Tidal energy, forestry to be discussed in Forks

FORKS — Experts and researchers will discuss tidal energy and forestry this week at the Olympic Natural Resources Center.

On Tuesday, a panel of experts from the University of Washington Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center will address the ocean’s potential contribution to energy needs.

“The Wave of the Future: Tidal Energy” seminar will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the ONRC building, 1455 S. Forks Ave.

The discussion will delve into current marine renewable energy technologies and the forces likely to shape the technology’s development in the United States.

What are the environmental, social and engineering challenges, and opportunities of tidal energy?

The panel will present current research to grasp these issues.

The center’s director, Brian Polagye, will share why he thinks nearshore industrial-scale wave and wind energy development is unlikely to happen for decades but how smaller-scale technologies could potentially help power coastal communities and support economic development in the near term.

UW graduate students Hannah Ross and Molly Grear also will present their research.

Ross will provide an overview of harvesting energy from wind, waves and currents, and Grear will discuss the potential impacts of marine renewable energy technologies on marine mammals.

Thursday’s evening talk

More than 20 years ago, ONRC Director Bernard Bormann and Richard Bigley of the Department of Natural Resources began studying methods of forestry.

They found lower quality and output occurred at each successive planting of Douglas fir in the plantation-style plantings. It begged the question: Can there be a balance between timber production and ecosystem health?

ONRC interns Katherine Jesser, Alec Meade and Allison Erskine continued the 200-year long term productivity (LTEP) study this summer, comparing the effects of forest management on ecosystem productivity, soil systems and biodiversity.

They analyzed course woody debris data and soil samples at the Sappho site, under the direction of master’s degree student Roxana Rautu.

The interns will explain their expected outcomes (180 years from now) and the highlights of their summer internship experiences in the hemlock forest room at the ONRC from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information about the ONRC, contact education and outreach director Frank Hanson at fsh2@uw.edu.

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