Three interesting items from the Western Governors Association:
Working Lands Webinar. February 23-24 in Boise, but is livestreamed (and recorded). Anyone can register. Some interesting stuff on the agenda. If you’re interested, you’re invited to watch and write up your observations for a Smokey Wire post. These are always interesting to me as they often have speakers with on-the-ground knowledge of issues and solutions. Also the atmosphere is generally “let’s all work together” rather than enemy-finding. At the ones I’ve been to, I was allowed to ask questions of the speakers.
New Task Force with Interior, Ag and States. This seems like a good idea. There is a Wildfire Commission in the new infrastructure bill, but it’s got kind of a federal-esque makeup. It sounds like their might be some overlap between these groups re: fire resilience/mitigation.
The Task Force will serve as a forum for federal, state, and territorial representatives to collaboratively and effectively respond to the land, water and wildlife challenges facing Western landscapes through shared expertise and dialogue, strategic resource and capacity coordination, information and data sharing, and joint problem-solving. The Task Force will be essential to strengthening this state/territory-federal collaboration as local, state and federal leaders implement the recently enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which contains historic investments in wildlife restoration, drought mitigation, and wildland fire resilience.
This is from the WGA news roundup: USDA investing in helping build a maple sugar industry in the Interior West:
Sun said there are programs also looking into producing maple syrup in other regions of the U.S., like the Midwest and Pacific Northwest, “but they (didn’t) have any other project in the Intermountain West until this opportunity.”
So now, this group of academics and businesses will lead both research and outreach in the region. That includes researching which tree species in the Mountain West provide the best syrup, and when people should tap them.
They’re also providing workshops and working with landowners to teach people how to tap trees. Upcoming workshops on tapping trees in the West can be found here. They’re only in Utah for the rest of this year, but they expect to do more in the next few years.
However, for those who are enthusiastic about tapping trees, make sure you know who owns those trees and you get permission. When he started out, Knudson decided to tap trees near his home in Missoula, and he said, “I tapped the city trees, and so they had a conniption fit a little bit.”
So now he seeks out privately-owned trees, and makes sure they’re healthy and not over-tapped.
Here’s a cool video.