CREP Contracts are Expiring, Renewal Needs to be Completed by Sept 30

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program contracts signed in 2001-02 expire on September 30, 2016 and must be renewed by that date if landowners want to remain in CREP. Re-enrollment must be completed by September 30, you will not be able to re-enroll if you begin the process on that date. Re-enrollment only applies to 15-year contracts, not perpetual easements under CREP. To re-enroll, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency office, a representative will visit the land to check for compliance, and landowners will have the option to add or remove lands to the next fifteen year contract. Land value has also risen over the last fifteen years, meaning that landowners will likely receive higher payments than in 2001 if they choose to re-enroll. Enrollment of eligible lands into CREP is always open and interested landowners can contact their county land and water conservation office or local FSA office for more information.

County Deer Advisory Councils and Deer Management

Deer Zones Deer season is right around the corner! Did you participate in your County Deer Advisory Council meetings? Wisconsin landowners have control over deer management in their county. Each single county makes up a deer management unit, and there is a County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) for each unit. CDACs were launched in 2014 by the WI DNR with the goal of increasing public involvement and satisfaction with deer management. CDAC membership is comprised of volunteers and professional natural resource managers from outside the DNR. CDACs have one chair and an alternate chair (both elected from the Wisconsin Conservation Congress), and up to seven members of the public that represent different natural resource interests, a well as tourism, local government, and transportation. CDAC management cycles begin every third autumn, and each spring CDACs create recommendations on harvest quotas, permit limits, and season framework options that attempt to reach management goals of each county. Counties decide whether they want to increase, decrease, or maintain the size of their county's herd over the next three years. These recommendations are informed by information provided to each CDAC regarding population demographics, harvest trends and statistics, hunter experience, herd health, forest health, agriculture, vehicle collisions and more. [Read more...]

Carol and John Nielsen

Carol and John Nielsen worked as professional foresters with the Carol and John NielsenDepartment of Natural Resources (DNR) throughout their careers. They started out in Northern Wisconsin, but eventually ended up further south, where their 240 acre Bakken Skov (Hill forest in Danish, and also the name of their woodlands) can be found in Richland County. Bakken Skov is home to an old house’s foundation on a ridge, which is now home to a walnut tree growing tall in the center. In the beginning the walnut trees on their property had been their kids’ scholarship trees, but over the years they’ve turned into kitchen remodel trees, and most recently they’ve become Carol and John’s retirement trees. [Read more...]

2016 Regional Tree Farmer of the Year Announced!

Gerald and Charlotte Kann have been named the 2016 North Central Regional Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year by the American Tree Farm System! Congratulations to Gerald, a WWOA member, and his whole family on this fantastic accomplishment. The Kann family Tree Farm was also the Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year in Wisconsin. The Kanns have planted thousands of trees, completed projects to prevent erosion, completed multiple thinnings, maintained their trails, planted wildlife food plots, and more. They have been involved in many conservation and community organizations, grown and sold Christmas trees, and Gerald and a friend had even began a custom tree planting business in La Crosse and Monroe Counties. The Kanns have worked for decades to manage their land sustainably by consulting with a large number and variety of natural resources professionals and enrolling in different state and federal management programs.    

Landowner Incentive Program Accepting Project Proposals in Driftless Area

The Landowner Incentive Program works to create and manage habitat for rare plants and animals in the Driftless Area through providing funding and technical help. Any privately owned land in the Driftless area is eligible, including private parcels and land trusts, and eligible work includes prescribed burns, native plantings, invasive and woody species removal, and more. The projects proposed must provide benefits to at-risk species and their habitat, but those projects often benefit other species as well. This program reimburses landowners for up to 75% of the cost for practices, and landowners must match the remaining 25%. You must also be willing to enter into a ten year agreement to maintain the intent of the project area. To apply, visit the Landowner Incentive Program page of the DNR website to fill out the online pre-proposal form, or if you have received funding in the past, contact DNR program staff directly. If pre-proposal is approved, you'll be invited to submit a detailed full project proposal. Lands enrolled in CRP are not eligible, but lands enrolled in other conservation programs (EQIP, MFL, etc) may be eligible. Be sure to contact your forester before applying if your land is enrolled in another conservation program. Learn more about how Swamplovers are using LIP funds in Dane County in a story from Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine. Funds are awarded on a first-come-first-served basis, so apply soon!  

Enrollment is Open for Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Programs

Wisconsin DNR was authorized funds through the 2014 Farm Bill for the funding of the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, and have received $1.3 million for the continued funding of VPA-HIP. The VPA-HIP provides opportunities to increase public access for fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing on private lands. There are currently over 38,000 acres participating in VPA-HIP. Those enrolled in VPA-HIP receive annual lease payments based on the type of land, and the payments are made at the beginning of the contract. Enrollees also receive technical assistance for habitat enhancement, and those who complete the recommended practices are eligible for habitat-based financial payments in addition to the lease payments. Forestland leases pay $15 per acre and land is still eligible for enrollment if it is in MFL or CRP programs. For more information on VPA-HIP visit and search VPA. Interested landowners can contact Anne Reis, DNR VPA-HIP coordinator at 608-266-5463

Carcass Tags FAQs – DNR Warden Wire

deerA special edition Warden Wire has been created to address carcass tag regulation questions taken by the DNR Call Center. The Warden Wire FAQ addresses carcass tags for bear, deer, turkey, and sharp-tailed grouse. For information regarding furbearer tags consult the 2016 Small Game and Trapping regulation pamphlets, which can be found on the DNR website.  

2016 DNR & Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearing Results

You can now see the results of the 2016 spring hearings statewide or broken down by county. The 2016 spring hearings were conducted in all 72 Wisconsin counties on April 11 at 7pm. At the spring hearings citizens provide feedback and respond to a wide range of proposed fish and wildlife management issues and Conservation Congress advisory questions. Citizens also had the opportunity to submit resolutions for rule changes they'd like to see in the future. Votes at the spring hearings are non-binding, but are used to gauge the support or non-support for proposed changes by the public. Spring Hearing results and written comments regarding advisory questions and DNR recommendations are used to advise the Natural Resources Board and will be reviewed at the board's May 25 meeting. Spring hearings are also when delegates from each county are elected to represent them on natural resource issues on the Conservation Congress. The Conservation Congress is the only statutorily recognized citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board.  

Tom and Mary Kempen

Tom and Mary Kempen’s road to being woodland owners was a Tom and Marywinding one. The Kempens built a home in Ashwaubenon in 1979, and Tom had a hankering to heat it with wood. He started looking for a piece of woodlands, so they could have a sustainable source of wood for their wood stove. In his search, he and Mary found a 55 acre piece of land up for auction, put in a bid on the wooded 25 acre portion, and won. These 25 acres on Pleasantview Road became Tom and Mary’s Pleasant Acres, which they still own today in Brown County. Once they had Pleasant Acres, the research on tax breaks for woodland owners began, which led them to WWOA, because WWOA had a lot of the information they were looking for. By the early 1980’s Tom and Mary had joined WWOA, they enrolled in the Managed Forest Law (MFL) tax program in 1985, and had the first thinning of their woods in the summer of 1998. [Read more...]

LEED Recognizes Forest Certification in Green Building

On April 5 the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced changes to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system that provides recognition for SFI, ATFS, CSA, and other PEFC-endorsed standards, and creates new opportunities for legal and responsible forest products to earn points. These changes validate and sustain the communities of people across the country working to manage forest responsibly. Changes include:
  • Builders can now use wood and paper products certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI),  American Tree Farm System (ATFS), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)  standards to earn a point in certified wood and sourcing raw materials
  • Wood and paper certified to the SFI Fiber Sourcing standard counts in both the legal and responsible sources category
  • USGBC has created an Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) for wood and paper products in their 2009 and v4 rating tools and the ACP applies to all wood and paper products in the suite of LEED rating tools
  • The ACP also applies to LEED Building and Operations, which means using certified furniture, wood and paper can earn points
For more information read USGBC's press release and stay tuned for more information from SFI.
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