Watch for oak wilt signs to help stop the spread of this tree-killing disease

MADISON — Each year, a tree-killing fungal disease strikes and kills thousands of oak trees in Wisconsin’s forests, woodlots and urban areas. Oak wilt is common in southern and central Wisconsin and is becoming increasingly abundant in northern counties. It is difficult to control once the disease takes hold and prevention steps need to be taken to slow the spread.

“We are observing oak wilt in more places this year, probably due to the storms we had in the spring,” said Todd Lanigan, a forest health specialist with the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry. “The first symptoms of oak wilt are branches with wilted leaves dropping in summer. These are not the brown, dry leaves you see in autumn. These are partially green to bronze-green and are not completely dry.”

Oak wilt is confirmed in all Wisconsin counties except Ashland, Bayfield, Calumet, Door, Douglas, Forest, Iron, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Taylor counties.

DNR Invites Public to Participate in Bat Habitat Conservation Efforts

Cave-dwelling bat populations in Wisconsin are rapidly declining due to a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome.  Some species may soon be listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In preparation for this listing, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is teaming up with the Michigan and Minnesota DNRs to develop a large-scale Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The purpose of this HCP is to obtain a federal incidental take permit under ESA section 10 requesting authorization for the incidental take of bats during forest management activities. The goal of this project is the protection of federally endangered bat species and the continuation of forest management activities in the Lake States. [Read more…]

Become a Tree Seed Collector

The WI DNR Reforestation Program continues to purchase seed from private collectors. Over the years, our seedling demands have changed; thus, so does our need for seed.  In 2017, WI DNR will be purchasing seeds for the following species: american hazelnut, american plum, black cherry, bitternut hickory, black walnut, butternut, shagbark hickory, sugar (hard) maple, and the following oaks – bur, red, swamp white, white.

Please read the following information carefully to understand changes in 2017.  Before collecting any seed, please contact the nursery first to ensure purchasing is still open for species you intend to collect. Nursery staff can assist with species identification.  If you have any questions, call the nursery before you begin to collect seed!

[Read more…]

New DNR Tax Law Section for MFL and FCL

From: WI DNR Forestry News

As part of the DNR Strategic Alignment, the Division of Forestry has consolidated the tax law programs (Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law) and associated work into fewer positions under a new Tax Law section.  This section will focus on the tax law programs, allowing us to better meet our customers’ needs. 

Within the new section, six staff are located in Madison:  Tax Law Section Chief, Tax Law Administration Specialist, Tax Law Enforcement Specialist (vacant), Tax Law Operations Specialist, Tax Law Policy Specialist, and Tax Law WisFIRS Data Specialist (vacant).  There are also four teams of tax law specialists located throughout the state.  Each team consists of a team leader, 8 or 9 forestry specialists (field foresters working on tax law) and 1 or 2 administration specialists  (similar to administrative positions previously located in Madison) assigned to cover specific counties.

To find contact information for the tax law specialists that serve your area, visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword “Forester” and select “DNR tax law specialists.”  There you’ll also find a description of the specialist’s roles and services offered.

You can find the new staff assigned to your area and their contact information directly in the Tax Law Directory.

Thanks for your patience through this transition and into the future as we continue our commitment to work together to sustainably manage and protect Wisconsin’s forest resources.

Contact:  R.J. Wickham, Forest Tax Section Chief, 920-369-6248 (mobile phone), Richard.Wickham@Wisconsin.gov

Emerald Ash Borer New Locations Found

Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) continues to be found in new areas. Wisconsin continues to track EAB at the municipality or township level; quarantined counties are shown in tan and known infested areas are shown in green on the map.

If you know you have EAB, please contact us with that information so we can verify the infestation and update the maps. If your area:

  • is not shaded in green on the map please contact DNR or
  • is not shaded at all on the map please contact DATCP.

You can reach both agencies from the menu options when you call 1-800-462-2803. [Read more…]

Prevent Tick Borne Illnesses

According to the Center for Disease Control, there were roughly 28,500 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 2015; but the actual number of cases may be 10 times greater.

Lyme used to be confined to a few localized areas, particularly around Connecticut and the Northeast, but warmer winter temperatures and urban sprawl-which has reduced natural predators that kill tick-hosting rodents and deer-have caused populations to explode and spread across the country. That, in turn, has led to a sharp increase in the incidence of Lyme. (read more…)

Promulgation of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Interior Quarantine in Michigan

June 6, 2017              To: Stakeholders and Industries Associated with Hemlock

The Michigan Department of  Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is implementing an interior state quarantine to protect Michigan’s native and cultivated hemlock populations from hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). HWA has not been found in Michigan until recently where it has been detected at multiple sites in four counties in western Michigan. Recent surveys show HWA to be infesting hemlock in native stands and landscape settings. The infestations are attributed to shipments of hemlock nursery stock from infested areas in the United States prior to the implementation of Michigan’s Exterior HWA Quarantine. If left unchecked, HWA will likely spread throughout the estimated 170 million hemlock trees in Michigan. HWA causes significant losses in hemlock and therefore, could adversely affect a wide range of industries including the timber and lumber industries, nursery and landscaping industries, the Christmas tree and greens industry and also the tourist industry. Furthermore, hemlock is a keystone species in forested and associated riparian ecosystems. [Read more…]

Bat disease takes its toll; Wisconsin sites see 30-100 percent decreases

Contact(s): Owen Boyle, 608-576-2446; Paul White, 608-267-0813

Call goes out to report surviving bats this summer

MADISON — A bat disease that has raced across the eastern U.S. and Canada , killing upwards of 7 million bats, is following the same pattern in Wisconsin, winter hibernacula surveys show.

Twenty-four of 28 counties with known bat hibernacula are now confirmed to have bats infected with white-nose syndrome or the fungus that causes it, and sites in their second and third year of infection are seeing population decreases of 30 to 100 percent.

“The disease has progressed in Wisconsin as it did out east,” says Owen Boyle, species management section chief for the Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Conservation program. “That doesn’t make the numbers any easier to see. The effect of white-nose syndrome on our cave bats in Wisconsin, as nationally, is catastrophic.” [Read more…]

Zdanovecs Awarded 2017 Forest Conservationists of the Year by WI Wildlife Federation

2017 Forest Conservationists of the Year presented by WI Wildlife Federation to Jim & Marlene Zdanovec

In 1985, dreams of eventually returning to their roots were realized when Jim and Marlene Zdanovec purchased 160 acres of land in Marathon County, Wisconsin. Wildlife was the main reason the Zdanovecs purchased the property.

The Zdanovec’s objective with this land was to work with the abandoned pits and unmanaged forest to promote long-term productivity of the forest ecosystem with good land stewardship, for the benefit of the land, forest, and wildlife.

Today, the spoil piles are now gone, sloped and contoured by the Zdanovecs to blend in with the surrounding topography. Waste granite from the excavations has been used to construct and repair three miles of access roads. Topsoil was added and areas were vegetated to eliminate erosion into what are now referred to as “wildlife ponds.” Once empty water holes now brim with life. From the spring peepers to the geese to the wild rice that grows along the banks of ponds, forest life flourishes here. [Read more…]

Return of the Canadian Softwood Lumber Tariff

The Trump administration is slapping duties on billions of dollars of lumber imported from Canada, marking an escalation of trade tensions. The Commerce Department said that countervailing duties ranging from 3% to 24% would be applied retroactively on five Canadian lumber exporters. Overall the duties average about 20% and could amount to $1 billion. Additional penalties could be levied if Commerce determines Canadian lumber is being dumped into U.S. markets.  (read more...)