SMA Liaison David Jahn Iowa

David Jahn

 [email protected]

State Coordinators: 

Emma Hanigan, Urban Forestry Coordinator

(515) 249-1732

[email protected]

DNR staff updates:

Aron Flickinger is here, moved from State Nursery to Wallace Building. Working on urban wood, block by block grant, etc.

Jeff Goerndt (State Forester): Staff changes. Evan Miller to State Nursery, Gabbi to Forest Action Plan due to utility fund losses and program changes. Aaron to help with grants, etc. Lee Goldsmith is now nursery manager. Hired a new tech. Kandy Weigel (administrative assistant at nursery) is resigning at end of month, so will need to hire someone to fill that position.

Gabbi: Residential tree programs going away, there is enough money for 7 residential programs. (4 Alliant/3 Iowa DNR--used to be branded MidAm). Iowa City, Atlantic, Council Bluffs, Cedar Rapids, Clarinda, Marshalltown, Marion. Some cities saw increase in number of trees available, some saw decrease. $25 for Alliant trees, $30 for Iowa DNR trees. Applications for Trees for Kids ready, just need to be uploaded. Due to loss of utility money, there will be seven programs this spring, then that’s the end. Trees for Kids funds tree plantings at schools, public parks, county conservation, so it’s a great program. If you know anyone who wants to get rid of money by planting trees, let Gabbi know. Application for Trees for Kids seedlings available too. 25/species to 200 seedlings available from the State Nursery. More money available for that due to block-by-block grant but will not be called Trees for Kids. Future funds will probably have to come from local donors; Gabbi is happy to help lead those conversations if anyone wants to do a Trees for Kids program in their community after this spring. Heath suggested asking Roy Reiman for donations, looking for help with the ask. Brought two pubs done with grant money: My Healthy Woods for woodland owners and Iowa Invasive Species Pocket Guide. Let DNR staff know if you need more.

 Old business:       

                Coalition updates: Dec 27 meeting with Gov. Reynolds staff (Kayla, whose husband works for Country Landscapes) to talk about forest health and staff seemed receptive. Coalition ramping up with start of legislative session, asking for $2M for DNR budget. Meeting with Forestry Advisory Council next week. Coalition as lobbying arm of FAC; bill to formalize FAC as an official government entity coming this year. If FAC is official, they will not be allowed to lobby.

Letter to DNR commission: Heath drafted a letter to support the ask of $2M for forest health. He has listed everyone’s suggestions for spending to prove these funds are needed. Next NRC meeting is a legislative meet-and-greet. This letter can be part of the Coalition ask but puts the emphasis on urban forest needs. Change final bullet point to talk about all policies affecting tree preservation, including SUDAS and stormwater management. Kevin will reach out to stormwater folks to let them know that we are including them in our letter with regards to our request to update the Iowa Storm Water Management Manual. Move “goals” to beginning and list as threats we see to urban forests and the reason behind the request for additional funds. Explain what will happen with the money (e.g. point b: replace lost funds from the utility companies -- “we lost $xx from utility companies which devastated our youth tree education programs. With these funds, we would be able to restart these programs and potentially expand participating communities from xx to xx.”). Leslie suggests creating narratives about how the DNR creates a web that envelops many different stakeholders and can be used to great effect at Tree Day at the Capitol (MARCH 21).

Farm Bill: Obvious crickets with government shutdown. State and private forestry numbers aren’t great. Landscape scale restoration grant program seems especially bad. Forest Action Plan due to be updated, but new Farm Bill removes language that ties state plans to grants. Also leans on rural, seems to take away urban funding (but who knows what urban will be defined as). New Farm Bill takes away approval from State Forester for grant requests, so DNR could be competing with NRCS, City of Pleasant Hill, any random human. LSRC goals were to get our 15% back, have done better, might not be the case anymore. All grant money must have a match now. No interpretation yet due to shutdown, so still waiting to hear some details.

Forest Action Plan: Using Arc-GIS story map to distribute FAP. Move away from static print-out maps, to dynamic maps that can be updated more frequently. Assessment completion goal by fall, stakeholder meetings through winter and spring, turn in final package before due date! Hope to bring in a facilitator to a future IUTC meeting to get strategies from the council. Iowa is hosting Forest Resource Planning Committee meeting June 18-20. Looking for speakers, suggestions for tour stops, etc.

Luncheon Planning: Theme: Trees are for the Birds as a theme. Bird Friendly Iowa as workshop, Ryan Gilpin as keynote. Julia Badenhope with visioning. Panel of volunteers from the birding community. Leaning towards Ryan as workshop then part of the keynote. Lots of discussion, luncheon planning committee meeting later this week to decide.

Council roster, members, succession: Heath is looking for another person to start serving on the exec team to groom for a future position. Check by-laws for how often to vote for exec team retention. Upcoming vice-chair, put on next agenda. Clayton is willing to take on chair position.

People you should know:     (Who’s who in your State?)

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                               Jeff Goerndt     (515) 725-8452   [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]   


Coming events in State:

The Forestry Bureau is currently tracking and working against 5 key pests that threaten Iowa's woodlands. These 5 pests (emerald ash borer, bur oak blight, thousand cankers disease in walnut, Asian longhorned beetle, and the gypsy moth) will cause an estimated loss of approximately $70 million dollars a year for the next 20 years (that's $1.4 billion) and even worse, cost next to 20 billion dollars in tree removals. This decision will impact the quality of life in Iowa for generations to come.

Tree City USA Luncheon in West Des Moines, April 3, 2019

Wildlife Habitat Seminar with Ryan Gilpin, Des Moines, April 4, 2019

National events of interest:

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.