Financial help

Four Communities Kick-Start Urban Forestry Programs With DNR Assistance

By Don Kissinger, DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator based in Wausau, Don.Kissinger@wisconsin.gov or 715-348-5746 

In 2018, I had been covering the Northwest part of the state for three years due to a vacancy and saw first-hand a lack of proactive community forestry management in some areas, but also a lot of potential.

To help kick-start new urban forestry programs in the region, I proposed that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) use some of our US Forest Service funding to contract an urban forestry consultant to work one-on-one with selected communities. The consultant would meet with community staff, collect tree inventory data and develop individual operations plans.

The selected communities would then agree to apply for our 50-50 matching Startup Grants to implement the developed plan. A similar strategy (minus the startup grant commitment) had worked well in southern Wisconsin in 2012: out of five selected communities (Adams, Elroy, Hillsboro, Mauston and Necedah), four have become Tree City USA communities, three have had staff complete the Community Tree Management Institute (CTMI) and one has hired a full-time forester responsible for their community’s street, park, and cemetery trees.

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What does a DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator do?

By Olivia Witthun, DNR urban forestry coordinator, Plymouth, olivia.witthun@wisconsin.gov, 414-750-8744 

Wisconsin’s urban forests provide a wide range of ecological, economic and social benefits. Urban areas contain nearly 27 million trees with an estimated total replacement value of almost $11 billion. Many don’t realize all the services urban forests provide. They reduce air pollution, mitigate storm water runoff, conserve energy, provide wildlife habitat, increase property values, and attract businesses, tourists and residents. They even improve public health and well-being. The Wisconsin DNR’s Urban Forestry Team seeks to maximize these benefits derived from our state’s community tree canopies. 

Thirteen people are part of the DNR Urban Forestry Team, and six of those are Urban Forestry Coordinators (UFCs).  Each UFC serves a different region, and within that region, we mainly serve city foresters, local government tree managers and other partners.  (UW Extension serves homeowners.)  Your UFC is your go-to contact for all things urban forestry. 

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Urban wildlife damage abatement/control grants

The Wisconsin DNR is currently accepting applications for Urban Wildlife Damage Abatement and Control (UWDAC) grants. UWDAC grants are available to any town, city, village, county or tribal government located within an urban area (click here for a list of eligible urban areas). Applications must be received on or before December 1st.

UWDAC grants help urban areas develop wildlife plans, implement specific damage abatement and/or control measures for white-tailed deer and/or Canada geese. Eligible projects include:

  • Developing an urban wildlife population control plan.
  • Monitoring wildlife populations and establishing population estimates.

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A reminder that the application deadline is coming up for 2020 Urban Forestry Grants!

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 in 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.

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September 30th deadline approaching for ATC’s community planting grant

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. ATC has awarded more than 240 communities with funds totaling over $425,000 since 2013.

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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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$175,000 additional Urban Forestry Grant funding available for EAB – Ash Tree Removals and Replacements

Credit: Leah Bauer, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, Bugwood.org

The WDNR received $175,000 from the USDA Forest Service, Forest Health & Resilience funds, to assist communities in response to the catastrophic loss of urban tree canopy due to EAB.  The $175,000 will be administered through the competitive State Urban Forestry Grants program and sub-awarded to cities, villages, towns, counties, tribes and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.  Projects funded with the Forest Health & Resilience funds will focus on EAB response on public lands, including ash tree removals and replacements.  EAB treatment will not be funded with these dollars.  These projects will further the Forest Service National Priorities to ‘protect forests from threats’ and ‘enhance public benefits from trees and forests’, and make Wisconsin communities safer, healthier and happier places to live, work and play.

2021 DNR Urban Forestry Grant Application opening soon

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 $175,000.00 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.