Need your ACTION! Please read below, I sent this email to folks I knew & had another friend who got me some details - all info below- pass on in an email to folks you know, looking for quick/easy ACTION on your part. (It starts with the tiny amount of 15 State Foresters being cut to 6- this will impact ALL OF US in many ways- landowners or not) Very important to ALL OF US!!!..... Hello Friends & Habitat Enthusiasts... I rarely send stuff out like this!!!! The Forestry Bureau in Iowa is at high risk right now with Governmental changes & politicians having "different priorities" I am strongly & urgently asking to you contact your legislators. Some of below is what I got from a friend of mine after I inquired and asked for his take on things - he got back to me after our phone call with this email I wanted and he is someone who is genuinely concerned about iowa, its forests & priorities in the state. We will also suffer in many ways if we sit on our hands here!!! Guys/Gals- have you or will you use a Forester to help with your Timber Stand Improvement Project? Have they helped you with Timber sales or advice at the drop of a hat? Do you realize most any forest in Iowa has been impacted, saved, enhanced, subsidized or worked on by a Forester at some point? Do you realize that less than 6% of Iowa is forested and the % is lower each year? Whether you hunt on public or private- foresters are working on plans, projects, etc to enhance the forest for all of us!!! do you realize there is only 15 foresters for the WHOLE STATE!!?!?!? This number is being proposed to cut down by almost 2/3rd's!!!! The jeopardy this will put the dwindling 6% of Iowa forest & hunting in is staggering. Even if you don't own land- likely you're a hunter enjoying the forest that's currently there and health depends on the owners & foresters working together. This will impact EVERYONE, even folks who are not hunters. The list is far too long on how many obvious & severe consequences the state & forests would face. A 15-person force of foresters is incredibly low as it is (and extremely low cost) & if you do not take the time to speak up - we are in serious jeopardy of losing them. I've used them in many parts of the state, foresters: Ray Lehn, Lisa Loucks, Randy Goerndt & Jason Walker. The value they bring & the passion for their jobs is incredible. The amount of acres EACH has made a difference in is the vast thousands upon thousands of acres. Don't let this go away!!! Please write in! Don't sit on your hands!!! Thanks!! Skip Sligh "Below is what someone I know has sent to his, and you can certainly use any portion of it you care to. Things are looking really tough for the Bureau of Forestry. If the legislature doesn't make a commitment to funding the Bureau, drastic changes will be made in the not too distant future. In as little as 12-15 months, the federal grant money that has plugged the holes created by reduced state general fund money has a legitimate shot of going away. If this happens, the Bureau will be forced to reduce the number of district foresters from 15 statewide, to 6. Any support you are willing to give is greatly appreciated. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think values forestry in Iowa, and would be interested in voicing their opinion. " "Senator *****, Hello! I am writing you to express my deep concern about Iowa's forests and the funding for those tasked with insuring our resource is properly managed. In a time when our forests are being threatened from nearly every direction, we need to be very proactive in making sure we perpetuate our beautiful forests for future generations to enjoy. Attached is a picture I took that shows just 1 instance of the pressure that high commodity prices have put on our resource. Even more concerning are the imminent threat of insects and diseases such as emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, Asian long horned beetle, thousand cankers disease, and many others. It is my understanding that our best defense against these devastating pests is insuring that our forest ecosystem is as healthy as possible. The single greatest tool Iowa's landowners have at their disposal are their District Foresters, of the DNR's Bureau of Forestry. District Foresters serve as an invaluable source of information and technical assistance that insure landowners make the right decisions when managing their forestland. In conversations with State Forester Paul Tauke it is my understanding that the Bureau of Forestry's budget has been significantly cut in recent years, from nearly $3 million of general fund money in 2008, to $1.6 million for the current year. Paul stated that the only reason they have been able to retain the district foresters they have is because of federal grant money that has made up for the cuts. The extreme concern is that there is a good chance the grant money will go away within the next fiscal year. If that happens, Paul noted that the Bureau would have to cut from 15, to only 6 district foresters statewide. This would be extremely unacceptable! Foresters already have to cover anywhere from 10 to 18 counties! While the legislatures commitment to providing $100K to the Forest Health Initiative is extremely appreciated, it is quite inadequate. PLEASE consider restoring the Bureau of Forestry's funding to pre-recession levels, and help Iowa be prepared for imminent insect and disease concerns by funding the Forest Health Initiative at a minimum of $1 million dollars. Thank you for your time!"