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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.

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”

DNR hosting June 16th wood products webinar

The DNR Forest Products Service Team will host a webinar titled “Wood: Sustainably Grown, Locally Available on June 16, 2020. This webinar is intended to promote the diverse application of Wisconsin’s oldest grown, locally available, and environmentally friendly material—wood. Architects, designers, consumers and anyone interested in learning about Wisconsin wood products should consider attending.

Following these two presentations, there will be time for questions with the presenters:

  • A New Age of Wood: New Products Create New Opportunities by Jim Bowyer, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, and a specialist in wood-based bio-products and environmental life-cycle assessment.
  • Wisconsin Wood Resources and Wood Products by Scott Bowe, Professor and Wood Products Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  

Event Date: June 16, 2020

Time: 10:30 a.m. Central Time (US and Canada)

Registration: Please register in advance for this meeting using following link:
https://uwextension.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwkfuqtrToqH9T3xTpRI8qg1jGc7BsShW0H 

 

Pandemic relief grant for small Wisconsin businesses

If you are a small business owner in Wisconsin looking for some financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, the “We’re All In Small Business” grant might be a good fit. The grant program—funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act—can provide $2,500 in grant money to assist in covering the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory. The grant is available for up to 30,000 small businesses in Wisconsin.

To learn more about the program, please check out the “We’re All In” Small Business Grant webpage on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) website. Here’s a link to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the grant program. The WEDC has representatives available to provide guidance to small business owners whose questions are not answered on the FAQ page.

Wisconsin Forest Action Plan Review Period Extended

In this previous post we invited you to comment on the draft Forest Action Plan.  The purpose of the Forest Action Plan is to provide long‐term, comprehensive, coordinated strategies to help the forestry community refine how it collectively invests state, federal and leveraged partner resources to address major management and landscape priorities. The Forest Action Plan should be useful for all interested parties, so we value your input. The comment deadline has been extended to April 6, 2020. 

Please provide your feedback about the draft 2020 Wisconsin Forest Action Plan to Amanda Koch (AmandaA.Koch@wisconsin.gov) by April 6. Thank you for your continued engagement with the development of this plan.

Annual forest resource reports

By Brian Anderson, forest inventory analyst, Rhinelander, 715-499-3291

Every year, the forest inventory data from the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program is assessed to track trends in Wisconsin’s forest resources. This information is summarized in several reports. The Wisconsin’s Forest Resources report gives a broad overview of the current state of —and trends in — Wisconsin’s forests over time, including easy-to-read figures and tables. Furthermore, it provides links to other more detailed tables, including acreages of forest types and timberland by attributes such as county, stand-size class, and ownership.

In addition to the resources report, all major species in the state are summarized. The summaries include key trends, including changes in volume, and tree numbers by size and diameter class. The summaries provide details on where specific species grow, by both state region and habitat-type group. Managers and industry personnel will also find pertinent information, such as net growth, mortality, and harvest removals over time. Finally, key health issues are summarized for a given species and projections are given for growing-stock volume over the next 40 years.

Check out the statewide summary, species reports, and other specific data tables in our Annual Reports and Publications hub.

Hardwood log scaling

This article, written by DNR forest products team leader Collin Buntrock (contact him in Rhinelander at 608-286-9083) and DNR forest products specialist Scott Lyon (contact him in Green Bay at 920-360-3722), discusses log scaling and explains what separates the three commonly-used methods of scaling hardwood logs in the U.S.  It also explores common defects and provides the accompanying formulas for calculating appropriate deductions for each defect: https://p.widencdn.net/wfabyu/Hardwood-log-scaling 

Wood stove tax credit extended

By Sabina Dhungana, DNR forest products specialist, Madison, 608-220-4531

According to the ENERGY STAR program, the federal government has extended a tax credit to homeowners who purchase a biomass stove to heat their existing home or water. The Non-Business Energy Property Tax Credits have been retroactively extended through 12/31/2020. Biomass stoves burn wood and residues (including wood pellets), agricultural crops and trees, plants, grasses and fibers. To qualify for this $300 credit, stoves must have a thermal efficiency rating of at least 75 percent and meet 2020 clean air standards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Find more information about this renewable energy credit here.

Seedlings still available for spring 2020 planting

By Jeremiah Auer, Forest Regeneration Specialist, (715) 459-1999

Winter hasn’t quite let loose its snowy grip from the Wilson State Nursery fields in Boscobel, but spring will be here soon and it won’t take long for the frost to leave the ground. Staff in the DNR reforestation program have already begun readying themselves to harvest seedlings. 

For those who have spent parts of the winter planning to improve their properties, we still have plenty of seedlings available to create and enhance wildlife habitat, stabilize the soil, block winter wind and snow and provide a future shady spot to sit and enjoy a morning.

Conifers available include jack pine and white spruce. Both are great for providing thermal cover to wildlife in the winter and privacy along a property line. Jack pine grows fast and in some of the most inhospitable sites in the state. Spruce tends to grow slowly but produces a dense hedge for critters.

Hardwoods include aspen, river, white and yellow birch, black cherry, silver maple, red, white and bur oaks and black walnut. Many of these hardwoods provide forage or mast for wildlife (or even humans!) and grow quickly in our fertile soils. Black cherry will begin producing fruit as soon as 5 years and aspen and birch will provide buds for grouse even faster.

Consider talking to a local forester to get more information on tree planting and forest management. A good planting plan can focus your efforts and create a strategy to achieve your property goals. Find the contact information for your local DNR forester on the DNR website (enter keyword “Forestry Assistance Locator”).

Contact our nursery hotline at (715) 424-3700 for up-to-date information on seedling availability and to place an order.

Seedlings sold by the Wisconsin State nurseries are to be used for reforestation, wildlife habitat and windbreak and erosion control purposes and must be planted in Wisconsin. Answers to the most common questions are available on the “Frequently Asked Questions” page.

Comments on draft Forest Action Plan due March 23

Wisconsin’s forestry community worked together over the past year to draft Wisconsin’s 2020 Forest Action Plan. The purpose of the Forest Action Plan is to provide long‐term, comprehensive, coordinated strategies to help the forestry community refine how it collectively invests state, federal and leveraged partner resources to address major management and landscape priorities. The Forest Action Plan should be useful for all interested parties, so we value your input.  This effort is a complete redesign of Wisconsin’s 2010 Forest Action Plan.

We are now sharing the entire draft 2020 plan for final review. The Forest Action Plan has multiple parts. We have incorporated the feedback received through prior review periods and worked with operational partner groups to develop draft strategies. The final Wisconsin Forest Action Plan is due to the U.S. Forest Service in June 2020.

At this time, we are requesting input on the draft 2020 WI Forest Action Plan. You can find the draft here: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestPlanning/documents/WI_2020ForestActionPlan_Draft_032020.pdf

Please provide feedback to Amanda Koch (AmandaA.Koch@wisconsin.gov) by March 23.

You can find more information on the 2020 Forest Action Plan, and what has been done so far by visiting dnr.wi.gov and searching keywords: Forest Action Plan

If you have any questions, please reach out to Amanda Koch (AmandaA.Koch@wisconsin.gov).