Storm Damage – More Resources added!

What do you do after your woodlands experience unexpected storm damage?

If you have woodlands in these areas of Wisconsin and you haven’t been there since the July 18-20th storms,  you are strongly encouraged to visit your land and assess it for storm damage.

As Wisconsin continues to be hit by severe storms since July, we will continually be adding more resources and information to help you and your woodlands recover. 

EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS were made in these areas:
Clark County
Langlade County – July 22, 2019
Menominee County – July 22, 2019
Menominee Nation – July 22, 2019
Oconto County – July 20, 2019
Ojibwa Nation – July 22, 2019
Polk County – July 22, 2019
Portage County – July 25, 2019
Sawyer County – July 22, 2019
Town of Enterprise – Oneida County – July 22, 2019
Town of Knowlton – Marathon County
Town of Ojibwa – Sawyer County – July 22, 2019
Town of Schoepke – Oneida County – July 22, 2019
Town of Stockton – Portage County
Town of Rock – Wood County – July 22, 2019
Vernon County – July 19, 2019
Village of Plover – Portage County


NEW 8/20/19    Gov. Evers Requests Federal Disaster Aid for July’s Severe Storms
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today (8/19/19) has requested a federal disaster declaration for 18 Wisconsin counties and two tribes for damage sustained from severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in July. The request would provide federal disaster assistance to help local governments and electric cooperatives recover some of their costs from responding to the storms, protecting citizens, removing debris, and repairing roads and other infrastructure. READ MORE

NEW 8/19/19    WI DNR publishes information and resources on their website about Insects and Disease in Storm-Damaged Trees.

NEW 8/15/19    Hiring individuals or companies to do work on your land? Check Wisconsin Circuit Court to see if there are any current or previous cases against them so you can be confident in who you agree to work on your woodlands. Run loggers, foresters, contractors, and any other stakeholders before making deals and signing contracts. 

NEW 8/8/19   Gov. Tony Evers announced on Friday August 2, 2019 that the state is requesting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conduct a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) in Wisconsin. The PDA will look at 17 counties and two tribal reservations impacted by storms that occurred in the state July 18-20.

Teams from FEMA and Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) will work with local, tribal and state officials in viewing public infrastructure damage. The PDA will not be assessing damage done to individual homes, cabins or businesses.
Counties covered by the PDA request are Barron, Clark, Forest, La Crosse, Langlade, Marinette, Menominee, Monroe, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Polk, Portage, Rusk, Vernon, Waupaca, and Wood counties, along with tribal lands of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, and the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin.

NEW 8/9/19    The Department of Natural Resources will be holding a series of public meetings to help landowners with storm damage gain a better understanding of their options. (additional information below)

NEW 7/30/19  WI DNR makes emergency funds from the WI Forest Landowner Grant Program available to woodland owners with storm damage resulting from storms beginning on July 18, 2019. (additional information below)

While WWOA hopes your woodlands were not damaged in these very severe storms, we are providing a variety of resources to assist you in caring for your woodlands if you have damage.

Taking in the damage can be devastating.  After you see the damage and realize that your woods will never be the same again, you will need to consider your options.  Do not let “door knockers” pressure you into doing something you will regret.  Unless your safety or your property’s (home) safety is compromised, you have time to make a thoughtful decision.

Storm damage, while not always a pleasant experience, is a natural one. Damage from extreme weather events can be referred to as “disturbance”, and is a naturally occurring aspect in most ecosystems. Active forest management and timber harvests, in some ways, can replicate natural disturbance by creating canopy gaps that permit light to pass through and stimulate understory growth.

After the sweep of severe storms across Wisconsin this July, many woodlands have experienced damage, just like your woods. Now what do you do?

There are two main options (depending on the severity of the damage) that are outlined and expanded upon in the DNR publication, In the Face of Change DNR.

The first is to leave things as is, allowing dead and damaged trees to decay and go through their natural process. By letting things go as is, a variety of new habitats for different wildlife species (which are often threatened/endangered) are created and nutrients are returned to the forest floor as decomposition progresses.

The second is to do a salvage harvest. By clearing out downed and damaged trees, the amount of forest floor and standing fuels are decreased, thereby reducing your risk of a devastating forest fire. Insects and disease also spread quickly between damaged trees.

There is no right answer for any one woodland. Work with your forester and other trusted natural resources professionals to decide what is best for you and your woodland.

If you decide to move ahead with a salvage cut, WWOA offers a variety of publications to assist you.  It is important to enter into a contract with a reputable forester and logger, just as you would for any other timber harvest.  WWOA encourages you to use our Sample Timber Sale Contract and read over a number of the publications with information on how to hire a consulting forester or other contractor and expectations of foresters, loggers and landowners.  If your woods is enrolled in the Managed Forest Law program, make sure to notify your DNR forester as well.

You may want review these articles from WWOA’s quarterly magazine Wisconsin Woodlands titled Do you have storm damage in your woodlands? written by Jane Cummings Carlson and Timber Salvage written by Bill Cook for some additional tips and ideas on how to handle storm damaged property.

DNR Public Meetings

If landowners can bring along information such as a property map, legal description, pictures of damage on your property,  types of tree affected – those would be helpful. 

Consulting foresters and logging contractors will be invited to attend to help landowners make connections with companies that can help them clean up their storm damaged timber.

Public Meetings will be held at: (UPDATED 8/12/19)

WWOA Board Member and Phoenix Falls Chapter Chair, Randy Cooper was happy to see WWOA membership brochures were available to the crowd who showed up at the meeting to discuss salvaging storm damaged timber at the Mountain Community Center in Oconto County.

Saturday, August 10th at 9:00am
Bill Lazansky Community Center, Town of Mountain Town Hall
13412 HWY 32, Mountain, WI 54154

Thursday, August 15th at 6:00pm
Bill Lazansky Community Center, Town of Mountain Town Hall
13412 HWY 32, Mountain, WI 54154

Saturday, August 17th at 1:00pm
Elcho High School Theater
N11268 Antigo St. Elcho, WI 54428

Saturday August 24th at 1:00pm
White Lake School Commons Area
405 Bissell St. White Lake, WI 54491

Tuesday August 27th at 6:30pm
Barron Area Community Center
800 Memorial Dr, Barron, WI 54812

Thursday, August 29th at 6:30 pm
Unity High School Auditorium
1908 WI-46, Balsam Lake, WI 54810


More Storm Damage information is available below:

WWOA Publications Page – includes sample timber sale contract and more!
WI Forest Landowner Grant Program– WI DNR emergency funds NOW available
WI Forest Landowner Grant Program Fact Sheet
DNR Forestry Assistance Locator 
– Find a DNR Forester in your coverage area.
2-1-1 Wisconsin – report damage and request assistance or call 2-1-1 at any time, 24/7 to speak with an information and referral specialist, trained to assist callers in this time of need.
Storm Recovery – WI DNR
Managing Storm Damaged Woods – UWEx
Burning Permits – WI DNR
Storm Clean-up with Chainsaws
– Husqvarna
Chainsaw Safety-Log the Right Way – FISTA
Watch for Storm Chaser Contractors– DATCP
Have you Experienced Frequent Flooding – NRCS
Cleaning up Storm Debris – WI DNR
Documenting Damage for Insurance Claims – OCI
Income Tax Deduction on Timber & Landscape Tree Loss from Casualty– US Forest Service
WI Executive Order #35 – Relating to a Proclamation Declaring a State of Emergency Due to Extreme Severe Weather
WI DNR Release of WFLGP Funding to Assist Woodland Owners with Storm Damage

Other Resources for Storm Damaged Areas:

General Information on Disposal of Storm Debris
Demolition, construction and renovation
Storm Damage in Your Yard