As today’s landscape continues to change, there is an increased need to manage wildlife and forests. Many grants, cost share programs, and tax breaks may be available to landowners for managing their property.
Managing forest and wildlife can bring satisfaction, beauty, environmental quality, improved hunting, increased timber value, increased property value and many other benefits to the landowner.
FOrest Pest and Disease
Invasive Tree Pests and Diseases pose a serious threat to the trees and forests of Sherburne County. The best defense for our trees and forests is early detection by people who work with trees, those who enjoy the outdoors, and those involved in community education. Forest pest and disease management on private and public forests protects their economic, ecological, and social values. Through proper forest management practices, many potential pest problems are avoided. Forest health is promoted through practices that allow forests to recover quickly from natural or human-caused stresses and that provide for ecosystem stability. When serious pest problems are discovered, suitable treatments are applied to reduce the pest populations with minimal impacts on non-target organisms. Through this holistic, ecological approach to forest management, the long-term productivity and health of the forested ecosystem is sustained.
cITIZEN PRUNER PROGRAM
The cities of Becker, Big Lake, Elk River, and Princeton have partnered with the Sherburne Soil & Water Conservation District and the U of M Tree Care Advocate Program on a pilot program that aids in increasing effective tree care by working together and engaging citizens in community forestry. Citizen Pruners are trained in tree identification, biology, and pruning techniques. Advanceded courses are also offered, these classes help to extend the skills and ability of this steadfast volunteer force. Additionally SWCD staff partners with each city to host “Pruning Events”, where volunteers work in teams to prune city-owned trees of high priority. To find out more about the Citizen Pruner Program, please contact Franny at 763-220-3434 x 104.
Urban forestry program
With most people living in urban areas it becomes vitally important to implement conservation practices that help protect our trees and minimize our impacts on the natural environment. Urban forestry is the careful care and management of urban forests, i.e., tree populations in urban settings for the purpose of improving the urban environment. Urban forestry advocates the role of trees as a critical part of the urban infrastructure. Urban foresters plant and maintain trees, support appropriate tree and forest preservation, conduct research and promote the many benefits trees provide. Many of these practices work to reinstate and mimic the natural systems that were functioning prior to the land being developed; such as mitigating stormwater runoff and reducing the urban heat island effect. The Sherburne SWCD can assist urban landowners in identifying conservation opportunities and ideas on mitigating environmental concerns. Please contact our office at 763-220-3434 to find out more.
WoOD pECKER ACTIVITY SURVEY
Researchers have found a strong correlation between heavy woodpecker activity in ash trees in late winter and presence of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) larvae. EAB is confirmed in the City of Shoreview, within 30 miles of Sherburne County Communities. Early detection is key to successful mitigation of the damaging effects of an infestation. To that end, the District is partnering with the MN Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection Division to conduct a volunteer survey that would look for signs of infestation – namely woodpecker activity in late March and early April. The District will be hosting a training session at the beginning of the year. Priority areas for survey include all Elk River Parks as well as around compost sites in Zimmerman, Elk River, Big Lake, and Becker. It's important to repeat survey work annually and possibly add survey sites as volunteer participation will support. To learn more about this program, please contact our office at 763-220-3434.