Division of Forestry News

Two division leaders announced

Two leadership roles have been filled within the Division of Forestry. Eric Zenz was named as the Southwest District Forestry Leader and Jim Warren will serve as the Field Operations Bureau Director.

Eric Zenz

Zenz has been with the division since 2002 and has been the Black River Falls Team Leader for the past six years. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in forest administration and utilization with a minor in business administration from UW-Stevens Point in 2001.

The division’s Southwest District includes the southern and western parts of Wisconsin, from Milwaukee up through Eau Claire.  Zenz will be responsible for the division’s forestry field operations in the 33 Wisconsin counties included in this district. He enjoys working in coulee country and will continue to live in Black River Falls with his wife and two children.

Photo of Jim Warren

Jim Warren

Warren has been serving as the Public and Private Forestry Section Chief since joining the Division of Forestry in 2003. He had previously been with the West Virginia Division of Forestry for 11 years after earning a Bachelor of Science in forestry from UW-Madison.

Warren enjoys hunting, fishing and boating along the Mississippi River in Grant County. He will continue to live in the Madison area with his wife and two sons and will be stationed at the Madison office with frequent trips to the Rhineland headquarters.

Included in the Forestry Field Operations Bureau are wildland fire prevention, protection, and suppression; forest fire law enforcement; prescribed fire; wildland urban interface; state and county forests; the Good Neighbor Authority; forest certification; conservation easements; private forestry; and the forestry tax law program.  Learn more about these programs on the DNR website.

Zenz and Warren start their new positions on November 24, 2019. Both will report to Forestry Operations Deputy Division Administrator Heather Berklund who is stationed at the division’s Rhinelander headquarters. They will also both serve on the division’s Strategic Leadership Team that sets policy direction and ensures that the Division of Forestry continues to work in partnership to protect and sustainably manage Wisconsin’s forests to supply a wide range of ecological, economic, and social benefits for present and future generations.

Storm recovery update

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and the Wisconsin DNR-Division of Forestry jointly produced a progress report on recovery efforts following the July 19-20, 2019 storms that damaged more than 285,000 acres in Barron, Polk, Langlade, Oconto and portions of Oneida, Wood and Portage Counties.

You are invited to read “After the Storm News” here. 

For additional information, visit this DNR webpage about recovering from storm damage to forests.

If you have questions, contact:
Hilary Markin, Public Affairs Officer
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
715-362-1354
hilary.r.markin@usda.gov
or
Kirsten Held, Forestry Outreach Specialist
Wisconsin DNR – Division of Forestry
608-219-9605
kirsten.held@wisconsin.gov

Applications for Forest Legacy Program due June 14

Landowners interested in participating in the Forest Legacy Program are invited to submit a completed application by June 14, 2019.

The Forest Legacy Program is a federal program that provides grants funds to states for the protection of environmentally important forest land from conversion to non-forest uses. Wisconsin’s implementation strategy focuses on keeping forests as forests by protecting large (> 1,000 acres) unfragmented blocks of forest land that provide the highest conservation value and public benefit through the purchase of conservation easements. Conservation easements convey a ‘purchased’ set of negotiated property rights, while allowing landowners to continue to own and manage their land, including the right to sell.

To request an application and more information about the Forest Legacy Program, contact Ron Gropp at ron.gropp@wisconsin.gov or 715-281-6253.  Only lands within one of Wisconsin’s Forest Legacy Areas are eligible.

2020 Forest Action Plan development begins

Development of Wisconsin’s 2020 Forest Action Plan is beginning now. Over the next year and a half, the Division of Forestry, along with Wisconsin’s greater forestry community, will be working collaboratively to review trends in the current state of forestry and identify future strategies that can help the forestry community refine how we collectively invest resources to address major management and landscape priorities. Engaging with all members of the forestry community is important to the success of the Forest Action Plan.

Here is more information on the Forest Action Plan, the timeline, and how the forestry community will be engaged.

To get updates on the process and progress of the 2020 Forest Action Plan, please sign up for the Forest Action Plan GovDelivery list.

Find up-to-date information on the 2020 Forest Action Plan online here.

If you have questions about your involvement or the Forest Action Plan in general, please contact Amanda Koch at AmandaA.Koch@wisconsin.gov  or at (608) 576-8146.

Silviculture Handbook Users: Complete survey by June 22

By Carmen Hardin, Applied Forestry Bureau Director

We are inviting all users of the WDNR’s Silviculture Handbook  to complete a survey to gather input on how they use the handbook and suggestions for improvement in structure, format and information.

Please complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VQGTJZQ by June 22, 2018.

This survey request is driven by several factors. The primary need is that the Department of Natural Resources, working with the Silviculture Guidance Team, recognizes the need to take a holistic review of the structure and format of the handbook in an effort to address concerns raised in the Wisconsin Forest Practices Study and by other key users, and to improve overall communication of important silviculture concepts. A goal of this review is to evaluate the organization and presentation to improve the utility and function for handbook users.

This survey request also ties into continued efforts to gain efficiencies to meet the 20,000 hour reduction in investment in forest tax law program administration. The Division of Forestry’s Tax Law Section is looking to move key eligibility and enforcement requirements into the Tax Law Handbook and rely more on the Silviculture Handbook as a resource, similar to the Best Management Practices for Water Quality Field Manual, the Biomass Harvesting Guidelines and guidelines related to forest health issues.

The survey has 23 questions and should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Please share this survey request with others that you think may be interested in completing it.

If you have questions regarding the survey, please contact Katy Thostenson at 608-535-7049 or kathryn.thostenson@wisconsin.gov.

Draft forest management guidelines update

A draft update of Wisconsin’s Forest Management Guidelines is available for public comment.  See a description of the proposed changes and an updated draft of the publication here.  Submit your comments to Rob Anderson by June 6, 2018. This revision focuses on updating outdated information and adding relevant new information. Future updates of the publication will be made on a chapter-by-chapter basis to reflect recommendations from the Wisconsin Forest Practices Study.

Division leadership confirmed

Chief State Forester Fred Souba, Jr. completed another significant step in the DNR Division of Forestry reorganization with the appointment of the leadership team. Earlier this year, Souba changed the administrative structure of the Division to help improve efficiencies and better align staff with the future of the Division’s strategic direction implementation.

Souba created two Forestry Deputy Division Administrator positions. The Field Operations Deputy Administrator will work closely with the state forester, stationed in the northern half of the state, implementing policies directly impacting field operations and building upon external partnerships. The Forestry Services Deputy Administrator will be the key lead for policy and service coordination efforts and needs with staff and partners located in Madison. Continue reading “Division leadership confirmed”

DNR helps fight fires outside of Wisconsin

The 60 Wisconsin DNR personnel and six engines that helped on out-of-state wildland fires this summer created a win-win scenario for all involved.

Community meeting in Montana

Public Information Officer Catherine Koele addresses a community group regarding a fire on the Lolo National Forest in Montana.

Not only was the assistance of tremendous value on the 14 fires in six states and two Canadian provinces, but these assignments provided valuable training and experience for DNR employees in working together for extended periods of time under less-than-ideal conditions and in dealing with forest fire safety situations in large fire environments. The assignments provide employees an opportunity to obtain and maintain their forest firefighting qualifications and credentials.  They also allow us to demonstrate and test our equipment and tactics in large fire situations not available in Wisconsin every year.

This sharing of resources is crucial given that no single agency can afford to have all of the personnel and equipment necessary to fight forest fires during peak activity times. Wisconsin routinely uses air resources and personnel from other agencies for assistance during our spring forest fire season.

The valuable training and experience gained by our staff greatly benefits the state of Wisconsin and its ability to respond to local forest fires and provides the requesting agency well-trained staff and equipment to help manage their wildland fire incidents. Truly a win-win scenario!

May 16th storm damages woodlands

A severe storm on May 16, 2017 left a path of destruction through some woodlands in Barron and Rusk counties.  (See DNR news release.)

If you are among the impacted landowners, the Division of Forestry invites you to visit this storm recovery page for advice and links to resources.  Your local DNR forester is always a good starting point for assistance.

This blog post from the University of Minnesota titled “Dealing with storm-damaged trees and woods” may also be of interest.

Posted by Kirsten Held, DNR Forestry Outreach Specialist, Kirsten.Held@Wisconsin.gov