Posts tagged ‘DNR’

Itasca County woodland property tax postcard

On November 20, 2009,  a postcard was mailed to owners of 20+ acres of woodland in Itasca County.  If you’ve just received a postcard and are looking for more information, you’ve come to the right place.

Naturally, the first step is to develop a Woodland Stewardship Management Plan for your land.  A Woodland Stewardship Management Plan is an overview of your property developed with your goals for your land.  A Woodland Stewardship Management Plan may qualify you for cost-share funds that can reduce costs for projects like tree planting.  There is a fee for the plan, and there may be a delay due to high demand.  Learn more about recent Woodland Stewardship Plan policy changes here.

Woodland Stewardship Plan Writers Serving Itasca County:

1.  MN DNR Forestry:
Currently there are two MN-DNR Forestry offices that provide services in Itasca County (See Map).  Due to a reduction in funding, the DNR has recently made changes in its program and will be moving to a fee for service based program.
  • Deer River Area:
    Terry Keeler,
    1201 Hwy. 2
    Grand Rapids, MN 55744
  • Hibbing Area:
    Roger Nelson,
    7979 Hwy. 37,
    Eveleth, MN 55743
Itasca County DNR Forestry Areas

Deer River (green) and Hibbing (blue) DNR-Forestry areas in Itasca County

2.  Itasca Soil and Water Conservation District

  • 1889 East Hwy. 2
    Grand Rapids, MN 55744

3.   The Minnesota Association of Consulting Foresters

Current Property Tax Programs for Qualifying Landowners in Itasca County

1.  2c Managed Forest Land Tax Classification:
This is a new tax classification for vacant wooded land.  The class rate is 0.65%, 35% lower than the class rate for 2b Timberland.  Enrollment requires a registered Woodland Stewardship Management Plan.  Landowners must complete the application form CR-2c MFL and provide it to the county assessor to verify that the property qualifies for this program.  Learn more about the 2c Managed Forest Lands tax class.

  • Itasca County Assessor’s Office
    123 NE Fourth Street
    Grand Rapids, MN 55744

2. Sustainable Forest Incentive Act
This program, administered by the MN Department of Revenue, provides woodland owners with an annual incentive payment.  This program requires filing a covenant with the county recorders office. You’ll need the legal description of your property, a copy of the woodland stewardship plan map and parcel identification numbers (PID).   Be sure to exclude any area that you might develop in the future.  For complete details, read the SFIA Fact Sheet.  Allow the county recorder two to three months to process your request.

  • Itasca County Recorder’s Office
    123 NE Fourth Street
    Grand Rapids, MN 55744

To learn more:


Call the Itasca County Woodland Owner’s Answerline 218-327-2815

November 22, 2009 at 6:36 am Leave a comment

DNR Forest Stewardship Program policy changes

By Gary Michael, MN DNR – Division of Forestry

The Department of Natural Resource Division of Forestry’s Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) is undertaking a major shift in how it operates. For decades the FSP has been delivering free forest management plans to non-industrial private forest landowners.  A recent change in funding will require the FSP to be a more self sufficient program.  To achieve greater self sufficiency, the FSP is moving to a fee for service based program.

Stewardship eligible lands are any forestland with existing tree cover and other woody vegetation or lands suitable, and likely, for growing trees and other woody vegetation or land which has significant effect (e.g., streams within a wooded type, wetlands, fields to be planted for wildlife or timber, etc.) on the forested acres.

The minimum acreage necessary to receive a stewardship plan is twenty acres of tree or other woody vegetation after the plan has been implemented.  Exemptions may be applied for on either a county or individual basis.

A couple of examples to help clarify the twenty-acre minimum are as follows:

  • If a landowner owns 40 total acres with only 11 acres of woodland, and he or she is interested in planting 9 more acres of trees, they would be eligible to receive a Stewardship Plan and would be eligible for cost share assistance.
  • If a landowner owns 18 acres total, and all the acres are wooded, he or she would need an exemption to receive a Stewardship Plan, as they could not meet the minimum 20 wooded acre criteria.
  • If a landowner has 30 total acres with only 11 acres of woodland and the landowner does not have any interest in establishing additional acres of trees or other woody vegetation, he or she would not be eligible to receive a plan unless an exemption has been granted

The fee will be a minimum of $230 for a 20 acre plan and a maximum of $1,000 for all plans over 260 acres (up to 1,000 acres).  The plan writing fee will be rounded to the nearest whole dollar.  All stewardship plan requests over 1,000 acres should be turned over to a FSP partner (consultant forester) so that they can negotiate with the landowner a fee for service (cash plan).

Formula to calculate Stewardship Plan fees:

Formula to calculate the fee for a new or revising an outdated stewardship plan [(stewardship acres – 20 acres)*$3.21)+$230 = plan writing fee

A few examples:

43 acre stewardship plan:  [(43 acres – 20 acres)*$3.21] + $230 = $304

178 acre stewardship plan:  [(178 acres – 20 acres)*$3.21] + $230 = $737

271 acre stewardship plan:  This request is over 260 acres, so the cost is $1,000
Many times only a portion of the land is eligible for a stewardship plan.  The fee only reflects the acres included in the plan.  The forester will determine the plan acres.  All plans will need to be registered with the DNR Division of Forestry.


November 20, 2009 at 6:50 am 3 comments

Arbor Month 2009: My Favorite Tree

Friday, April 24 marks the beginning of an entire month of celebrating trees.  For Arbor Month 2009, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking you to share a photo, drawing, or story about your favorite tree.

Get involved: share your favorite tree!
Go outside to take a picture, make a drawing, or tell the story of your favorite tree, then post it here.

State champions needed for Minnesota’s big tree registry!
While you’re at it, the DNR is also looking for state champion trees of the following species. Learn more or submit your champion trees at the DNR’s Big Tree Registry.

  • Red Pine, Pinus resinosa
  • Northern Mountain Ash, Sorbus decora
  • American Hornbeam (also called blue beech), Carpinus caroliniana
  • Mountain Maple, Acer spicatum
  • Chinkapin Oak (also called yellow chestnut oak), Quercus muehlenbergii

April 8, 2009 at 8:49 am Leave a comment

EAB discovered in Wisconsin, a mile from Minnesota

The following information was sent out by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) on April 7.  We’re developing information to help Minnesota woodland owners plan for the expected widespread ash mortality. Meantime, see the many links below and post your thoughts here or on the discussion board.

Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been discovered in Victory, Wisconsin. Victory is approximately 1 mile south of the Minnesota border along the Mississippi River.

This discovery was made only last week and confirmation was made on Monday, April 6. The Wisconsin Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources have released the news of this find today, April 7. Although Wisconsin has not had much opportunity to evaluate the scale of this infestation, their initial assessment was that this was a significant infestation.

Due to the proximity of this infestation to Minnesota and Iowa, it is possible that the infestation extends into one or both states. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, along with our partners at the Department of Natural Resources, USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine and USDA Forest Service are already investigating the southeastern portion of Houston County to determine if the infestation extends into Minnesota. We expect these initial surveys to last up to four weeks. If emerald ash borer is found in Minnesota, we will activate our EAB Response Plan (PDF).

Whether or not this initial round of survey discovers EAB in Minnesota, we will be intensifying survey and outreach efforts in southeastern Minnesota during 2009.

The complete press release that is being issued in Minnesota is here. Some key points to remember about the situation are:

  1. EAB has not yet been found in Minnesota, but state and federal authorities are investigating the area.
  2. No quarantines have been established in Minnesota. A federal quarantine will be imposed in Wisconsin on the infested area.
  3. At this time we are asking the public to voluntarily not move ash wood out of Houston County. A quarantine could be placed on Houston County by Minnesota Department of Agriculture in the coming weeks.
  4. For Minnesota beyond Houston County the situation has not changed. People should be vigilant as to the condition of their trees and report suspected infestations to MDA. Movement of untreated firewood over long distances should be avoided in any part of the state.

If you have questions, please direct them to MDA’s Arrest the Pest hotline.

“Arrest the Pest” Hotline:  651-201-6684 – Metro Area or 1-888-545-6684 – Greater Minnesota. Or email

Watch MDA’s new 6-minute video on EAB:

More about Emerald Ash Borer:

April 7, 2009 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Minnesota’s ash resource & markets

Keith Jacobson of the Minnesota DNR – Forestry Utilization & Marketing unit has just updated his brief overview of Minnesota’s ash resource and markets.  This just came out by email today, and is dated February 2009. Download a PDF copy here.

February 10, 2009 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

Cambridge DNR Forestry 4th annual forest landowner fall tour

By Beth Jones, Mark Ellison, Alan Olson and Art Widerstrom, MN DNR-Forestry

October 16, 2008, was a beautiful fall day as approximately 45 landowners converged upon the Plymouth Creek Civic Center for the fall landowner tour.  The gardens at the civic center were something to be admired.  The fall blossoms and extensive landscaping was a welcome sight in the middle of the city.

Big woods in the fall. Photo by Mark Ellison, MN DNR.

Tour organizers and DNR foresters, Art Widerstrom and Alan Olson, welcomed the group and we excitedly boarded a tour bus to visit several sites within Hennepin County.  The first stop was at Doug Dayton’s property.  His diverse property supports both a 90-acre prairie and a 20-acre stand of big woods.  The prairie was planted and is being managed by Prairie Restorations using prescribed fire.

Stephanie Jenniges, Land Management Coordinator, from Prairie Restorations spoke about prairie management, some of the plants, several invasive species and the need for this site to be burned periodically to maintain a healthy prairie.

Alan Olson took the group on a hike through the woods to see a prime example of a big woods forest.  The massive oaks, basswoods and maples form a dense canopy, which limits the amount of brush and undergrowth making the walk through the woods a very enjoyable one.  Walking up the hill on this warm fall day, hearing the leaves rustle and crunch beneath our feet, made it seem like we were deep in the north woods.

Alan Olson, MN DNR

Alan Olson, MN DNR. Photo by Mark Ellison, MN DNR.

The next stop was in the city of Minnetonka at Purgatory Park.  Our tour guide for the park was Janet Van Sloun Larson, Natural Resource Specialist for the City of Minnetonka.  This area includes a wetland that the settlers could not utilize for agriculture, thus it later was developed into a park.  The park is very popular for walking dogs and offers citizens an escape to a natural area within the city.  It was interesting to listen to Janet discuss how they are re-claiming the area by eradicating buckthorn.  Several techniques for eradicating buckthorn were discussed and we got to see first-hand the results of several extensive buckthorn removal sites which were managed with the help of volunteers.

Stephanie from Prairie Restorations discussed the utilization of prescribed fire techniques for managing prairie and also discussed how fire can be used to re-establish a historical prairie, such as the one that was discovered in this park.  The group got to see where this prairie was discovered and heard how park staff, with the help of Prairie Restorations, used prescribed fire to re-establish the original prairie that was present when the first settlers arrived.

Common buckthorn leaves

Common buckthorn leaves. Photo by Eli Sagor.

Our tour continued into the Scenic Heights Elementary School Forest, where a local teacher, Dawn Christesen, School Forest Coordinator, has utilized the forest for education of students and other volunteers.  They have done a massive buckthorn removal project and have continued to work with Alan Olson to manage the forest and rid it of invasive species. They have planted seedlings within the school forest utilizing Arbor Day seedlings from the State Nursery.  There is also a small wetland that is used by the science department to teach lessons on water biology.

Using volunteer help, a shelter was built on the property where classes meet to discuss lessons learned at the outdoor learning center. The local Boy Scouts have been assisting with the buckthorn removal program as one of their Eagle Scout projects.  This forest is really integrated into the community.

Oak foliage during fall color. Photo by Mark Ellison MDNR.

Oak foliage during fall color. Photo by Mark Ellison MN DNR.

Next, we proceeded to visit a direct seeding project conducted by the City of Plymouth.  City forester Paul Buck spoke with those on the bus regarding the direct seeding procedure and the results of this practice.  Seeds were collected locally and the site was ripped and tilled.  Fifteen five-gallon buckets of seed were spread by hand and the site was covered with wood chips. The planting has had good survival with very acceptable stocking levels.  The planting primarily consisted of black walnut, butternut, bitternut hickory, red and white oak.  Cottonwood, poplar, willow and buckthorn that seeded-in have been removed to maintain the original planting.

Our group returned to the Plymouth Creek Civic Center to enjoy a wonderful meal and hear some presentations. Gary Michael, DNR Private Forest Management Coordinator, spoke about the new 2C managed forest land tax program.  He covered the requirements to be eligible for the program and made comparisons with the SFIA and green acres tax programs.

Tamara Martin, Ecologist from Top-Notch Urban Ecosystems, gave an informative presentation on invasive species.  She brought several samples of invasive plants, discussed how each degrades the environment and recommended eradication techniques that have shown the best results.

Emerald ash borer. Source: (click image for larger original)

Neville Wilson, DNR Central Region Plant Health Specialist, covered the emerald ash borer.  He discussed what to watch for in your forest to identify symptoms of emerald ash borer and he also showed samples of the insect and discussed strategies for slowing its rate of spread into our forests.

Alan Olson and Art Widerstrom wrapped up the evening with a big thank you to all who participated.

[A big thank you to Beth, Mark, Alan, and Art for sharing this story!  If you’d like to share other events through this site, send your story to potyondy [at] umn [dot] edu anytime. -ed.]

November 18, 2008 at 3:43 pm Leave a comment

MN DNR celebrations one billionth seedling

MDNR photo

(c) MDNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources celebrated an impressive milestone in October:  After 80 years, they’ve grown their one BILLIONTH tree seedling.

The DNR’s nursery program serves a tremendously important role in the state’s forests.  Thousands of Minnesota woodland owners have planted seedlings raised in DNR nurseries.

Ever wonder where your seedling came from?  As part of the celebration, DNR produced a short video showing how they grow, pull, and store seedlings for spring delivery.  The state forest nursery website has great info on tree selection and planting as well as seedling order forms. You can also read the official billionth seedling press release.

November 10, 2008 at 3:26 pm 2 comments

Cost-sharing for Minnesota woodlands

A variety of cost-share programs are available from year to year for woodland owners. These programs can help defray the costs of wildlife habitat improvement, soil erosion mitigation, tree planting, and many other woodland activities.

Both the amount of funding available and the specific activities for which funding is available vary from year to year. Most of these funds are passed through from the Federal or State governments, so appropriations depend on the legislative process.

Continue Reading April 29, 2007 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment

Minnesota woodland stewardship classes and workshops

There are a variety of different kinds of classes available to woodland owners. These classes cover topics from forest ecology to general forest stewardship planning to the nuts and bolts of timber sales, and everything in between. To find out about upcoming classes, check out Woodland Advisor, Tree Care Advisor, Minnesota Master Naturalist, and the Woodland School.

Continue Reading April 29, 2007 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

Organizations assisting Minnesota woodland owners

Information about organizations serving Minnesota woodland owners: Minnesota DNR Division of Forestry, Minnesota Forestry Association, Minnesota Association of Consulting Foresters, Minnesota Logger Education Program, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Minnesota Forest Industries.

Continue Reading April 29, 2007 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

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