Month: July 2020

Forestry operations in response to COVID-19

The Division of Forestry offers the following update regarding our operations in response to the ongoing pandemic.

Most employees have been working remotely since mid-March to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to employees, their families and our external partners during this global pandemic.

While the goal is to gradually increase in-person activities that support our mission and Wisconsin’s economy, safety remains a top concern. Therefore, state office buildings, including DNR facilities, remain closed to the public. Although a limited number of gatherings may be approved, virtual meetings continue to be the preferred method for DNR staff and travel remains limited to essential and high-priority work. The majority of DNR staff continue to work remotely, although forestry fieldwork has fully resumed.

If you are planning to meet with a DNR forestry employee in person, such as a site visit for a forest management plan, they will be maintaining a distance of at least six feet, traveling to sites individually to maintain the required social distancing, wearing a mask and following diligent cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to safeguard the health of our customers, partners and employees.

2021 DNR Urban Forestry Grant Application now open

Cities, villages, towns, counties, tribes and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in or conducting their project in Wisconsin are encouraged to apply for a regular or startup 2021 Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Grant! The grants range from $1,000 to $25,000, and grant recipients must match each grant dollar for dollar. A startup grant of up to $5,000 is available for communities that want to start or restart a community forestry program. Grants are awarded to projects that align with state and national goals for increasing the urban forest canopy and the benefits it provides. Also available this grant cycle is an additional $175,000 federal funding to be used for ash tree removals and replacements. EAB treatment will not be funded with these additional monies. Applications can be submitted starting July 1, 2020 until October 1, 2020.

To view the application and apply visit the Urban Forestry Grants website. If you have questions regarding application process and eligible projects contact your DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator.

Apply now for a FY2021 Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) Grant

The State & Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) Competitive Grant initiative is a partnership between states and the Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry (S&PF). Its goal is to focus federal investments on issues, challenges, opportunities and landscapes of state importance that also address national and regional themes.

The LSR grant requires a one to one match, and the minimum amount of Federal funds is $25,000. Units of local government, Tribes, non-profit organizations (defined as a 501c3), and universities are eligible to submit applications.

More Information and Resources

Prospective applicants should use the 2020 Wisconsin Forest Action Plan to align project proposals with state and regional strategies and goals. Additionally, refer to the USDA Forest Service S&PF National Guidance for eligibility, proposal requirements, necessary criteria for competitive proposals, changes in this year’s process, and the FY2021 focus achieving on-the-ground outcomes on rural forest land.

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ATC continues funding for planting and pollinator habitat projects

Recognizing that trees and vegetation are among the features that make communities special places for residents and visitors, American Transmission Co. will continue funding for planting projects in communities in its service area through its Community Planting and Pollinator Habitat programs.

“While we can’t allow trees or tall‑growing vegetation in our rights‑of‑way, we do understand that they are an important part of the landscape,” said ATC Vegetation Management Manager Michelle Stokes. “These programs enable us to encourage and support communities to plant trees and vegetation that will beautify communities in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system.”

The Community Planting Program provides financial support to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes in ATC’s service area for planting projects on public property, outside transmission line rights-of-way. Program funds can be used to plant trees and other tall-growing vegetation outside the transmission line rights-of-way. ATC has awarded more than 240 communities with funds totaling over $425,000 since 2013.

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Recognizing Wisconsin’s Tree City, Tree Campus, and Tree Line USA participants

We deeply appreciate the commitment to urban forestry demonstrated by our 2019 Tree City, Tree Campus, and Tree Line USA participants. Thank you for your hard work!

2019 Tree City USA Communities – City (years): Adams (25), Albany (16), Algoma (19), Allouez (24), Altoona, City of (1), Amery (4), Amherst (23), Antigo (27), Appleton (36), Ashwaubenon (27), Athens, Village of (1), Baldwin (13), Baraboo (28), Barron (2), Bayfield (20), Bayside (12), Beaver Dam (29), Belgium (8), Bellevue (17), Beloit (32), Beloit, Town of (3), Brillion (20), Bristol (8), Brodhead (7), Brookfield (22), Brooklyn, Village of (7), Brown Deer (23), Burlington (19), Cambridge (14), Cedarburg (30), Chenequa (35), Chilton (26), Chippewa Falls (34), Clinton (17), Clintonville (30), Columbus (14), Combined Locks (27), Cottage Grove (24), Cudahy (29), De Pere (24), Deforest (15), Delafield (23), 

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First comprehensive review of the health impacts of urban trees published

Thanks to the efforts of researchers over the past few decades, we have a solid understanding of the ecological benefits of urban forests, such as reduced greenhouse gases, decreased stormwater runoff, and lessening of the urban heat island effect. In contrast, knowledge of the human health benefits of urban forests is still developing. Existing reviews of health benefits have focused more broadly on nature, green space, and greenness rather than concentrating specifically on urban trees.

To address this gap, a team of scientists reviewed the existing quantitative research on the relationships between urban trees and human health. Their findings were published last month in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in the article Urban Trees and Human Health: A Scoping Review.  

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Trees bring good news for summer!

By Kim Ballard, Outreach Coordinator, Project Canopy, Maine Forest Service

Credit: Kim Ballard

2020 has been quite the year already – from extreme weather to the pandemic to civil unrest, we could all use a break from stress and anxiety. As the days are now at their longest, and lots of sun is in the forecast, it is the PERFECT time to step outside and get some much deserved fresh air and exercise. Parks are open and trees are masters at lowering your heart rate, your blood pressure and cortisol (a stress hormone) levels in your bloodstream. Tree-lined paths are cooler than the asphalt sidewalk, contain less air pollution than shared bike lanes and likely even have less crime than neighborhoods with no tree canopy. And if you are anything like me, a quarantine-enhanced waistline could benefit from some exercise provided by a brisk walk outdoors. Any way you look at it, trees are really good for us. And some good news would be really welcome right now.

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Feature species: hackberry

Credit: Steven Katovich,

Scientific name: Celtis occidentalis

Native to: east-central U.S. (includes Wisconsin)

Mature Height*: 30’-60’

Spread*: 30’-50’

Form: broadly and irregularly oval, approximately the vase shape of American elm

Growth Rate*: medium to fast; up to 24”-36” per year

Foliage: 2”-5”; lopsided oval with serrated edge

Fall color: yellow-green to yellow

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Seeking feedback on draft chapters of bat HCP

Cave-dwelling bat populations in Wisconsin are rapidly declining due to a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome. Some species may soon be listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In preparation for this listing, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is teaming up with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to develop a large-scale Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP).

The purpose of this HCP is to obtain a federal incidental take permit under ESA section 10 requesting authorization for the incidental take of bats during forest management activities. The goal of this project is the protection of federally endangered bat species and the continuation of forest management activities in the Lake States.

The Wisconsin DNR will use the HCP to guide forest management activities on DNR-administered land. County, municipal and private landowners may also choose to participate in the plan as a way to continue forest management activities while remaining in compliance with the ESA. Continue reading “Seeking feedback on draft chapters of bat HCP”

Reports of sudden balsam fir mortality

Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff,, 920-360-0665

In early June we started getting reports of balsam fir trees rapidly changing from green to rusty red and dying in just a matter of weeks. Reports and observations are still coming in at the time of this writing, so this article gives a brief synopsis of what we’ve seen so far this year. Symptoms have been observed in some northern and central counties.

The top half of a balsam fir died rapidly this spring due to reasons we are still exploring.

Some balsam fir crowns died rapidly this spring for reasons still being explored.

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