Local District News

Summer is field work season and Districts are busy in the fields and forests!  The articles below are just a highlight of the great work being done by Conservation Districts around our Great State!  To learn more about what your local Conservation District is doing, including the field days, educational programs and technical assistance they provide, visit their website today!  Click Here to view a map with links to local Conservation District websites.

Gratiot County Launches First Project of Its Kind

Incentives for Soil Savings in Saginaw Bay Headwaters 

What if a conservation program could offer farmers financial rewards for every single bit of soil they saved, instead of set flat rates? The Gratiot Conservation District (GCD) hopes the answer would be more conservation adopted on high risk fields and less sediment delivered to streams. For the next three years GCD has the chance to put this theory to the test in the Upper Bad River Watershed thanks to a Sediment Reduction Grant from the Great Lakes Commission (GLC)

The grant project is aimed at reducing sediment delivery to streams in the Upper Bad River Watershed, a tributary to the Shiawassee River in a headwaters region of the Saginaw Bay Watershed. This "pay-for-performance" approach to soil conservation is the first program of its kind in the Saginaw Bay Watershed.

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Michigan's Forestry Assistance Program Articles

Michiganders have quickly come to realize the value Michigan Conservation Districts bring through the Forestry Assistance Program (FAP). Just shy of two years into the program and there are countless success stories around the state, and public awareness of forest health and private forest management is on the rise.  Read the following FAP focused articles to hear how Districts are doing some good for forest health and private landowners, for the ultimate of our great forest resource and all who call Michigan home. 

Walk With a FAP Forester

Ben Stein, Regional Forester  Montcalm and Kent Counties Gives a Personal Account

I recently had a site visit with a landowner that started like any other; the landowner just acquired a property and was interested in hearing more about the Qualified Forest Program (QFP).  The property was about 70 acres of rolling oak/hickory forest, a stones throw from the Flat River.  It had been harvested just prior to purchase, but fortunately for the landowner, it was a conservative operation removing only 24in. diameter and larger trees.  The landowner purchased the property partly for hunting but also to provide habitat for all forms of wildlife.

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Alcona CD Battling Invasive Species, Providing Public Education

The Alcona CD has initiated a partnership with Oscoda Township to demonstrate how forest management practices can restore lowland hardwood communities degraded by various forest pests.  The township owns a 10 acre park on the banks of the AuSable River named River Bank Park. River Bank Park has been largely unmanaged aside from a failed attempt in the early 90's by the previous landowner to fill the bayou intersecting the park and develop the land.  The park was once home to a mixture of lowland hardwood trees, a significant proportion of which were Ash.  The park began losing its Ash trees due to Emerald Ash Boar (EAB) approximately 5 years ago.  The resulting increase in sunlight reaching the understory led to the spread of invasive species which took over the understory in large parts. 
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Oscoda CD Takes the Lead on Oak Wilt Removal 

The Oscoda Conservation District has been working since 2009 to spread public awareness, and manage Oak Wilt through grant funding in excess of $40,000. Initially the District worked under a grant from USDA Forest Service to publicize Oak Wilt Disease in the community.

USDA Forest Service later reached out to the Oscoda CD for assistance in Oak Wilt removal.  Removal has been ongoing since 2009, with projects on a variety of USDA Forest Service sites including leased lands and public campgrounds. 

The District organized various phases of the projects, including  use of a vibratory plow to stop the spread of the disease, removal of infected trees, excavation of stumps, and purchasing and planting replacement trees. In addition to grant money from USDA Forest Service to complete the various projects, Oscoda CD also coordinated with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Forest Health and Parks Divisions as well as sub-contractors Smity's Tree Service, Precision Excavating, Dutchman Tree Farm and Coldstream Farms.

For More information please contact Forester Lora Freer at oscodacd@gmail.com or (989)826-8824