Iowa Foresters Cut-back, URGENT, ACTION NEEDED!!! READ!!

Discussion in 'Whitetail Management' started by Sligh1, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    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!"
     
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  3. jc64241

    jc64241 New Member

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    I met with mine and he was useless. Maybe few less wouldn't hurt. Sent me a folder of stuff just copied off the DNR website
     
  4. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    You for sure haven't used the same folks I have. Call the folks I listed that I've worked with.... Thoroughly impressed. I'm sure any career field could have a dud or 2- I haven't experienced it here yet.
     
  5. hans1

    hans1 Active Member

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    I have had mixed results as well some were very arrogant and had almost no use for deer or trying to improve habitat . Also as an agency they tend to over step there bounds and meddle with other projects funded by nrcs. I purposely avoid projects now that involve them on any of my farms . This post has reminded me to send emails to encourage this cut in funding.
     
  6. jw_wildfire

    jw_wildfire New Member

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    Wow hans, what a complete misunderstanding of how forestry cost sharing works. NRCS has established an MOU with Forestry delegating them all technical responsibility for any cost share projects with a forestry component. If your meddling reference is about non foresters, then it has no place in this conversation.

    Next, it is a foresters responsibility to provide technical advice that is tailored to fit your goals or objectives. Also, there are few, if any, forest management activities that don't improve habitat.

    Regarding your statement in favor of cutting foresters, i guess if you are satisfied receiving forestry technical advice from soil scientists (NRCS), then go ahead and send your emails. I know when I need electrical advice I go to an electrician, not a plumber.
     
  7. hans1

    hans1 Active Member

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    To the above poster I have exact knowledge of the inter workings of these agency's . I own a few farms and take care of a few thousand acres for some friends-clients. For years we would enroll for a practice called brush management this was funded by nrcs with tech assistants from DNR private land biologists. This was a huge success and made great improvements to over 1000 acres in a 3 year period. The DNR private land biologist was great supporting there budget will get my full attention. The foresters got wind of this and whined to the nrcs state office and took control of this program. We enrolled and tried to work with them,night and day difference in there attitude toward our goals .The landowners were so pissed they change cancelled the project. Our goals were habitat first and timber production a distant second .This only one example of many that have formed my postion.
     
  8. GOARMY

    GOARMY New Member

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    not really what I wanted to hear. I am getting ready to contact the local forester to have him do a survey or study on my timber stand. I really need help and want the timber evaluated for habitat and production. I am in SE Iowa. Now what to do ???
     
  9. hans1

    hans1 Active Member

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    I would still recommend that you still schedule your meeting with the district foresters. They may have programs and expertise that fits your goals. I would also contact your area private land biologist and see what is available as well. For my own purposes we enroll as much as we can through in a practice called edge feathering. The stuff that isn't edge we just cut as we need to create bedding. I will also say to be fair,the forester we had the most trouble with recently did retire .
     
  10. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    I would be calling Lisa Loucks or Ray Lehn (depends where in SE you are) ASAP! Then, at the same time, I'd be doing a very easy & quick contact to your legislatures. Folks not willing to do this who do need & use the foresters (which really is all of us in SOME WAY) - will do nothing to keep them around & will in effect - let the status quo movement of their cut-back take place. When you use em- it ain't gonna cost you a dime more on your land BUT think about all the value/time/knowledge/impact they'll add for the simple cost of 2 minutes of your time to "pay it back". If I would tell you I'd offer my "expertise" in a certain field, do a job for you, offer you incredible benefit & hours of my work, ALL I ASKED IN RETURN WAS 2 MINUTES OF YOUR TIME - sound like a good deal/trade?!?!??
     
  11. GOARMY

    GOARMY New Member

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    I will get on it this week. I have a good amount of timber with white oaks and I need to get on the stick and find out what I can do.
     
  12. jw_wildfire

    jw_wildfire New Member

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    Thanks for the clarification hans1, and I do have a pretty good idea of which forester you are talking about. Get with your forester and ask him about some of the recent EQIP changes. Edge feathering and other early successional practices have been added, and the rates are quite attractive.

    As an FYI, when someone does contact their forester, don't be surprised if it will take a while to get on their calendar. Depending on where you are in the state, you may even have to wait several months to get an appointment. Be assured that this is not by their choice, but because of directed "priorities" to satisfy federal grants. The Iowa legislature and Governor has appropriated such a small amount of funding, that to remain staffed at the current minimal levels, the Bureau has had to seek out federal money to keep them afloat. Many foresters have to spend their time inventorying city street trees, or even putting up gypsy moth traps. All this may take up a couple of months of their time, only to be able to fund them to provide their services FREE of charge to landowners the rest of the year. If the governor or your legislator were to step up and fund them at a level where they wouldn't have to do the grant work, your wait times and quality of assistance would obviously be much improved.

    There are some great foresters around the state. Give them a call. Explicitly state what your goals are and what you want to achieve. Many of them will bend over backwards to offer advice, write a plan, or make a cost share program fit.

    Here is the link for the contact info. Check out how much area some of them have to cover.

    http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/...ownerAssistance/DistrictForesterContacts.aspx
     
  13. jw_wildfire

    jw_wildfire New Member

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    Quick update to bump this to the top.

    April 3rd is going to be the Coalition for Iowa's Woodlands day at the capitol. I assume all of you recognize the importance of Iowa's woodlands to the sport you all commit so much time to. This day at the capitol is an excellent opportunity for you to step up and make sure your legislators know just how much deer/turkey hunting means to you, and that without a healthy forest ecosystem, your sport will suffer dearly.

    With so many imminent threats to Iowa's forests, there is no more urgent a time than now to be active. With insects and diseases such as emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, Asian long horned beetle, bur oak blight, thousand cankers disease, and several others poised to ravage Iowa's trees (3 of those 5 are already present in Iowa), it is important that Iowa is proactive in managing for these concerns, and not reactive. Add those pests to the continuing threat of expanding agriculture and urban sprawl, and it may be your favorite hunting spot or tree stand tree that disappears.

    So stand up and tell your legislators and the governor what Iowa's forests means to you. Tell them to increase funding for the Forest Health Initiative (currently funded at only $100k) and the IDNR's Forestry Bureau. Also, please consider making an appearance at the capitol on April 3rd. Please PM me if you would like more info about the day at the capitol.
     
  14. turkeyriver

    turkeyriver PMA Member

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    I think some of this displeasure with foresters is merely a clash of goals. You may want deer cover, as quickly as possible. Understandable if you bought land to hunt on. Foresters are trained to take a long-term view and you can't grow an oak, walnut, hickory forest, if you want to attract and hold deer. Short term goals vs. long term goals.
     
  15. jw_wildfire

    jw_wildfire New Member

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    I understand that and am not surprised that there are a few foresters that struggle to embrace some of the newer habitat techniques, such as hinging. In my opinion, you can easily meet both goals, and I can't think of any forest management activities that actually hurt habitat. If you are going to hinge trees, concentrate on the species that you are hinging. Cut the elm, ironwood, hackberry, bitternut hickory, etc that is next to the oak or walnut. You are promoting short term habitat, as well as long term nut production. Or if you are going to edge feather an area, don't be afraid to plant a few oak or walnut into the area. The density created by the flush of new stuff is going to immediately give you good browse/habitat, but that density is also going to favor growing a good crop tree for the future.

    Bottom line is that currently there is an entirely free service available to have a forester come to your property, walk it with you, help answer any questions you have, and then develop a comprehensive plan with suggestions on how you can best meet your goals and objectives, as well as provide some pretty decent maps of your property. Again, all for FREE. Likely over 1000 landowners benefit from this service every year. If the state doesn't make a commitment to return the funding that has been taken away, this service will disappear in 1-2 years. Landowners only option will then be to pay for the service, often costing $100's to $1,000s for each plan.
     
  16. Whitetail-Images

    Whitetail-Images Whitetail-Images.com

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    Great post, I will do my part! Send me a PM with contact info, you want me involved.
     
  17. BigfootWillow.com

    BigfootWillow.com Tree Climber

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    I'm sure they do a lot of good, but free in theory, the money is coming from somewhere. A lot more should be privatized. The reason for this huge mammoth government is everyone wants to make sure to keep parts of government that is benefiting them. So add that up x millions of interests, and you get one huge mess.
     
  18. jw_wildfire

    jw_wildfire New Member

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    True for some government functions, but if you ask about any private forester, they will tell you state foresters are incredibly important to their business. The more landowners district foresters meet with and stewardship plans produced, directly leads to more work the private foresters get. The level of promotion and education DF's give would be difficult to attain by a typical private forester. Quick fact, the forest industry in Iowa supports 18,000 jobs statewide.
     
  19. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    If you really gave 20 seconds of extra thought to it on just some dollars & cents... 16 foresters across the state.... Not a huge burden to the state. I want you to think about how many acres these foresters have and do impact.... And by impact, let's say we were ONLY talking about the production value & timber value increase in our private forests.... Millions upon millions of dollars have been developed, cultivated & enhanced purely from our state Forester's involvement. Then, add the wildlife benefits, recreation, scenic value, water quality, erosion, etc, etc- they more than pay for themselves!!
     
  20. droptine37

    droptine37 Life Member

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    I understand your point that in reality these guys might actually pay for themselves (debatable for sure). I should probably bite my tongue here but are we really surprised that with 17 trillion in debt that cuts to programs like this are starting to happen? Sure makes you wonder how we'll ever be able to do the things necessary to ever get on a sustainable path. I support this service the state has provided but I also think its time we accept some changes even if they directly effect our own pockets. I believe foresters in the private industry would be more than willing to pick up the extra business. If landowners want to maximize the value of their timber stands I don't know why we need the government to provide this service. Prime example of how bloated this thing has really become. I am as guilty as the next guy and use many of these services. I just think its time I wake up and realize changes need to happen and I am willing to accept my fair share of them. Fire away
     
  21. jw_wildfire

    jw_wildfire New Member

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    Nobody is going to disagree that their is plenty of bloat in government spending these days, you just have to recognize where it is. The Bureau of Forestry's budget represents .0002% of the states general fund budget. Even if you eliminated 1000 examples like this, you have dented the budget by only .2%, and to accomplish what? Like pointed out, many many of these examples are public services enjoyed by many people, and I would certainly argue that a healthy forest benefits every single citizen of Iowa.

    Respectfully I disagree with the bloat argument. If anybody is serious about making a dent in excess spending, you have to look at the pieces of pie that actually show up on the government spending pie chart. Eliminating a public service agency where you average 1 forester for nearly 7 counties, has absolutely 0 secretarial staff, and services over 1000 landowners/year, in my opinion, accomplishes nothing but takes away something the public has depended upon for many decades.

    Also, IMO, the biggest mistake made by the legislature in the last few years is that the vote to create the constitutionally protected account for IWLL did not actually include funding it. When 64% of Iowans agree it is worth funding, the governor and legislature should listen and raise the state sales tax 3/8%, or about $3-4/month for the average Iowan. This is a sustainable, protected way to fund natural resource projects, including forestry.
     

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