Taking action

Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign

By Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist based in Madison, daniel.buckler@wisconsin.gov or 608-445-4578

A sample map produced from the urban heat island mapping project in Boston MA

It’s too darn hot.

It’s a phrase that will be heard more and more as the Earth warms. But for those who live in cities, where the concentration of concrete and asphalt absorbs and radiates heat, it’s a familiar refrain.

Because of the dire effects of heat stress and other heat-related conditions, the importance of understanding temperature distributions in communities is extremely important. To help in that undertaking, a national public-private partnership has been working with community groups to map and analyze heat data.

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Survey Of Funding Sources For Municipal Forestry Programs

By Curt Witynski, Deputy Executive Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban Forestry Team surveyed municipalities in September and October of 2020 to learn more about how cities and villages pay for their forestry programs and activities.

Many municipalities are struggling to continue to provide the same number and quality of services as they have in the past while operating under the strictest levy limits in the nation and experiencing reductions in shared revenue and other state aids. We wanted to learn about any alternative sources of revenue municipalities might be using to help pay for the annual cost of providing forestry services.

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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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Arbor Day Foundation now accepting Tree City USA applications

We hope you join us this year in continuing our strong commitment to growing and maintaining a healthy tree canopy across Wisconsin! The application portal for Tree City USA is now open and available at this link: https://applications.arborday.org/community/city/. Applications are due December 31st.

This is the second year with the new application portal, so if you applied last year, some of your information will be pre-populated on your application. Also, please note that the standard/requirement for having an Arbor Day celebration and proclamation has been waived this year.

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Nominate your community tree champion for an Urban Forestry Council award!

By Sara Minkoff, DNR Urban Forestry Council liaison, Madison, sara.minkoff@wisconsin.gov, 608-669-5447

The Council presents annual awards to outstanding individuals, organizations, communities and tribes that further urban forestry in Wisconsin. The awards are announced each year at the annual Wisconsin Urban Forestry Conference and presented to winners in their community. We are currently seeking nominations for the 2021 awards.

The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council, comprised of municipal employees, elected officials, nursery operators, arborists and others, advises the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry on the best ways to manage urban and community forest resources. Every year, the Council bestows several awards to recognize and thank individuals and organizations across Wisconsin for their work and commitment to the trees and habitat in our community forests and the economic benefits they provide.

The five categories of awards, including our newly renamed Leadership award, are described below:

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Gypsy moth populations rebound in 2020 – look for egg masses this fall

By Bill McNee, forest health specialist, Oshkosh, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0942

The summer of 2020 saw a major rebound of the gypsy moth population after several years of weather conditions that were unfavorable for the non-native, defoliating pest. A mild winter and average summer temperatures/precipitation during the caterpillar stage were all favorable for a population increase.

Gypsy moth egg masses are tan-colored lumps about the size of a nickel or quarter.

Female moth laying eggs on tree trunk.

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August is Tree Check Month!

Donald Duerr, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

The USDA is encouraging everyone to spend 10 minutes checking their trees for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). August is an ideal time to spot this devastating pest as it emerges from trees.

Although ALB has not been discovered in Wisconsin, it is crucial that we keep an eye out for it. The quicker any infestations are discovered and reported, the easier it will be to eradicate. Three states currently have regulations in place for ALB: Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio.

ALB attacks a wide variety of trees including maple, elm, ash, birch, poplar, and willow. Signs of infestation include dime-sized exit holes, shallow scars in bark, sawdust-like material on the ground or tree branches, dead branches, and the beetle itself. Note that the Asian longhorned beetle is sometimes confused with the white-spotted pine sawyer, a native longhorned beetle.

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Urban Forestry Economic Contributions Survey

We want to give you a heads-up and urge you to fill out a survey that may be coming your way. 

There is a study underway led by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that is evaluating the economic contributions of the urban forestry sector in the Northeast-Midwest region of the U.S.  This study is the first in the nation to focus specifically on the economic contributions of urban forestry across multiple states. 

A random sample of businesses, non-profits and local governments will receive an invitation to participate in a web survey in late summer.  Look for an email with the subject line The Urban Forestry Economic Contributions Study Invites You to Participate from The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources <noreply@qualtrics-survey.com>.  The questions will ask about your organization’s sales and revenue (or budgets) in 2018.  There will also be questions about the number of full- and part-time employees for that year. 

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Urban forestry standard survey

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is seeking input from the urban-forestry community to understand the value and challenges facing urban forests, and gauge interest in the development of an urban forestry standard. To assist with this, please complete this 13-questions survey which will take no more than 15 minutes of your time.


To learn more about this initiative, you can view a webinar SFI conducted on June 9th to explore this opportunity.

Please respond to this survey by August 28, 2020. For queries about the survey, please email Jason.Metnick@SFIprogram.org.

Revised aerial spray guide now available

By Bill McNee, forest health specialist, Oshkosh, Bill.Mcnee@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0942

Increasing reports of gypsy moth, forest tent caterpillar and other defoliators this summer may indicate rising populations and increased defoliation over the next few years. A recently revised guide to aerial sprays for landowners is now available.Cover page of the updated aerial spray guide. Continue reading “Revised aerial spray guide now available”