill through adults’ exoskeletons to feast
-Stink bugs are very capable of killing themselves with their own noxious fumes!

Rough stink bug
Rough stink bug (Brochymena species) Photo by Jen Weddle

Highland Wonders presentations feature the natural history of the Okanogan Highlands and surrounding areas. OHA provides these presentations on the first Friday of the month from November through April. These presentations, which start at 6:30 pm, are free to the public (donations are welcome), and clock hours are available for educators. The events take place at the Tonasket Community Cultural Center, and dinner is available before the presentations.

Consperse stink bug
Consperse stink bug (Euschistus conspersus) on a bitterbrush plant (Purshia tridentata, a favored host). Photo by Jim Hepler.

We are excited to share our 10th year of educational programs with an exciting lineup of topics and speakers! We hope to see you this winter – the first Friday of November, January, February, March and April. New this season: continuing education clock hours are available to educators!

Dinner benefitting the CCC starts at 5:15 pm – $9 for adults; Presentation starts at 6:30 pm – free to all

and what we are doing locally to restore them

Beaver Creek in autumn

On Friday, November 1, John Crandall shared “Why Floodplains Matter and what we are doing locally to restore them,” with a crowd of 70 at the Community Cultural Center of Tonasket. For decades, floodplains and wetlands were viewed as “wasted” space and they have been diked, filled, drained, mined, and otherwise altered to make room for increased human activity. These activities disconnect floodplains from adjacent streams, degrading habitat and leaving wildlife, fish, and water to deteriorate. Why do these floodplains matter — what services do they provide, not only for fish and wildlife, but for humans too? What can we do to bring them back into a healthy condition? John Crandall returned to the Highland Wonders series to help answer these questions and to share about a variety of projects happening in Okanogan County that are aimed at restoring floodplain processes and making our aquatic ecosystems healthier — from the quality and quantity of our water to the abundance of our fish and wildlife.

John shared videos and photos depicting the ways that floodplains interact with their waterways, and how spring flooding depends on the shape and structure of the surrounding landscape. Floodplains are crucial to the lifecycle of many fish, who time the hatching of their young to coincide with spring floods because of the protection, food, and downstream push that floodplains and high water provide to young fish. In many areas, human activity (such as road building) has disrupted or changed the structure of the floodplains, reducing their size and cutting fish off from their traditional rearing grounds and/or travel corridors. Projects throughout Okanogan County are working to restore floodplain functionality, to reconnect streams and rivers with their floodplains and provide ways for fish to access flooded areas.

The Board of Directors of Okanogan Highlands Alliance (OHA) is happy to announce their decision to hire Jennifer (Jen) Weddle and Sarah Kliegman, as Co-Directors to lead the community-based nonprofit.  Jen, a former member of the OHA Board of Directors, has a BA in Biology-Environmental Studies and teaches at the Outreach Program at Tonasket School District. Sarah, who volunteered with OHA from an early age and grew up in the Okanogan Highlands, recently returned to the Okanogan after working as a chemistry professor at the Claremont Colleges. Sharing the position will enable each of them to balance work and family life while providing OHA with a unique blend of experience and expertise.

“We are happy to welcome such highly qualified professionals to lead OHA into the future,” stated George Thornton, OHA’s Board President. “Their complementary skills and experience will be a great asset to the organization.”

After more than 25 years of service, David Kliegman, OHA’s founding ED, notified the Board in January that he would like to retire. Since that time, the Board has been working on transition planning.

“It has been an honor to serve as the spearhead for this community effort to use science and the law to stop the open-pit mine that was proposed on Buckhorn Mountain and to begin OHA’s successful restoration and education programs,” stated the retiring ED. “I will continue to track the mine’s efforts to clean up the pollution but look forward to spending more time with my family and carving wood.

In 2007, OHA settled its appeal of the underground mine in hopes that increased cooperation would evolve into greater protection of the environment, but the company’s efforts have fallen short of what is needed to stem the flow of pollutants from the site.

“Since the mining company has been unable to control the pollution from their mine, the new directors will have our work cut out for us,” states Sarah Kliegman, OHA’s new Co-Director. “We will continue the effort to try to get [the WA Department of] Ecology to hold the mine accountable for its pollution.”

“We look forward to further developing OHA’s robust restoration and public education programs which repair damaged wetlands and bring experts in natural history to share the wonders in Tonasket and the Highlands,” states Jennifer Weddle, OHA’s other new Co-Director. “OHA’s leadership will help to improve and better understand the ecology of the Okanogan Highlands.”

The Okanogan Highlands Alliance is a non-profit organization that works to educate the public about watershed issues, including the environmental threats of large-scale mining. For more information go to okanoganhighlands.org

(TEST) Nature’s Engineers: How Beavers Restore Habitat

Beavers possess remarkable engineering skills, which they combine with unparalleled work ethic to the benefit of streams and wetlands. On January 7th, 2011, this event focused on how beavers create the stream conditions and wetlands needed by an array of other plants and animals. In the process, beavers are sub-irrigating by raising the water table and increasing groundwater recharge in the Okanogan Highlands, making more water available for everybody during the low flows of late summer. Guest speakers who work with beavers in the field shared from their experiences and answered questions about these curious creatures. OHA also shared some exciting updates about the work of beavers on two of our restoration sites.

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Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: The Land’s Council

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Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: The Land’s Council
Part 3: Methow Beaver Project
Part 4: Okanogan Highlands Alliance

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Fsw8xJqL8fhoE7iW

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Hi ladies! Here is a sample post of an embedded Google Slides slideshow.

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test…
Kinross Plans Unapprovable

Each spring the company is required to report the results of monitoring activity. Once again the mining company has reported that “no action is required,” basically because it continues to ask the wrong questions. Lack of action on the part of the Department of Ecology has allowed Kinross to continue operating under outdated management plans, specifically the Adaptive Management Plan (AMP) and the Hydrologic Monitoring Plan (HMP). Two years ago, the current operating permit required updated plans that considered the water quality changes that occurred during the window of the first discharge permit. The AMP submitted by Crown Resources/Kinross Gold was basically the same as the one that has been in force from the beginning of operations, with no substantial reflection on its adequacy to address the current water quality issues. Ecology pointed this out, but has not required the follow-through that the permit requires. The company responded that what it submitted was adequate and that they would take no additional action…

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