Michigan-(Ammoland.com)-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced a $1 million, five-year enhanced partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.
It will provide training for foresters and wildlife biologists who assist private forest landowners in Michigan.
Under the project – Training Foresters to Enhance the Sustainable Management of Private Forest Land – the DNR will provide technical assistance to train 450 professional land managers, including public sector foresters working for the DNR or local conservation districts and private-sector foresters and wildlife biologists who work with forest landowners. The Natural Resources Conservation Service will expand its financial assistance to forest landowners, primarily by funding conservation practices on forest land through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
“This innovative partnership will combine the strengths of both of our organizations to increase services to the 400,000 private forest landowners throughout Michigan,” said Mike Smalligan, Forest Stewardship Program coordinator for the DNR. “Private forest landowners own more than 12 million acres of Michigan’s 20 million acres of forest land. This project will allow us to reach and help landowners meet their goals to ensure their forest land is properly managed for current and future generations.”
The project will provide training to foresters on how to implement sustainable soil and water quality practices on forest land (also known as best management practices) when harvesting timber, implementing Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation practices, or conducting other forest management activities.
“The Michigan Natural Resources Conservation Service has identified state resource concerns of soil erosion, soil quality and water quality degradation,” said Andy Henriksen, the NRCS state forester. “While these resource concerns are more common on agricultural lands that are tilled annually, they also occur on forest land. The primary cause of the concerns on forest land is recreational use or management activities that utilize poorly designed forest trails or inadequate stream crossings that can be a source of soil erosion, soil compaction and sediment loading into nearby wetlands, rivers and lakes.”
All professional land managers who work with private forest landowners in Michigan will be eligible to attend the training workshops which will be led by DNR foresters. The DNR has extensive forestry experience from sustainably managing 4 million acres of state forest land for more than a century.
“The workshops will train foresters and wildlife biologists to plan and implement conservation practices that address resource concerns, protect the environment and sustainably manage the forest according to each landowner’s personal goals,” Smalligan explained.
Forest landowners interested in obtaining financial assistance to implement conservation practices on their forest land must first obtain an approved forest management plan. The Natural Resources Conservation Service recognizes Forest Stewardship, Tree Farm and Conservation Activity plans when landowners apply for funding to implement conservation practices recommended in their forest management plans. Forest landowners should contact their local NRCS Service Center to apply for financial assistance to develop a Conservation Activity Plan or to implement conservation practices after their plan is developed.
For more information about the project, contact Mike Smalligan, DNR Forest Stewardship coordinator, at 517-284-5884or via email at [email protected]
To learn more about the DNR’s Forest Stewardship Program, go to www.michigan.gov/foreststewardship.