The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is encouraging family forest owners to take advantage of cost-share funds available in 2017 to improve their woods.
“The DNR is here to help woodland owners with forest management advice and financial assistance to keep your woods healthy and productive,” said John Carlson, DNR private forest management coordinator. “We have cost-share funds to help you complete a wide variety of woodland projects.”
Cost-share funds can be used to replant woods after a harvest. Funds can also be used to protect newly planted trees by removing competing vegetation and protecting them from deer browse by applying bud caps, adding tree tubes or constructing a fence. To help prepare the woods for a future harvest, woodland owners can use cost-share funds to do a thinning so remaining trees have more room to grow.
Many woodland owners enjoy wildlife watching and hunting. Planting native trees and shrubs suitable for wildlife habitat are eligible cost-share activities. Creating a native prairie to increase food supply and cover for wildlife is another option.
Funds are available to help address forest pests and invasive species. White pine blister rust can make growing a healthy white pine forest difficult. Cost-share funds can be used to pay to prune white pines to help reduce their chance of becoming infected. Removing and treating invasive species like buckthorn and garlic mustard, to keep the woods healthy, are also eligible activities.
Family forest owners wanting to protect ponds and streams in their woods can use cost-share funds to create riparian woody cover by planting trees. Funds can also be used to reduce soil erosion by rehabbing forest roads or creating temporary grass cover during forests management activities.
This year, a $300 reimbursement is available toward creating a new woodland stewardship plan for woods 20 acres or more. This involves walking the woods with a professional forester to get ideas on how to improve its health and productivity. The forester then helps develop goals and outlines recommendations to accomplish them. Having a current woodland stewardship plan allows owners to take advantage of tax incentive programs in 2017.
Cost-share funds are available for a limited time so don’t delay contacting a local Cooperative Forest Management forester. Find a forester at the DNR Cooperative Forest Management contact map www.mndnr.gov/woodlands/cfm-map.html. Visit the Cost-share for Woodland Owners webpage at
www.mndnr.gov/woodlands/cost-share.html for more information on activities to improve a woods.