SMA Liaison David Jahn Iowa

David Jahn

 [email protected]

State Coordinators: 

Emma Hanigan, Urban Forestry Coordinator

(515) 249-1732

[email protected]

 DNR staff updates:

 Four contract forester positions filled, trained, out in the field. Alliant/Mid-American Energy pulled funding for tree programs. Evan Miller (led Plant Some Shade with Mid-American funding) moving to State Forest Nursery. Gabbi (led Operation ReLeaf with Alliant funding) is moving to State Forest Health (staying in DSM office). Both tree programs have been eliminated. Meetings have happened, concerned stakeholders should communicate with their utilities board. City-led programs will also be cut back. Eliminating these programs will affect canopy goals. No more contributions to Trees for Kids grants either.

Small community grant open, updates for inventories done in 2010, 2011. Grant writing later.

 Continuing Trees for Kids this fall, funding for future programs is still being rounded up. Landscape Scale Restoration grants require Trees for Kids programs. Largest grant covers EAB counties (which currently excludes NW Iowa). Applications are available online. State Forest Action Plan: originally created in 2010 (update due in 2020 according to Farm Bill). First step is statewide assessment and identifying priorities. Strategies will be developed by taking assessment data, use remaining time to set goals, talk with stakeholders. All this will help with grants, Farm Bill money, etc. Discussion of how current plan will be updated, components, who will be involved, etc.

 Old business:       

                 Forest Advisory Council meetings: IUTC committee serving as a request from the natural resources committee. Vision statement for forestry section (will not be elevated back to bureau status). Setting 6 priorities for DNR (solid forestry identity, district foresters should be supervised by foresters, forestry supervisors should be involved in planning meetings--budget, visioning, etc., search for new funding streams--less dependence on grants and matching, losing landowner services--need new support staff for those stakeholders, revenue derived from forest resources and management should go to forestry, promote best practices outside of DNR). Commissioners said thanks, but committee ideas did not get wide support. SSB 3207 to make FAC more official. With elections coming up, lots of things are up in the air. (Who will be Gov. or DNR Director in and after November?) So, we are working to make more official recommendations. How to find funding, increase awareness, will need legislation--contacting other groups to help get that passed. Some of the goals will not be realized. Committee is trying to position itself to be of service regardless of what happens in November.

New business:

                With loss of utility funding source, woodland health source becomes that much more important. Is funding for forestry initiatives even a priority? Acting DNR Director and Natural Resources Commission support in theory, but no one wants to take an official position. Will support woodland health money (or increase), but nothing else. Maybe if IUTC and FAC advise, we can tell State Forester to go back to NRC and tell them to ask for more money. We moved for the council to advise the state forester to ask the DNR/NRC to up the woodland fund from $500K to $1M. Suggests writing a letter on official letterhead. Dennis Black was a champion for forestry before, now we need a new one in house or senate. As private citizens, we can also talk to our representatives and tell them what we want. Utility money is about 500,000 dollars lost. Utility meetings were in mid-July, pretty upfront about no more money coming from energy efficiency. Changing 5 year plans, but they are inaccessible. Both plans are open for public comment until March when IUB votes. MidAm/Alliant/Black Hills meetings to hash out details, budgets, etc. are in December--open meeting but public cannot make comments (you have to be an official intervener). MidAmerican and Alliant have not been using trees to count towards energy savings. They don’t know how to audit; they operate under the assumption that community trees benefit everyone, homeowner trees only benefit the homeowner. Still continuing community tree programs (Trees Please and Branch Out) but reduced funding. No one is putting out official statements (DNR or utility companies). IUTC will continue to reach out to other groups (anyone who has participated in tree distributions in the past or community programs that are being cut back) to rally the troops. Refuting notion of “backyard trees don’t benefit anyone/everyone” could be intervener statement.  Looking for volunteers for a committee. This group will “assemble a letter and send to alert stakeholders to changes and how that will affect.

Petition to intervene found here:

Forest service grants:

                 Received 2 grants, match money is gone (utilities). Asking utilities to move money from Trees for Kids to residential tree programs. Block-by-block: tree inventories, management plans (small communities), wood utilization component (demonstration of how urban wood can be utilized). IUTC is involved because money is for speaker at IUTC luncheon either in 2019 or 2020 (looks like 2020, based on recommendations from luncheon discussion later in meeting), residential/TFK. SW Iowa Healthy Woodlands initiative (Missouri river corridor): county and city woodland plans, practices, residential tree/TFK programs. Shortfall is $50k each year, so looking for ways to make that up. 5 grants to be written (1. Mini-master plans at community level takes inventory, canopy cover, impaired watersheds with Trees Forever. 2. Water quality for municipal watersheds to treat before treatment – Forest Health staff - south/central IA. 3. Driftless area partnering with ISU to study adaptive capacity (climate change, invasives, etc.). 4. Partnering with a state park to do invasive plant control (Plant Health) timber sale funded to do one side of the road vs. other side of road. 5. Reaching the unengaged landowner (SE IA): minority/women’s groups, absentee landowners.

People You Should Know

US Forest Service:               Jill Johnson            (651) 649-5253    [email protected]

Iowa State University:         Tom Harrington    (515) 294-0582    [email protected]

                                            Jeff Iles                  (515) 294-3718    [email protected]

                                            Jesse Randall         (515) 294-3221    [email protected]

                                            Mark Shour           (515) 294-5963    [email protected]

Iowa DNR                           Paul Tauke             (515) 725-8450    [email protected]

                                            Emma Hanigan      (515) 249-1732    [email protected]  

                                            Tivon Feeley         (515) 725-8453    [email protected]

Iowa Agriculture                  Robin Pruisner     (515) 725-1470    [email protected]

                                           Mike Kintner         (515) 745-1470    [email protected]   

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Links of Interest

Iowa DNR Grants        

IA State Forestry Nursery

ISU Forestry Extension

Trees Forever             


I am a proud member of the Society of Municipal Arborists and the Iowa Urban Tree Council. I received the 2015 Trees Forever ‘Advocacy Award’ for dedication to Des Moines TreeKeepers (citizen volunteer and advocacy program) and for empowering others to speak for our trees. I’ve spent 12 years in professional urban forestry as a City Forester, 6 in Pittsburgh, PA, and 6 in Des Moines, IA. Prior to that I spent 15 years managing municipal and county landscapes in SW Florida. I am an ISA Municipal Specialist, with a TRAQ credential. I am a Registered Consulting Arborist (RCA #425) with the American Society of Consulting Arborists.