November 16-17, 2009 Storm

November 17, 2009

Here is a precipitation map of this last storm (with reported landslides):

I suspect we have a landslide or two up in the area north of Highway 90, but so far, nothing has been reported.

It has been awhile since I completed a Landslide of the Week. I think the Sanford Pasture Landslide is a good candidate since it has gotten so much press lately and what we know about it is fairly limited (at least, in publications).

The formation of the Sanford Pasture Landslide started back in the late Miocene and early Pliocene epochs, where the eruptions covered much of Eastern Washington with basalt, known as the Columbia River Basalts. Between the eruptive cycles, sandstones, generally fluvial in origin, deposited on top of the flows, only to be covered by the next pulse of magma. These are known as interbeds and are suspected to be Ellensburg Formation. At the Sanford Pasture Landslide, the dominant flows of the Columbia River Basalts are the N2 and R2 flows of the Grand Ronde Basalts, some of the last recorded flows of the eruptive cycle. Much of the deposits were lain horizontally, but as we know them today, the geologic units are folded and faulted. This is accomplished by stress from the subductive oceanic plate pushing its way underneath the continental crust that we live on here in Washington State. The force of the collision compresses Washington State, forming wrinkles and faults as the stress is dissipated through the plate. In the Naches area, this folding resulted in the formation of Cleman Mountain as a steeply dipping anticline. The area was not able to just fold to reduce the stress on it, it faulted as well, forming the Nile Thrust Fault. The failure mechanism is something that we probably do understand. The oversteepened anticline combined with the weak interbed layers of sandstone created a perfect weak plane for the above rock to slide on. An earthquake, probably on the Nile Thrust, or perhaps something larger like a Cascadia Subduction Earthquake, probably reduced the restraining forces enough to start the material moving downhill, depositing where we see it today (more on that below). These events occurred after the Columbia River Basalts and interbeds were lain in place, giving us a limiting age on the landslide. Given the flow age, coupled with the folding and faulting of the area, the general estimation of the landslide is 2 million years old.

Determining the age of a landslide is often difficult. Dates can be acquired through a couple of different methods, most often coring into sag ponds, or lake bed deposits (on older landslides that have dammed rivers), or by coring old tree snags that have been drowned. The goal is to find datable material or stratigraphic reasoning to determine a specific of general age. For the Sanford Pasture, there are no found lake bed deposits up valley of the landslide initiation and the landslide is too old to support sag ponds that formed during its initial movement. The general thought is that the landslide occurred prior to glacial times.

The Sanford Pasture landslide moved across what is today the Naches Valley and deposited material almost a mile inward from the valley’s edge. During this time, the Naches Valley was less incised and contained much less water (remember, no lake beds deposits), so whatever damming of the paleo-fluvial system here, it was minor. During the age of glaciation in the Quaternary Period (predominantly alpine glaciation influences at the Sanford Pasture). Advances and retreating of the glaciers, combined with their constant run-off carved much of the valleys and fluvial systems we see today in the area. I should point out, I don’t think any glaciers have reached the Sanford Pasture Landslide area. The melt water flowing through what is now the Naches Valley would have eroded out the landslide and continued to incise into the valley, exposing in-place Columbia River Basalt Flows on the western side and eastern side of the valley. Unfortunately, all of this erosion created yet another unstable element into the system. The eroding river removed much of the lateral strength that the landslide had when its mass continued for another mile. It literally shortened the landslide by half. In response, the Sanford Pasture landslide didn’t fail as one large piece, but as smaller failures within the older landslide material.

This image of the Sanford Pasture Landslide is a quick drawing of the possible major landslide events. There are dozens of smaller events throughout the landslide. The most difficult part to figure out is the northwest section of the landslide, that appears to have gone through a series of deformations, probably more than I have drawn here. That is something we are going to try and unravel down the road. It is difficult to determine if the last major movement was on the eastern or western section of the landslide. The only sag pond that exists on the landslide is on the eastern side, known as Dog or Mud Lake. This makes me suspect that the last major movement has been on the eastern side. Other evidence also suggests that the morphology is younger, less stream development and incision on the eastern side. Regardless, the western side is the side where the Nile Landslide initiated off of and probably has a much more active, smaller landslide activity.

The area where the Nile Landslide has occurred has experienced several large landslide events. Looking at the history, the Nile Landslide is probably the 4th in a series of movements in the area (Sanford Pasture, Largest block in purple, smaller block in green, then Nile Landslide). That is the larger movements. Further evidence looks like smaller landslides have been recent in the same area as the Nile, maybe being able to form and move every couple of hundred years (not sure how far back this might go, but maybe a thousand or two years, depending on when the major movement of the largest block in purple and smaller green block occurred). Granted, that is a bit of speculation. In the 1940’s photo, there is clearly areas without vegetation that look hummocky that might indicate recent movement, like within the last 50 years. Comparing that 1940’s photo to today, areas that were once void of vegetation now are supporting sparse tall trees, indicating a possible regrowth period. Maybe we are looking at something that is geologically common here.

The last work, Sanford Pasture Reactivation. This has been pushed around in the media about State Geologists concerned about future movement of the Sanford Pasture Landslide. They are right, we are concerned, I being on of them. The removal of lateral support by the Nile Landslide could reactivate something larger uphill. Remember, this is really torn up landslide material, it has its strength reduced and it looks like it is sliding on something that is fine grained. Reactivation of the Sanford Pasture Landslide, worst case scenario, would completely block the Nile Valley, forming a massive lake (Lake Naches?) behind the debris. The threat would then continue into the competency of the material to hold the water, a race to safely dewater the lake and the possible major dam-burst flood into the Yakima Valley. The destruction of that last one would be unlikely, but something we have not seen the likes of in modern society.

Orthophoto and Fissures

November 9, 2009

WSDOT released an orthophoto of the landslide last Friday (at least, this is when I got it). The image is spectacular and helps give us some much needed data. This weekend I worked on mapping out all of the fissures in the “Woodshed Restraint”, as well as other places (that was much quicker, since the cracking was predominantly localized there).

A note of caution on this map, these fissures haven’t been field verified, so they could change, move, or disappear. Especially some of the cracks outside of the Woodshed Restraint area. We have some data on these as well as for the types of movement (uplift, down dropped or translational movement) and that will help us map the stresses and block movement within this mass of earth.

Last week DNR issued an order to suspend mining at the Simmons Quarry. There is a long story within that, but also one that may lead to some legal issues. The continued potential for danger and instability in the area gave us concern for public safety in the area, especially since we have residences living in houses right on the landslide. More on that later.

Precipitation is an important component into landslide movement. During the investigation into the Alderwood-Banyon and the Carlyon Beach-Hunters Point Landslides, long-term precipitation (over five years) had been above the mean average. This is thought to be the main driver of these landslides. In the same thought, maybe the Nile Landslide has experienced above average rainfall over a period of time, similar to the other two landslides. We asked Cliff Mass (click here for his Blog) at the University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences to help us figure out the the precipitation history of this area. The data, emailed from Mark, an colleague of Cliff Mass, isn’t a smoking gun. The email below:

I have looked at water year annual precipitation for 2 snotel sites situated on the east slope of the Cascades but somewhat north of the Niles Landslide. They are Blewett Pass and Grouse Camp snotel sites.
There are no snotel sites in the immediate vicinity of the Niles Landslide.

Over the past water year (Oct 2008-Sept2009) precipitation totalled 10% above the long term average (1983-2008) at a composite of the two snotel sites.
Over the past 2 years ==> 2% above the long term average (1983-2008).
Over the past 3 years ==> 6% above the long term average (1983-2008).
Over the past 4 years ==> 7% above the long term average (1983-2008).
Over the past 5 years ==> 0% above the long term average (1983-2008).
The 2005 water year was unusually dry bringing the 2005-2009 5-year average back to nearly the same as the long term average.

Hmm, well, looks like we are back to the drawing board.

This landslide has brought together an surprising amount of scientists from various agencies around Washington State. One that certainly deserves mention is John Vidale, Director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, and his crew, who has been of invaluable help to us in helping to unravel the timeline of this landslide. Here is an excerpt and some data that John had given us:

These are spectrograms, which plot frequency content of the seismogram the vertical axis against time on the horizontal axis. The number on the horizontal axis is hours after the start of Saturday, for example, 34 is 10am Sunday. I think you can see more detail on them by looking at them in a graphics program. This 1st plot runs from 25 to 35 hrs, the bright red spot is the landslide noise at 10am Sunday. The vertical axis is frequency – 0 at the top grading to 10Hz at the bottom. The 5Hz sound of the landslide grows from imperceptible on the left until the racket at 34, then fades slowly.The industrial source at 9Hz is visible as the pulsation on the bottom, and the pops are too short to see in this plot. The 5-10Hz smears in the lower right are probably unrelated cultural noise that starts at daybreak after a quiet night.

Close-up of the noisy part, spanning about 1.3 hrs or 80 minutes.

This is the noisiest part of Saturday, hours 5-21, on the same color scale. More cultural noise 5-10Hz starts about 7am, as appeared above for Sunday. There is not a signal similar to the 5Hz band above, which is apparently how the landslide appears on this station. Also, the patches of signals present do not match the timing of energy on the other nearby station ELL. So maybe some Saturday landslide noise could be invisible on this plot, but it would be less than the noise on Sunday.

Here is an example of the pops at their most frequent, 2 hours before the big noise. The plot spans about 15 minutes, and the pops appear on the upper half of the plot, 1-5Hz, and agree in timing with pops seen on station ELL.

This is the burst at 7:38 Sunday in a 15 minute window. Note the strong 1-2Hz energy, more so than during the rest of the landslide-related signals, and most of the action takes place within 1 minute.

This is the 4:55am Sunday burst in a 15-minute window, weak but with the same frequency range and gradual onset as the other slide related shaking.

This sort of data allows us for form a timeline to the landslide movement. Combined with eye witness reports, we can reconstruct the various parts of the landslides and when they moved. With that data, we can look at the places of initial movement and evaluate the pre-failure conditions to see if there is any likely event that might have triggered this landslide. Vary preliminary data, however, has been suggesting that landslide movement might have been prior to 2002 (we are still working on this), but this movement was quite slow, just about creeping. I am currently working on tying together a series of aerial photos to determine the amount of movement and hopefully to constrain the first start of movement.

Each week we will feature a new landslide in Washington State. Washington State is covered with dynamic and sometimes quirky landslides.

Sultan River Debris Avalanche, Snohomish County

When I first started at DNR, I lived in Seattle (commuting to Olympia), but most of my field work was in or near the Sultan Basin. The Sultan River watershed was the first watershed I worked on for the LHZ Project. My first year working was almost comical, every day I was in the field, it rained. In the summer, we would have long stretches of dry weather and one day of rain every couple of week and those were the days I ended up in the field.

On December 10th, Pat Pringle and I were in the field investigating the Sultan River basin. We didn’t hike or really get out of the car much due to a torrent of rain coming down. We never quite got over to the area of the Sultan River debris avalanche, but we were just about across the way from it. I did end up heading out there after it failed.

Sultan River Hydrology

Sultan River Hydrology

On December 11th, a group of Kayakers decided to ride the Sultan, mostly because of the elevated water levels from the storm. During their ride down, they ran into more than they bargained for.

Sultan River Debris Avalanche Location Map

Sultan River Debris Avalanche Location Map

Sultan River Debris Avalanche

Sultan River Debris Avalanche

A large debris avalanche/fall came down right after the kayakers passed by. As you can see in the video, the landslide dammed the Sultan River for a short time, but eventually over topped/breached the dam. The kayakers, a bit shaken up by the landslide decided to leave the river and hike out and head back to civilization. Unfortunately, they didn’t know the area and headed east of the the Sultan Basin, eventually reaching a small nudist community. They all make it out safely.

To make matters worst, the City of Sultan received a report of a large landslide damming the Sultan River. Their main concern was a dam burst flood that would damage the city. The Snohomish County sheriffs office had a helicopter in the air trying to find the landslide and see how bad the blockage was. This was a real thing to worry about. The Sultan River is entrenched and a dam could potentially block a large amount of water. Strangely enough, many of the rapids (that the kayakers seem to enjoy so much) came from old landslides that probably partially or fully dammed the Sultan River and slowly eroded out, just like this landslide.

Landslides are rarely caught on video and when caught, they are a valuable source of scientific information. In this video, you can see how the landslide overcomes what almost looks like a small rock that is holding back the mass of material break apart shortly before movement. You can almost calculate the acceleration as it heads towards the river and what happens as a mass of material impacts into the water, the size of the waves and so forth. We can also see how the river responds to the debris dam and how it returns to normal flow without breaching the dam.

This video also caught the attention of others and it was part of a Discovery Channel series called Raging Nature. I was interviewed by the show, but I didn’t appear on camera for the show (probably the background river sound, which was really loud). The narrator during the show did say much of the exact words that I said (which was kinda creepy for me).


Bedrock Units

Regional bedrock that includes the Sultan River watershed belongs to the Western Mélange Belt, part of the Western and Eastern Mélange Belts (WEMB) terrain. The WEMB includes Mesozoic (late Jurassic to early Cretaceous) marine sedimentary rocks, along with lenses of Paleozoic limestones, Mesozoic intrusives, and other rich types in fault-bounded bodies that were tectonically juxtaposed (Tabor et al, 1993). The WEMB rocks underwent high pressure, low temperature metamorphism in the late Cretaceous orogeny at about the time they were juxtaposed against the Northwest Cascade System terrain to the North.

Bedrock in the Sultan River watershed is mainly composed of the Western Mélange Belt (Phipps et al., 2003; Dragovich et al., 2002). These rocks were deposited during the late Jurassic to early Cretaceous (170 to 100 million years ago) periods (Carithers and Guard, 1945). Sediment was thickly deposited in a marine setting, comprising mostly of silt and mud. Hydrothermal systems and submarine eruptions (similar to black smokers) formed from intruding magma, creating large pyritic deposits (such as the Lockwood Pyrite deposit) and overlaid the marine sediment with volcaniclastic and mafic flows (for example, basalt) material (Olson, 1995; Snohomish County, 1979). This magma chamber underwent differentiation, where the heavier mafic material (rich in iron and other metallic minerals) filtered to the bottom of the chamber and lighter felsic material (rich in silica, such as quartz and feldspar) rose to the top (Stewart, 2005). These rocks were then metamorphosed (exposed to heat and pressure), folded, uplifted and eroded. The metamorphism changed the marine sedimentary and volcaniclastic rocks into argillite (metamorphosed siltstone) and phyllite (metamorphosed mudstone). The granitic magma chamber also experienced metamorphism, altering the granitic rocks into meta-tonalites (light colored granitic rock), meta-gabbros and meta-peridotites (dark colored granitic rock).

As the rocks experienced pressure from the west (most likely from the oceanic plate colliding with the North American continental plate), they tilted the stratigraphic section to the northeast. This tilting, along with erosion of the overlying rock, exposed the relict magma chamber (gabbro and peridotite in the west, grading east to tonalite) in the western part of the Sultan River watershed. The metamorphic marine rock, which overlies the relict magma chamber, can be found primarily in the southern and eastern parts of the watershed. The metamorphic volcaniclastic rock, which overlies the marine rock, is located primarily on Blue Mountain, in the northeast part of the watershed.

The meta-tonalite rocks, where not overlain by glacial drift, is very stable, even with slopes steeper than 60% (A prime example of this is the large hill, located in T. 28N R. 8E, section 2 and 11). The meta-marine rocks can be unstable, especially when the beds are tilted to near vertical. The north flank of Blue Mountain is an excellent example, where the meta-sedimentary rocks are tilted to near vertical and failures are frequent within the section. The meta-volcanic rocks can be very unstable and appear to be very susceptible to slope failures when the rock is exposed to water. A prime example of this is the water run-off from the radio tower located at the highest peak on Blue Mountain; many debris flows initiated from this deposit, independent from harvest or road construction.

Poorly-Consolidated Surficial Units

Surficial units in the study area consist of continental glacial drift. Other surficial deposits are composed of alpine glacial drift, colluvium, and alluvium. About 14,000 years ago, the Puget Lobe of the Cordilleran ice sheet, which represents the most recent advance of continental ice sheet, flowed into surrounding valleys. This advanced was named the ‘Vashon Glaciation’ locally. Tongues of the Vashon glacier dammed valleys that were tributaries to the Puget Lowlands, creating large ice dammed lakes. Glaciers advanced up the Pilchuck River system and the Sultan valley, covering the northwestern portion of the watershed (Tabor et al., 1993). This blocked the paleo-Pilchuck River, creating a large ice-dammed lake and depositing deltas and lake deposits on the north flanks of Blue Mountain to Bald Mountain. This rising lake eventually overflowed, washed over Olney Pass, and deposited fluvial outwash across the plains in the west and south parts of the Sultan River watershed.

Ice margins near Lake Chaplain and Echo Lake also produced significant outwash towards the town of Startup (Booth, 1990). As the glaciers retreated, the terminal moraine (called the Pilchuck plug) blocked the upper drainage of the Pilchuck River, creating the new Sultan River watershed (Coombs, 1969; Bliton, 1989). The Sultan River established a channel, rapidly incised into the glacial material, cut into the bedrock, and became entrenched. This incision is probably due to easily eroding glacial material and isostatic rebound of the bedrock in the area. Old meander bends and channels can be seen near the main channel of the present Sultan River.

Near the confluence of the Sultan and Skykomish River, glacial lakes formed by the advancement of the Cordilleran ice sheet, creating thick lake deposits in the southern extent of the watershed (Booth, 1990). These lake deposits formed low-permeability clay and silt layers that perch water and spawn large landslides during high precipitation. The silt and clay layers are commonly overlain by permeable glacial outwash from the paleo-Spada Lake and ice-margin flows. This combination of silt, clay and sand makes much of the hillsides in the southern part of the watershed susceptible to shallow and deep-seated landslides.


Booth, Derek B., 1990, Surficial geologic map of the Skykomish and Snoqualmie Rivers area, Snohomish and King Counties, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigations Series Map I-1745, 2 sheets, scale 1:50,000, with 22 p. text.

Bliton, William S., 1989, Sultan River project. IN Galster, R. W., chairman, Engineering geology in Washington: Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Bulletin 78, v. I, p. 209-216.

Carithers, Ward; Guard, A. K., 1945, Geology and ore deposits of the Sultan Basin, Snohomish County, Washington: Washington Division of Mines and Geology Bulletin 36, 90 p., 1 plate.

Coombs, H. A., 1969, Leakage through buried channels: Association of Engineering Geologists Bulletin, v. 6, no. 1, p. 45-52.

Olson, Duane F., 1995, Geology and Geochemistry of the Lockwood Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide Deposit, Snohomish County, Washington: Western Washington University Master of Science thesis, 118 p., 8 plates.

Phipps, Richard W.; McKay, Donald T., Jr.; Norman, David K.; Wolff, Fritz E., 2003, Inactive and abandoned mine lands–Spada Lake and Cecile Creek watershed analysis units, Snohomish and Okanogan Counties, Washington: Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Open File Report 2003-3, 36 p.

Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1; Washington Department of Ecology, 1979, Sultan River project, Stage II; Application for amended license, FERC project no. 2157–State of Washington final SEPA EIS and FERC environmental report (exhibit W): Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1, 2 v.

Stewart, Richard, May 27th, 2005, Personal Communication

Tabor, R. W.; Frizzell, V. A., Jr.; Booth, D. B.; Waitt, R. B.; Whetten, J. T.; Zartman, R. E., 1993, Geologic map of the Skykomish River 30- by 60-minute quadrangle, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigations Series Map I-1963, 1 sheet, scale 1:100,000, with 42 p. text.

Hyak Landslide

June 3, 2009

One of the more talked about landslides from the January 7-8th storm was the landslide that occurred at Hyak. The landslide started at the Summit at Snoqualmie ski area and moved into the Hyak community.
This landslide got a lot of press and originally, it was thought that is might be an avalanche. I remember having a discussion about this at a NOAA/NWS video conference meeting. Although, looking at the photos, it seemed that instead of the snow scraping up the soil beneath it, the slope gave way and moved the snow along. Something like a debris/snow avalanche.

Hyak Landslide Location Map

Hyak Landslide Location Map

The landslide occurred at approximately 11:40 a.m. Wednesday, January 7, 2009. Heavy rains (probably at about its elevation limit before turning into snow) from the storm had reached the summit earlier, warming the hillside and inundating it with rain.

Here at DNR – Division of Geology and Earth Resources (Washington Geological Survey), we were in emergency mode. We mobilized all of our geologist and sent them into the field to document landslides, but more importantly, sent them to check on residences that were impacted from landslides and to make sure they were safe from future landslide movement. Unfortunately, I was in the office, directing geologists to specific areas and creating updated maps of where we had located landslides or had damaged houses or blocked roads. I sent one of our geologists on the east side to get to Hyak and investigate what had happened and determine if it was an landslide or a snow avalanche. Plus, it did damage a handful of houses and the hillside had the potential to continue moving.

Aerial photo of the Hyak Landslide - DGER Photo

Aerial photo fo the Hyak Landslide - DGER Photo

Oblique aerial view of the Hyak Landslide - DGER Photo

Oblique aerial view of the Hyak Landslide - DGER Photo

Our geologist arrived I think late on January 7th and found numerous other crews investigating the landslide. Talking to them and doing some investigation herself, it was determined that it was most certainly a landslide and further, the slope was completely saturated. The scarp and material had woody debris within it and within the scarp, casts of old logs could clearly be seen, most with water gushing out the casts. It turns out that the slope had been modified about 40 or so years earlier and it appears they incorporated woody debris into the material. Over 40 years, the wood deteriorated and probably allowed water to more easily infiltrate into the subsurface, probably to the contact between the fill and rock/soil.

According to Matt Cowan, Fire Chief of the Snoqualmie Pass Fire and Rescue, the landslide impacted eight houses, one which was pushed off its foundation, the other lightly damaged. Two people were injured.

(Photo from Hyak Flickr site)

May 27 photo of Hyak Landslide

May 27 photo of Hyak Landslide

The hillside might still pose a threat to future failures. If woody debris exists in the subsurface then continued weakness still exists. I am not sure if the ski resort is planning on regrading the hillside to make the slope usable to skiing, although I cannot imagine that they will abandon the ski area. Unfortunately, we have inherited a lot of legacy problems from early land-use modifications (from the early 1900’s to 1970’s) that still plague us today. They are rarely recognized as a hazard, but their results can be deadly.

DNR Geology Update

May 29, 2009

We are moving forward after our budget cuts and are in the process of reorganization. We lost a few good people and some great people (most will probably be moved around to another position in DNR), but it seems we are still keeping our core functions alive and well. This is nothing new for the Geology Division, as we have had a lot of up and down swings, but we have always been able to pull through.
Luckily, I am still working on landslides and I hope to continue to do so for many more years down the road. I completed a major update for the landslide database and it should be up on our ArcIMS site soon. If you would like a copy, please contact me at:

Yesterday, DNR released a report on how public and private lands complied with forest practice rules. The report can be downloaded here.
Compliance was at about 87% for road and road activities and 75% for other forestry related activities (for example, logging), focusing on areas adjacent to streams. When I was in school, 75% was never a good grade. On page 43 of the report, the biggest number of non-compliant Forest Practice Applications (FPA) found were located in Pacific Cascade Region and to a lesser extent, Northeast Region. A closer view of Pacific Cascade Region can be viewed on page 36-37.

So, how does this relate to landslides? SW Washington is probably one of the most unstable areas in Washington State. Continental glaciers buried or carved most of the Puget Sound basin, which in many respects, reset the weathering depth within that area. In the SW, no large continental glaciers have carved and buried the land, resulting deep-weathering and increased instability. Plus, we have had two consecutive years of strong storms impacting western Washington. In both storms, Lewis County and in general, SW Washington, has been devastated by landslides. It would be interesting to see if these non-compliant FPA’s resulted or triggered a landslide.


April 28, 2009

In the world of landslides, there is something like a secret underground of meetings and groups. Technically, I think these groups are open to whomever wants to go. So, here is the tangled web of groups and subgroups. First off, Cooperative Monitoring, Evaluation and Research (CMER), which is hard to explain everything they do, but basically a research and policy type group that uses science to improve the management of Washington State Lands. A subset of that group, which mostly deals with landslides (and policy), is UPSAG (Upland Processes Scientific Advisory Group). It is full of government, environmental, and private (timber companies mostly) people, which makes the conversations entertaining. The part that I like best about the group is most of the people there use science as their talking points on where focus should be steered. Probably some of the most interesting science studies I have seen come out of the meeting is from Weyerhaeuser, which is led by Ted Turner. I wouldn’t say I am a industry supporter, but I am not anti-industry, I try and base my opinions and thoughts on what science points to and look at the risks we take in our management.
Another subgroup, which is part of CMER, is the TAG (Technical Advisory Group), which if I understand it right, is a group that advices projects funded or supported by CMER. Yesterday, I attended a TAG meeting on a project known as the LHZ (Landslide Hazard Zonation) Project. The LHZ project is how I got started at DNR, when I came aboard about November 2004. It was a mixed bag, we were pressed hard to perform and two of us on the group consistently worked 60-80 hour weeks to meet the deadlines. Others who didn’t were pressured even harder to get products out quicker. The good part, I learned more than I ever thought I would about landslides and forestry. It culminated in a talk I gave at a CMER Science Meeting (watch me here). A lot of the talking points at the TAG meeting were the same issues when I was aboard the project, which reminds me of how some things never change. I have a lot of faith in the LHZ project, I think if it was used correctly, it would improve the management of our forests. Unfortunately, talking to some of the foresters out there, sometimes they don’t know the product exists and when they do, they are not aware of how to use it. Sometimes I think managing land should be the same as the Growth Management Act (GMA) or Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO), one must use best available science to help best manage where growth should occur. Luckily, that is what UPSAG strives to do, but I don’t think it is mandatory, yet.