Taking action

One Last Chance To Treat Or Remove Spongy Moth Egg Masses; DATCP Slow-The-Spread Aerial Treatments Announced

By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh
bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0942

Three tan-colored lumps about the size of a nickel or a quarter are spongy moth egg masses on the underside of a pine branch in Walworth County.

Three spongy moth egg masses on the underside of a pine branch in Walworth County.
Photo: Bill McNee, Wisconsin DNR

Spongy moth* (formerly known as gypsy moth) egg masses typically begin to hatch in April as temperatures warm. Now is a great time to inspect your trees for egg masses and treat or remove any masses within reach. Each mass that hatches may produce up to 1,000 leaf-eating caterpillars.

Populations of spongy moths increased in 2020 and 2021 due to favorable weather conditions. This winter’s temperatures have not been cold enough to cause heavy egg mortality. A large rise in caterpillar numbers can be expected in 2022 if weather conditions are warm and dry over the next few months.

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EAB Identified In Lincoln County For The First Time, Continues Spread Into Northern Wisconsin

By Linda Williams, WI DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff
Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665

Emerald ash borer (EAB) continues to spread into areas of Northern Wisconsin and was detected for the first time in Lincoln County, in the Town of Harrison and the City of Tomahawk. EAB was first identified in Wisconsin in 2008, only 14 years ago. It is now in 62 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

S-shaped markings in an ash tree trunk where a hatchet has removed the bark.

S-shaped galleries under the bark of this ash were created by EAB larvae. You can also see epicormic branches (water sprouts) coming out of the trunk. These are a sign of significant stress in the tree. Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

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2022 Tree City USA Requirements: Arbor Day Celebration And Proclamation

An Arbor Day celebration and proclamation will be required in 2022 to earn or maintain Tree City USA designation. An Arbor Day celebration will also be required to earn or maintain Tree Campus Higher Education and Tree Line USA recognition.

There are many ways a community/campus/utility might meet this standard, including:

  • An in-person gathering (e.g. community tree planting or festival)
  • A virtual event (e.g. webinar or live streamed tree planting)
  • A social media post or campaign

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Learn About Wisconsin’s Urban Forestry Council In New 2021 Biennial Report

By Shahla Werner, Urban Forestry Council Chair and Plant Protection Section Chief for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

The purpose of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council is to advise the state forester, currently Heather Berklund, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on the best ways to preserve, protect, expand and improve Wisconsin’s urban and community forest resources.

The 27 members, who serve after being approved by DNR Secretary Cole, hail from all over Wisconsin. They represent a wide array of stakeholders, including citizens; municipal and utility foresters; medical and higher education professionals; nursery staff; environmental groups; public works, planning and parks staff; landscape architects; the Wisconsin Arborist Association (WAA); the Urban Wood Network Wisconsin; the League of Wisconsin Municipalities; and partner agencies like the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. 

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Deadlines Approaching For Tree City, Bird City And Bee City Applications

Act fast to keep your Tree City, Bird City and Bee City status! Due dates are as follows:

  • Tree City USA (TCUSA) applications are due Dec. 31
  • Bird City Wisconsin renewal applications are due Jan. 31 (new applications can be submitted anytime)
  • Bee City USA renewal applications are due Feb. 28 (new applications can be submitted anytime)

These three programs are each managed by a different nonprofit, but they have a lot in common. In fact, a single project could be used to help meet all three programs’ requirements!

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Forest Characteristics, Ecology And Management In The Statewide Forest Action Plan

The success of sustainable forest management starts with a solid plan. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires each chief state forester to develop a statewide action plan every ten years. The Wisconsin plan, developed in 2020, reflects on lessons learned from the past to prepare for future challenges.

The next 12 posts are related to the “forest characteristics, ecology and management” section of the plan. Goals in this section include providing connectivity between forest patches, as well as increasing the quality and scale of forested habitat for many forest-dependent species.

DNR Staff engaging with landowners.

Wisconsin DNR Forestry meeting with stakeholders at Caroline Lake, Ashland County. A wide variety of forestry partners collaborated on the preparation and implementation of Wisconsin’s Statewide Forest Action Plan. Credit: Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin Environmental Equity Tool (WEET) Announced

Gov. Tony Evers recently announced that the DNR, working with three other state agencies and partner organizations, is developing the Wisconsin Environmental Equity Tool (WEET), a public health and environmental equity mapping dashboard.

The dashboard is designed to locate and compare public health and environmental impacts across the state to advance equity, allowing community members, government and elected officials, public health professionals and nonprofits to pinpoint Wisconsin’s communities most impacted by environmental, public health and climate vulnerability.

This information will also help identify the environmental challenges and prioritize funding priorities to build healthy, resilient communities. The DNR is collaborating with the Department of Administration (DOA), Department of Health Services (DHS), and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) on this effort.

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SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard Comment Period

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) is pleased to announce the first public comment period of a new SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard. SFI  collaborated with more than 25 urban forestry leaders, including representatives from American Forests, Arbor Day Foundation, the International Society of Arboriculture, the Society of Municipal Arborists and Tree Canada to create this first draft.

This first draft focuses primarily on the elements that would broadly define professional urban forestry programs and practices in the U.S and Canada. Elements in the standard will be aspirational to many communities. Some will follow standard SFI certification protocols common to all standards, and some are to be determined. SFI is interested in receiving all related comments, questions and suggestions that can help guide subsequent revisions and further development of the standard, so your review comments can be broader than just the technical elements of an urban and community forestry program or practice.   

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Arbor Day Foundation Now Accepting Tree City USA Applications

Did you know that Wisconsin had 201 Tree City USAs this year? It’s the first time we’ve crossed the 200 threshold!

We hope you join us again 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 here. Applications are due Dec. 31.

Communities that have received Tree City designations for at least one year may be eligible for Growth Awards.

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Necedah Hosts Urban Forestry Seminar For Neighboring Communities

By Patricia Lindquist, DNR Urban Forestry Communications Specialist, patricia.lindquist@wisconsin.gov, 608-843-6248

Part of our mission at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is to bring community foresters together to learn from one another and to provide training opportunities. Recently, one village administrator took it upon himself to do just that within his county.

We were thrilled when Roger Herried of Necedah approached us with his plans to hold a Juneau County Area Urban Forestry Seminar this fall. Roger’s intent was to provide much-needed training for his public works department and other small communities that don’t have a lot of resources. With some help from the DNR and other partners, Roger hosted a well-rounded, day-long program to help strengthen urban forestry programs in his area.

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